Imagining my future in Japan

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.

Anonymous student post

I have not decided my future occupation. I want to work in foreign countries or with using English. If I become a translator, I could use English skill. Besides, if I become diplomat, I may work all over the world. I am originally interested in English and the world situation. In this college, I read many English articles or documents and study international relations now.

Recently, it seems that globalization is advancing in the world. Some Japanese companies start to operate overseas. So I think that there are many chances of using English in the future. It needs highly competent people in workplace. I want to work in those global office and be a talented person.

In Japan, there are many problems in various fields now. One problem is ‘employment’. This is not easy to resolve. The number of irregular workers increases every year. The salary of those workers is lower than that of regular workers. In addition, they may suddenly be fired because of the depression or cutting down labor cost. So I think that this present working condition is unstable. I worried about obtaining employment in the future. The Japanese government should establish some policies rapidly. It needs to stabilize employment and increase mobility in the job market. On a different subject, there is the word ‘muenshakai’. It explains the relationless society. It also leads to many problems such as ‘kodokushi’ (lonely death), the destruction of family blood and thin human relation. However, I am blessed with family or friends so I do not feel isolation. Then I think that it is important to communicate with other people. If anything serious happens, the important thing is the human ties.

In the future, if I get married or have a child, I would like to continue working. I manage to handle both a career and raising a child. However, it is difficult for woman to work after giving birth. It seems that the number of a child on the waiting list for admission to a kindergarten increase. It needs to make complete nursery or childcare leave. The Japanese government needs to improve women’s working condition.

At last, I want to have a wider field of vision and to grow in knowledge. Now, I study hard in this college. In addition, I want to improve my English skill. So I have concrete dream and imagine my future clearly.

Poor English Saved Japanese Banks?

by Robert Moorehead

Japanese Finance Minister and deputy prime minister Aso Taro claimed Friday that ignorance by Japanese bank managers saved Japan from buying the subprime loan products that later collapsed in value and ushered in the Great Recession. According to Aso, bank managers’ command of English was so poor that they avoided studying the complex financial products and instead avoided them.

As reported in the Japan Times, Aso told a seminar in Tokyo “Many people fell prey to the dubious products, or so-called subprime loans. Japanese banks were not so much attracted to these products, compared with European banks.”

“Managers of Japanese banks hardly understood English. That’s why they didn’t buy,” he said.

Other explanations would be more encouraging. For example, “Japanese bank managers avoided the products because they saw them as too risky,” or “Japanese bank managers showed keen insight into the global economy and recognized that these products were a poor investment.” But praising bank managers’ ignorance of English?

Aso is well-known for his verbal gaffes, including saying that the elderly should “hurry up and die” to save the government money on end-of-life care. “Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die. I would wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that [treatment] was all being paid for by the government,” said Aso in January. “The problem won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die.”

Aso has also referred to people unable to feed themselves as”tube people,” made quips about Alzheimer’s Disease, and said that poor people should not get married. “It seems rather difficult to me for someone without means to win people’s respect.”

Maybe Aso’s comments could fuel new advertising slogans for banks …

“Bank of Tokyo, where the only English we know is our name.”

“Globali-what? Come to Bank of Osaka, where we put your money under a mattress.”

“At the Bank of Kyoto, we make sure none of our employees has ever left the country.”

Submit your own slogans!