by Rina Terasaki
The discussion held in the last class reminded me about Japanese government’s policy of foreign residents. So today I would like to choose a topic about immigrants in Japanese society and express what I feel about the system, with telling some stories that I have heard from my friend. First of all, I feel that Japanese society is quite exclusive about other nationality or cultures. Even though more than two million foreigners are having life here as foreign resident nowadays, it seems to be very ‘Japanese’ in the political scenes. Not similar to those multicultural nations, foreign residents in Japan seems to be treat as ‘outsider’ in invisible way. I even sometimes happen to hear that some people or the government says Japan is a racially homogenous nation. It sounds to be like they do not recognize there is not only one ‘culture’ or forms of people’s life, even sounds they are ignoring those people’s existence.
One of my best friend, who is a Korean resident in Japan (zainichi-Korean), has told me dissatisfaction about the government’s political system. For example, she and her family does pay taxes and pay for whatever same with those who has Japanese nationality, but she has no right to vote for elections. Also has no right to become a national civil servant. I felt there is a big discrimination between Japanese and non-Japanese residents with just a reason of their ‘nationality.’ Even she was born in Japan and spend almost the same lifestyle with me, her rights of participation in government are very little.
Then it reminds me the story I heard in the discussion in last class. Some (or might be many) countries accept dual citizenship, but Japan does not. I came up with a reason: I think Japanese government try not to have people whose mind is half Japanese and half others. For example, if there are many people that have Japanese citizenship but thoughts are anti-Japanese, then Japan, as a nation, would be ungovernable. Population of Japan is also not that big compared to others, so it might be a crisis when non-Japanese residence includes and give influences to the original thoughts and the norm and might destroy the racial unity in Japan.
To conclude, in my opinion, place where someone was born is just a place, nationality is only for convenience and it should not be an identifiable tool. Sometimes it is needed to think decidedly between nationality and identity. Therefore, people’s action and rights has to be freedom beyond nationality.
2012年6月13日公表 法務省 2011年度登録外国人統計 http://www.e-stat.go.jp/SG1/estat/List.do?lid=000001089591