Denizenship and refugeeism

by Shiori Nabeshima

In the sliding-down society, as Anne Allison expressed the Japanese circumstances, once people slip off to the bottom, it is hard to climb up to recover the former situation. It seems that the ‘angle’ is becoming sharper than before to make more people slide down. It means that even though the top or middle and bottom people are all Japanese, the gap between them in terms of equality and rights is widening. Especially temporary or contracted workers are overworked like slaves to support the society. Where are their rights of citizenship? Are they actually regarded as citizens? In Precarious Japan, Allison uses the words denizenship and refugeeism.

Essentially in Britain, the people who are categorized as ‘denizens’ are foreigners who are granted a status similar to resident aliens. Resident aliens have usually rights such as residential, social and economic right, but not electoral rights. It shows that some countries guarantee basic rights to foreigners. Although not all countries give all rights to foreigners, the citizens should have guaranteed all rights by their countries.

Most of people, such as net café nanmin, temp or contracted workers and the working poor which Allison mentioned in her book, are Japanese. Even though they are Japanese, some of them do not have fixed residences, cannot receive security as citizens and are struggling to live on minimum wage. Some of them are paid less than needed to receive welfare, but their welfare applications have been denied.

Right now, their rights are below denizens, such as non-citizens. Therefore Allison introduced the new word “refugeeism”. Refugeeism is as the spread of the nation-state made “belonging to the community into which one is born no longer a matter of course and not belonging no longer a matter of choice”. Being disconnected makes them to be refugees. In the story of Moyai, many precariats were estranged from their family or feel alone because they are precariats. This is led by the notion of winners and losers. Frequently, society rejects those who are in precarious situations. It sometimes makes people join hate groups or cults. As with the experience of Karin Amamiya, the people who are members of hate groups or cults tend to accept precariats. If the others or society accept them, they do not need to join such group.

Japanese society should become more tolerant to those who are precarious and prevent them to fall from the safety net.

Reference

Allison, Anne. 2013. Precarious Japan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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The problems of the homeless and refugees

by Hitoshi Haruki

In this class, I have learned about refugeeism, such as net café refugees and homelessness. Especially I have been interested in homelessness. Homeless people have little money because they often do not work as full-time employees, but instead have part-time jobs.

These days many people tend to think homeless people do not deserve human rights. For example, homeless people do not have a home, so they use fast-food restaurants as a place to sleep. They buy a cup of coffee, which is 100 yen, and they stay in a fast-food restaurant all night. For fast-food restaurants, these customers are troublesome because the homeless are shabbily clothed, and customers dislike homeless people. Furthermore, homeless people may be malodorous, so restaurants want to kick homeless people out. I think this action is legal, but the method used to remove homeless people from the restaurants and the correspondence of homeless people should be very careful. In McDonald’s, they made a notice about refusing entrance of homeless people. Some people criticize this as a violation of human rights. I agree with that criticism, because homeless people have the right to enter McDonald’s. That being said, I still think homeless people should not use fast-food restaurants to stay overnight.

According to Anne Allison, in this situation homeless people have no hope and I agree with that idea, so the government should help homeless people so they can have hope for the future. I suggest that the government should help many homeless people to work as regular employees. For instance, the government can increase the number of employment offices and government offices should hire homeless people. Another good idea is to give companies subsidies if they hire homeless people.

In some developing countries, wars are currently happening, and people who live there are in danger. Under the threat of losing their lives they may decide to escape from their country. So, there are many refugees in developing countries. For some people it is inevitable to be refugees. When refugees leave their countries, they have to find new connections such as workplaces. However, many refugees cannot work for a good company. They work in dangerous places and have to do hard work. Moreover, they get less information about workplaces than normal citizens. Therefore, they are less likely to get a good job.

To summarize, these days the number of refugees in Japan such as homeless people and net café refugees as well as the refugees in developing countries rise. In response the government should work quickly to create a policy to deal with homelessness. Also, refugees are less likely to get a good job because they do not know a lot of information about workplaces. Thus, people must think of methods to solve this problem.

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