Note from Editor: Students are reading Anne Allison’s book Precarious Japan, and sharing their thoughts on how their own future plans are impacted by the instability and insecurity that Allison describes.
by Sayaka Maeda
I want to be a high school teacher after I graduate from the university. This is because I like children, and teachers are public workers. There are good points to be a public worker. First, the income is stable, and I can earn enough money to support my family. Second, public workers are seldom fired. In addition, there is little danger to go bankrupt like a company. These points are very important in choosing work in recent Japan. Allison said that now in Japan, the number of non-regular workers, such as dispatched workers or part-timer, is increasing, and one-third of all workers are non-regular. They work for low wages, and they are the first ones dismissed in bad times.
In addition, Japan has social problems such as NEET and hikikomori. People who are hikikomori become NEET (not employed, in education, or in training) because they do not work and, seldom go out. Many people who are hikikomori are young, and some people start being hikikomori when they are students. Bullying sometimes causes truancy, and it can cause hikikomori. Bullying sometimes causes even suicide, sadly. If I can become a teacher, I will make effort to obviate bullying, and I want to help the children come to school.
By the way, I want to marry, and give birth to a child in the future. I will need to take maternity leave. As public workers, teachers can take maternity leave for a year, but at many general companies, people take it for a shorter period. At some companies, a pregnant woman has no choice but to resign from her job. Now a father can also take it but, there are few people who do so. I think it is what’s wrong with Japan, and compared with other developed countries, Japanese social welfare is very underdeveloped. Women’s rehabilitation is also the same. There are many people who cannot return to their work and work as a part-time workers. I want to balance my work and parenting.
In conclusion, I feel anxious living in precarious Japan. Japan has a lot of social problems. I want to be a public worker, but I do not think this is the best way. I do so in search of stability and welfare, however one person may seek freedom rather than security. I think many people are restricted in their choice about the way to live because of Japanese society.
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