My vision of my future as a woman

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 Mizuki Watanabe

According to Anne Allison, current Japanese society is absolutely precarious and complicated. Especially for women, it is very difficult to find a stable job such as not a clerical worker but a managerial worker in a company. Therefore it is essential for me to think about my future clearly.

I have been interested in law since I was twelve years old. I became interested in this topic for the first time when I attended a trial my father was conducting as a lawyer. It was a first time to know what is law and what my father does as a lawyer. The topic of the trial was to acquire an application for refugee status of an illegal immigrant from Myanmar. Then I understood that Japanese government was extremely strict toward immigrants and it was really hard for them to settle as well. Actually different from other developed countries, immigrants in Japan are extremely a small number. Later I asked my father about immigrants in Japan and what is law. The more I studied, the more I was interested in that. And I became to think I wanted to be a lawyer like him.

Now my future plan is to be a lawyer and to protect immigrants’ rights in Japan. To achieve my dream, I have to enter law school after I graduate Ritsumeikan University and study three years, because now my major is international relations. I wanted to enter the law faculty however I felt. Nevertheless it is good for me because I can study both of international relations and law. Studying international relations is helpful to understand immigration in Japan. Or I am thinking it is also good for me to work at company for some years before I study in law school because it must be important to know the Japanese social system in companies.

For women, to have qualifications is one key word to make their lives stable. Most women workers in Japan leave their companies when they are married or pregnant. After that, they will stay at home as “a wife” and do cooking, cleaning, raising their children, and so on. There must be many people who think when their children grow up, want to work again. However it is difficult for them to find stable jobs such as a specialist job or a managerial work if they do not have qualifications. I am not sure that I will be married or not. However if I will be a wife or a mother, I must think I want to work as a specialist in society. If I will be a lawyer, it is possible to continue to work after I am married or have children.

Now many people worry about Japanese society because there is a great amount of problems. However I have a hope for my future and have to do what I have to do for my great future.

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Undocumented Immigrants in Hiding

by Maki Yoshikawa

In our class, we have studied about undocumented immigrants through video, and reading articles on real-life  undocumented immigrants.

I think it is very difficult to make it clear that undocumented immigrants in Japan should be accepted in this society or not. There are a lot of undocumented immigrants who want to stay in Japan. My opinion is that Japan should accept undocumented immigrants. Indeed, it is true that some Japanese people might lose their job because of increasing number of workers. However I suppose that undocumented immigrants are needed in Japan. Japanese society will not be able to survive on its own without help of foreigners. Some Japanese businesses still need workers to work, for example, farming, caring for aged people, fishing, and so on. In these kind of jobs, most Japanese are not willing to take these jobs.

On the other hand, these jobs are socially needed because the aging society is growing year by year, and the workers in the rice fields are also getting older. As everyone knows, rice is necessary in Japanese food. Who knows how to raise rice according to the changing seasons?  Who will take over the technique? After all, there are many kind of jobs which will definitely need people to succeed to. In addition, from my view, foreigners or immigrants can be engaged in these jobs. This will lead the problems which Japanese society having to be known worldwide and recruit people from all over the world. This will be more effective. However, there is a wall of documents and language when recruiting people from around the world.

It is very complex issue when it comes to children like Noriko Calderon. We have laws to follow, and human rights to protect. It is difficult to put weight on both. When we try to follow the laws, human rights tend to be violated as a term of undocumented immigrants. I insist parents are responsible for undocumented children like Noriko even if they had no choice. Children have no reason to be blamed and be restricted their rights. Therefore, as following the law, parents are supposed to leave the country. There is no way to avoid separation between parents and children. On the other hand, this situation must be changed. As a student like Noriko, I would not want more undocumented children in Japan and other countries to feel like her because they are not guilty, they were just born and raised without knowing they are undocumented.

The Japanese government must do something. However, for government, as a policy it is not appropriate to accept all immigrants without limit. For the first step, the Japanese government needs to promote awareness and interest of undocumented immigrants because a friend sitting next to us who looks completely Japanese might be undocumented immigrant who lives hiding his/her problem.