The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by BartenBotflyVB » Sun Apr 13, 2014 2:28 pm

Crucial addition to the expat foriisphere: http://expats.boards.net/

Barten the cunt has been located: face-down in a Woolongong puddle since 2004.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by BartenBotflyVB » Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:47 am


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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by BartenBotflyVB » Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:45 am


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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by BartenBotflyVB » Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:50 am

won't someone please think of the children

http://risingsuntimes.proboards.com/thr ... ial-palace

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by BartenBotflyVB » Sat Jan 17, 2015 10:51 am


steki47

Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:48 am

You guys catch this?

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/0 ... -ed-piece/
A prominent Japanese author and columnist who advised the government has called for Japan to adopt a system to force immigrant workers to live in separate zones based on race.

In a regular column published in the Feb. 11 edition of the conservative daily Sankei Shimbun, Ayako Sono said immigrants, especially those providing elderly care, would ease the difficulties in Japan’s nursing sector.

She also said that, while it was fine for people of all races to work, do research, and socialize with each other, they should also live apart from each other. “Since learning about the situation in South Africa 20 or 30 years ago, I’ve come to think that whites, Asians, and blacks should live separately,” Sono wrote.
Not sure how this would be implemented here. In a way, we already have segregated housing for foreigners. Many landlords don't rent to gaijin and so the ones that do get a lot of foreign tenants. The Brazilians I know often live in ethnic enclaves, partially of their own choosing.

Her comments are generating all sorts of buzz on FB and such.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:29 pm

I have been following that story for the past couple of days.

This would never be implemented here barring some catastrophic event in which society was turned inside out and decided to openly reject all norms of international law and civil society. This is highly unlikely to happen unless there is a global war or complete collapse of the international economy.

That said, I find it very disconcerting that not only does this view exist, but that it is expressed in one of the largest national newspapers by an advisor to the Prime Minister. While most of the comments on articles related to it in Japanese have been slamming Sono there is a disturbing minority who take the `well, lets not be hasty to condemn her, this might be a good idea` (or far worse) view.

Stupid blind ignorance tinged with racial hatred like this exists everywhere, but seeing it introduced at such a high end of the mainstream debate on the issue is both appalling and embarassing. As bad as the rhetoric on Fox news (etc) gets in the US, the equivalent there - an advisor to a Republican president publishing an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal advocating an aparthied style approach to immigrants from Mexico - would be more or less unthinkable (not because racist sentiments don`t exist there but because the establishment has long made such overt expressions of them political suicide, which notably has not happened in Japan).

On a personal level its just another one of those happy reminders that "You have chosen to pursue a career and raise a family in an environment in which there exist complete ass holes who reject your presence out of hand based on what can only be described as arbitrary, racist and completely irrational standards. The political elite include a fair number of such ass holes amongst their ranks. Current demographic trends suggest that these people will become further entrenched and possibly more rather than less influential as time goes on. Have a nice day."

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:29 pm

Yeah, I had a few thoughts a reactions to her statements. She wants foreign workers to be let in but have segregated housing. We already have that in Japan to a large degree. The Brazilians generally live in clusters, partially by choice. Us Westerners get mixed in a bit more.

In many countries, you can see a lot of self segregation. Malaysia is a good example. The Indians, Chinese and Malay may work in the same areas, yet they typically live in their own enclaves. In Penang, Little India and Chinatown are separate neighborhoods, but right next to each other.

My other thought was what the incoming foreigners are thinking about this idea. Would they change their minds and not come to Japan? Or would they just put up with it.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Sun Feb 15, 2015 11:41 pm

Well the big difference is a question of rights - freedom to live where you want regardless of your race is just something that should be taken for granted. This isn't Aparthied South Africa or ....the 19th century after all.

From Japan's perspective the problem - well, aside from the embarassing display of racist attitude it takes to actually praise Aparthied - is that this sort of thinking is just a continuation of the view that foreigners are simply here as short term workers to fill in and be sent packing whenever their specific position no longer needs them.

From an economic perspective Japan doesn't need that type of immigration (which of course isn't actual immigration). Over the long run, permanent immigrants contribute way more to the economy by actually investing their earnings in the country. Short termers basically just repatriate all their savings when they leave and in many ways are a drain on the economy rather than a benefit (no offence to anyone here, but an Eikaiwa teacher who stays here to entertain housewives and salarymen for a year and then leaves with a million yen saved up has - through not fault of his/her own - in a very small way contributed to the overall weakening of the Japanese economy. A teacher who stays here, invests their savings in starting a school, a skill set that actually allows them to educate people, etc on the other hand contributes immensely over the long term). Plus this shot term thinking just ensures that Japan's demographic problem, which is heavily tied to its future economic problems, will get worse and worse.

All very depressing even if you ignore the racist element.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:01 am

senseiman wrote:From Japan's perspective the problem - well, aside from the embarassing display of racist attitude it takes to actually praise Aparthied - is that this sort of thinking is just a continuation of the view that foreigners are simply here as short term workers to fill in and be sent packing whenever their specific position no longer needs them.
Good points.
1. Many Japanese don't really see anything wrong with these attitudes. Japan is a very homogeneous folk nation and they prefer to keep it that way.
2. Agreed. Even with many English teaching jobs, Japan is not encouraging long-term ELT professionals. JET is for 3 three years and so on. Not happy about this.
3. I really think most Japanese would rather than they go extinct than import more foreigners. Exaggerating here, but you get the idea.
4. I think for many reasons Japan would be better off rearranging Japanese workers than bringing in more people.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by AsahiSupaSpy » Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:30 pm

Also, she was (or is?) on the Government advisory for education reform. EDUCATION REFORM!

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:40 pm

steki47 wrote:
Good points.
1. Many Japanese don't really see anything wrong with these attitudes. Japan is a very homogeneous folk nation and they prefer to keep it that way.
2. Agreed. Even with many English teaching jobs, Japan is not encouraging long-term ELT professionals. JET is for 3 three years and so on. Not happy about this.
3. I really think most Japanese would rather than they go extinct than import more foreigners. Exaggerating here, but you get the idea.
4. I think for many reasons Japan would be better off rearranging Japanese workers than bringing in more people.
Agree wtih you on points 1-3. With point 4, I kind of half disagree.

While I agree that the workforce here could be used much more efficiently in some ways, doing so isn`t really going to solve any of the major problems the country is going to face in the next 40-50 years (the inefficiency of the Japanese workforce is often times exaggerated, while tons of anecdotes abound of office workers sitting around til the late hours wasting their time the fact is that overall the Japanese workforce is more or less equally productive as those in other industrialized countries).

In the long run Japan does need to start admitting more permanent, long term immigrants, at least if they want to maintain anything even remotely resembling their current social and economic standards. The population is already in decline and the social and physical infrastructure which exists today needs a certain minimum number of people to maintain it (through economic activity which generates income and taxes, etc). The drastic reduction in population that inevitably awaits Japan without more immigration is going to be devastating in terms of its impact on the lifestyles of Japanese being born today who will live in a country with declining tax revenues on the one hand and increasing demands for resources to be consumed solely for the benefit of caring for the elderly (a situation which already exists today but will rise exponentially in the coming years). It is an economic time bomb waiting to go off to which their are two solutions: drastically increase maternity rates or increase immigration (ideally a mix of both). But you have a political system dominated by the interests and ideas of the elderly who, generally speaking, really don`t seem to give a shit if Japan is destroyed decades after they die so long as they don`t have to live next to foreigners today. This is not an exaggeration, but the actual situation that exists today.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:16 pm

senseiman wrote:
Agree wtih you on points 1-3. With point 4, I kind of half disagree.

While I agree that the workforce here could be used much more efficiently in some ways, doing so isn`t really going to solve any of the major problems the country is going to face in the next 40-50 years (the inefficiency of the Japanese workforce is often times exaggerated, while tons of anecdotes abound of office workers sitting around til the late hours wasting their time the fact is that overall the Japanese workforce is more or less equally productive as those in other industrialized countries).
Ok, fair points. I was thinking of increasing female participation in the workforce. The leaders may have to choose between their wives, daughters and granddaughters working versus bringing in more Vietnamese, Filipino and Chinese workers. Frame it in those terms and see their reaction. An increase in women working outside is typically accompnaied by a sharp decrease in birthrate (most noticeably among college-educated white women post-60s). The Japanese birthrate is already so low, I wonder if women working would really drive it down further.

I have read that distribution chains in Japan have a lot of extra people who all have mortgages to pay and kids to feed. It could be possible to retrain some of them to work in more needed fields.

A higher percentage of Japanese work as farmers. (Yet they still import 60% of their food. I need to look at the numbers.) Maybe some of them could work in other fields.

Japan is a small, crowded country. Adding large numbers of people (of any ethnicity) may not be such a great idea.

I also view the heterogeneous society as an inherently flawed model as it tends to erode social cohesion. Putnam (2000) documented this tend very well.

As for declining economic size, I also wonder how horrible that would be. I view the Bubble years as a fluke and, worst case scenario, Japanese would be more likely to go back to the lifestyle they led in the 1960s: small houses, domestically grown Japanese food and less disposable income (fewer overseas vacations, Gucci bags and golf clubs). Japan will not turn into Zimbabwe.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by MacGyver » Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:43 pm

steki47 wrote: Japan is a small, crowded country. Adding large numbers of people (of any ethnicity) may not be such a great idea.

As for declining economic size, I also wonder how horrible that would be. I view the Bubble years as a fluke and, worst case scenario, Japanese would be more likely to go back to the lifestyle they led in the 1960s: small houses, domestically grown Japanese food and less disposable income (fewer overseas vacations, Gucci bags and golf clubs). Japan will not turn into Zimbabwe.
I read an article a number of years ago where a population expert said that he thought Japan would be a lovely place to live with 60 million people (I think he was referring to 100 years in the future when the prediction is, if population continues to decline at the current rate, that the J population will be 60 million people) and I must say I do agree. A lot of the shitty aspects to living in this country all stem from overcrowding: traffic and train congestion, small homes, lining up for almost everything, etc, etc. I don't know the economics of it though. If the current population could continue to have a decent standard of living while paying for all the old ppl to sit around waiting to die, then it wouldn't be so bad. If they could be less of a burden on the pension and health systems then it might be possible (anecdotal evidence suggests old J ppl go to the doc as much to meet others and talk to ppl as they do to actually have something meaningfully done/looked into. I know my 89-year-old grandmother-in-law got a bunch of tests done for cancer when the doctor told her that if she did have cancer not only would it spread slowly due to her age but also there was nothing he could do anyway: most treatments would probably end up killing her due to her advanced years).
steki47 wrote: Yet they still import 60% of their food.
I believe they produce about 39% of the food they consume so that sounds about right.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:03 pm

MacGyver wrote: If the current population could continue to have a decent standard of living while paying for all the old ppl to sit around waiting to die, then it wouldn't be so bad. If they could be less of a burden on the pension and health systems then it might be possible.
Pension payouts are decreasing here and that could push more of the elderly into living with their families. I am not sure the %, but many Asians have grannies living with them. This would also reduce expenses and free up space. With some of the Chinese families I have known, a live-in grandmother becomes a free babysitter and lets both parents work fulltime. It would also reduce the elderly care industry which is looking at importing foreign workers.

60 million might be nice for Japan. May be hard to maintain its status as an industrial superpower with fewer factory workers. Many Japanese companies have moved factories to other Asian countries, boosting their economies. Thailand and Malaysia have benefitted from this. Japanese heads and Thai/Malay hands is a formula that could work for a few generations.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by Kuronama » Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:29 pm

steki47 wrote:
senseiman wrote:From Japan's perspective the problem - well, aside from the embarassing display of racist attitude it takes to actually praise Aparthied - is that this sort of thinking is just a continuation of the view that foreigners are simply here as short term workers to fill in and be sent packing whenever their specific position no longer needs them.
Good points.
1. Many Japanese don't really see anything wrong with these attitudes. Japan is a very homogeneous folk nation and they prefer to keep it that way.
2. Agreed. Even with many English teaching jobs, Japan is not encouraging long-term ELT professionals. JET is for 3 three years and so on. Not happy about this.
3. I really think most Japanese would rather than they go extinct than import more foreigners. Exaggerating here, but you get the idea.
4. I think for many reasons Japan would be better off rearranging Japanese workers than bringing in more people.
I just read Straitjacket Society, written by Dr. Masao Miyamoto. It is an account of this guy's experiences working for the J-bureacracy, after living and working for 12 years in the U.S. Excellent book. I think much of what is being discussed here comes out in the book. I highly recommend it.

As for point 3, well, I don't think much has changed in some respects since the kamikaze days. But only Japanese can change Japan. Gaijin can argue, debate, complain - for better or worse - and little headway will be made. Unless there are those like the guy who wrote the book I'm talking about (seemed like he really pushed for change, according to his account), nothing will.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by MacGyver » Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:50 pm

Kuronama wrote:
steki47 wrote: 3. I really think most Japanese would rather than they go extinct than import more foreigners. Exaggerating here, but you get the idea.
As for point 3, well, I don't think much has changed in some respects since the kamikaze days. But only Japanese can change Japan. Gaijin can argue, debate, complain - for better or worse - and little headway will be made. Unless there are those like the guy who wrote the book I'm talking about (seemed like he really pushed for change, according to his account), nothing will.
On point three, I actually don't think it's an exaggeration because to many/most Japanese, Japan = 100% pure Japanese or thereabouts. Anything that isn't "racially pure" isn't Japan or the Japanese so if there were too many foreigners, Japan would cease to exist. So if Japan all of a sudden open its doors tomorrow to let the gaijin hordes in, to most Japanese this would be akin to all Japanese dying so it's not hard to see why they would prefer to go extinct than let the unbathed ones in.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 4:01 pm

Kuronama wrote: I just read Straitjacket Society, written by Dr. Masao Miyamoto. It is an account of this guy's experiences working for the J-bureacracy, after living and working for 12 years in the U.S. Excellent book. I think much of what is being discussed here comes out in the book. I highly recommend it.

As for point 3, well, I don't think much has changed in some respects since the kamikaze days. But only Japanese can change Japan. Gaijin can argue, debate, complain - for better or worse - and little headway will be made. Unless there are those like the guy who wrote the book I'm talking about (seemed like he really pushed for change, according to his account), nothing will.
Great book! I read that after Dogs and Demons and loved hearing a Japanese make his points.

I recently attended a workshop on team teaching and the two JTEs stated that it was up to the Japanese to change the educational system. No argument there, but that doesn't seem to be happening. Nice sentiment.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 4:04 pm

MacGyver wrote: On point three, I actually don't think it's an exaggeration because to many/most Japanese, Japan = 100% pure Japanese or thereabouts. Anything that isn't "racially pure" isn't Japan or the Japanese so if there were too many foreigners, Japan would cease to exist. So if Japan all of a sudden open its doors tomorrow to let the gaijin hordes in, to most Japanese this would be akin to all Japanese dying so it's not hard to see why they would prefer to go extinct than let the unbathed ones in.
Yeah, that's why I am trying to think of solutions involving rearranging Japanese people rather than bringing in more bignoses. Or-clutch the pearls-other Asians. More foreigner workers, like Brazilians, would just be relegated to low-end jobs and segregated housing for the duration of their stay. Or it may discourage them from staying on longer. Which may be part of the plan...

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by MacGyver » Mon Feb 16, 2015 4:31 pm

steki47 wrote:Yeah, that's why I am trying to think of solutions involving rearranging Japanese people rather than bringing in more bignoses. Or-clutch the pearls-other Asians. More foreigner workers, like Brazilians, would just be relegated to low-end jobs and segregated housing for the duration of their stay. Or it may discourage them from staying on longer. Which may be part of the plan...
I'm not familiar with the detailed ins and outs of the program to bring in elderly care nurses from the Philippines but if I'm not mistaken I believe part of that program was to give them a special type of visa that was valid for a certain period (5 years I think), which isn't renewable, and then send them home. As far as I understand it, there was no opportunity for them to stay. No idea what would happen if they met a J guy and got married. Nonetheless, the whole point was they'd come in, work for the specified period and then be sent home again. There was no chance, not meant to be a chance, for them to migrate here permanently. As with most things with the Japanese (and I'm thinking foreign aid here but I'm sure English teaching and other areas may also apply) it is for the benefit of the Japanese first and foremost and if the gaijin got anything out of it, it was purely coincidental. Actually I did a translation last week about some new govt. sponsored J uni program and part of it gajin students (more than now at least) would come to that uni and be assigned a J "buddy" to help them out, and the big selling point of that was something like "The J student gets to learn about gaijins and speak English blah, blah, blah increasing their international exposure." There was also going to be (new?) dormitories for the gaijins to live in in which J students could also live if they wanted to again to get international exposure from the gaijin. The whole thing read like, "We bring in gaijins for the purpose of [insert reason that only benefits Japanese people]." There was absolutely no mention of what the gaijins were supposed to get out of it. Begs the question what the point of translating it was. Although it was part of a larger document which I'm guessing would be used for PR.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:14 pm

steki47 wrote:
I have read that distribution chains in Japan have a lot of extra people who all have mortgages to pay and kids to feed. It could be possible to retrain some of them to work in more needed fields.
This was much more true back in the 1990s than it is today. The retail distribution chain used to have about twice as many layers in Japan than in the US, but the market has changed considerably in recent years. All you need to do is look at the condition of the small retailers that dominated Japan in the past (and who were the main beneficiaries of that complex distribution network) to see the impact of the changes.
steki47 wrote:A higher percentage of Japanese work as farmers. (Yet they still import 60% of their food. I need to look at the numbers.) Maybe some of them could work in other fields.
I think this is a bit misleading - a large portion of the rice (and other) fields are cultivated by small landholders as a supplemental source of income rather than as their main job. The portion of the population employed full time in agriculture is actually miniscule.
steki47 wrote:Japan is a small, crowded country. Adding large numbers of people (of any ethnicity) may not be such a great idea.
Kind of true, but at the same time the real problem is with how the population is distributed rather than its overall density. You`ve got almost half the population living in 3 urban centres (Kansai, Tokai and Kanto), while the rest of the country is nowhere near as crowded.

I think the biggest numbers for potential immigration currently being discussed is about 200,000 per year, which represents less than 0.2% of the population. Plus this would not actually increase the size of the population as it is currently naturally decreasing by a number larger than that each year (in other words, the population will still shrink with immigration, just not as fast). So the `Japan is already over-crowded` argument seems a bit specious to me.
steki47 wrote:As for declining economic size, I also wonder how horrible that would be. I view the Bubble years as a fluke and, worst case scenario, Japanese would be more likely to go back to the lifestyle they led in the 1960s: small houses, domestically grown Japanese food and less disposable income (fewer overseas vacations, Gucci bags and golf clubs). Japan will not turn into Zimbabwe.
Yes but all of those things you describe are actually bad things - not many people want to be forced by necessity to have smaller houses, to have to grow their own food or to have less disposable income. And yet that is more or less a best case scenario expressed in rosy terms - you could also expect far lower levels of government services, declining standards in health care and education, increased crime, greater wealth inequality, deterioration of infrastructure etc etc.

The point is that the list of changes accompanied by a shrinking population are almost entirely negative and, in terms of quality of life, are nowhere close to being offset by the few positive ones (less overcrowding and less pollution). Look at a city like Yubari and the disastrous state it is in after decades of declining population and you can get an idea of what this will lead to in practical terms.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:40 pm

1. Distribution chains-I may have been looking at older numbers. Would have to update that.
2. Farmers-maybe same as above. People growing food is not a bad thing, of course.
3. True, true. Centralization of a nation's economy is seen as a characteristics of a developing country. So say western economists. Many Asian societies have more of a hive mentality, so this may be more frequent than in some Western nations, where Silicon Valley is not in or around NYC and Microsoft is in rural nowhere. It would be possible to redistribute industries/companies around to smaller towns in Japan, but the logistics would be messy at best. I don't have an answer to that one.
4. I'm not saying the changes would be good or welcomed by the Japanese population. It would be a decline on many levels, to be sure. Some of your negative side effects are not necessarily inevitable or even likely in Japan. Rising crime and income equality come to mind. Japan in the 60s had low rates of both. We can't rewind the DVD of Japanese history, but the move towards the status I mentioned would not have to be too horrible.
If it were possible to present the Japanese public with the choice of more foreigners vs. declining economy, I wonder what they would say. Actually, Debito had a link to just such a survey and the majority of Japanese choose economic decline. Easier said than done, I realize.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:26 pm

steki47 wrote: 4. I'm not saying the changes would be good or welcomed by the Japanese population. It would be a decline on many levels, to be sure. Some of your negative side effects are not necessarily inevitable or even likely in Japan. Rising crime and income equality come to mind. Japan in the 60s had low rates of both. We can't rewind the DVD of Japanese history, but the move towards the status I mentioned would not have to be too horrible.
If it were possible to present the Japanese public with the choice of more foreigners vs. declining economy, I wonder what they would say. Actually, Debito had a link to just such a survey and the majority of Japanese choose economic decline. Easier said than done, I realize.
Well, as you say yourself it is not possible to rewind the DVD of Japanese history and it is highly unrealistic to assume that solely based on reverting to the same population levels that other things would be as they were in the 1960s - other than the population level it is hard to think of many things that Japan in say 2050 would have in common with Japan in 1960. Crime rates might go up or down (in fact, given the aging population you may be right that they could go down given that it is young people that commit most crimes). Wealth inequality seems likely to rise in such a situation though. In a low/negative growth economy people who rely on labor for their living (ie poor and middle class people) will be the hardest pressed as the purchasing power of their wages will decrease year by year. Wealthy people who can earn an income from their capital can easily invest that overseas and avoid that problem (a devalued yen, which is almost inevitable if the government is to manage its increasing debt load in such a situation, will negatively affect wage earners but not those who have investments denominated in dollars, Euros, etc), meaning that their incomes will remain secure while wage earners income becomes less and less so.

The Japanese public might say they prefer economic decline to increased immigration, but of course most of the people answering those poll questions probably have little inclination as to what economic decline of the magnitude we are talking about would have on the country. There is a bit of a tension in the policy elite, pretty much all of whom know that increased immigration is a must if the country is going to avoid disaster but at the same time unsure of how to deal with the highly organized voices that oppose immigration no matter what the cost.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:12 pm

MacGyver wrote: Actually I did a translation last week about some new govt. sponsored J uni program and part of it gajin students (more than now at least) would come to that uni and be assigned a J "buddy" to help them out, and the big selling point of that was something like "The J student gets to learn about gaijins and speak English blah, blah, blah increasing their international exposure." There was also going to be (new?) dormitories for the gaijins to live in in which J students could also live if they wanted to again to get international exposure from the gaijin. The whole thing read like, "We bring in gaijins for the purpose of [insert reason that only benefits Japanese people]." There was absolutely no mention of what the gaijins were supposed to get out of it. Begs the question what the point of translating it was. Although it was part of a larger document which I'm guessing would be used for PR.
The foreign students are usually the net beneficiaries of such programs - the Japanese buddy usually has to do a ton of work (taking the foreigner to the Ward office, helping them get settled, get a phone, etc) while the foreign student basically just accepts this help and speaks in English.

Monbusho has a number of programs designed to increase the number of international students at Japanese universities and, to their credit, have been investing serious money in it (and student numbers have increased markedly). The main problem though is that most of these students leave Japan after they graduate since the rigid system Japanese companies use in hiring means that there are few jobs for them (also complicated by the visa system, which requires them to leave within a few days of graduating unless they have a job already lined up). Its a huge brain drain that needs to be addressed.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:17 am

I will do your lengthy and interesting post a diservice with my brief and inadequate reply.

Income equality-Don't have a serious problem with that. America has massive income inequality, yet our poorest citizens are still quite privileged by global standards.

As for immigration, I also typically have strong negative thoughts about it. It increases many bad things (wage deflation, housing, traffic, tears the social fabric) and only sometimes helps in the labor force (American employers could have paid a living wage rather than importing cheap foreign labor-Chinese railroad workers, Mexican laborers, African slaves).

I am very skeptical about immigration as a magical solution to a country's problem. In the West, the elites have completely sold out their citizens through massive immigration. The reasons are totally self-serving (cheap labor, cheap votes and a dash of hatred towards their own people).

Many Japan will be different. The several thousand Westerners floating around Japan are not a huge problem.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by MacGyver » Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:35 am

senseiman wrote: The foreign students are usually the net beneficiaries of such programs - the Japanese buddy usually has to do a ton of work (taking the foreigner to the Ward office, helping them get settled, get a phone, etc) while the foreign student basically just accepts this help and speaks in English.
I was actually referring to how the documentation I'm translating made it sound, but nonetheless "beneficiary" is in the eye of the beholder in this case I would have thought. I see it as the foreigner doesn't learn anything (this sort of thing is an indispensable life lesson I reckon) whereas the J student gets to speak English. In fact, perhaps the J student has never done any of this stuff before seeing as they most likely still live at home and/or mum/dad/school/someone else has always done this stuff for them. And if the foreign student doesn't get to use Japanese, then what is the point of attending a J uni? I doubt they are going to learn anything they would've learned in their home countries/universities.
senseiman wrote:Monbusho has a number of programs designed to increase the number of international students at Japanese universities and, to their credit, have been investing serious money in it (and student numbers have increased markedly). The main problem though is that most of these students leave Japan after they graduate since the rigid system Japanese companies use in hiring means that there are few jobs for them (also complicated by the visa system, which requires them to leave within a few days of graduating unless they have a job already lined up). Its a huge brain drain that needs to be addressed.
Yeah I would have liked to have done mombusho back in the day as it is serious money (in the early 90s, it was something like 4 million yen a year) but there's no way I would have ever been accepted: competition is too fierce. I think "in my day" the scholarship was offered to a very small number of people Oz wide (I seem to recall 1 person but it may have been a few more). While I would have liked to have done it, I think in the end it worked out for the best because I know a bunch of guys who did it and none have fared any better than me career-wise and certainly the majority didn't find jobs easily. You'd think they would have but as you say due to Japanese hiring practices, it doesn't make it any easier for them. Perhaps harder as foreign companies aren't that interested in J qualifications. Speaking of the brain drain, Oz had the same issue, but to a much greater degree (my uni had 40% international students when I went there, which I think is fairly representative Oz-wide) and most would have to return to their home countries even if they wanted to stay unless they got a job in Oz straight after graduating, and with the shitty job market in Oz that doesn't happen. So I think toward the end of the 90s the Oz govt. made it easier for uni students to get a PR visa.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:25 am

MacGyver wrote: I was actually referring to how the documentation I'm translating made it sound, but nonetheless "beneficiary" is in the eye of the beholder in this case I would have thought. I see it as the foreigner doesn't learn anything (this sort of thing is an indispensable life lesson I reckon) whereas the J student gets to speak English. In fact, perhaps the J student has never done any of this stuff before seeing as they most likely still live at home and/or mum/dad/school/someone else has always done this stuff for them. And if the foreign student doesn't get to use Japanese, then what is the point of attending a J uni? I doubt they are going to learn anything they would've learned in their home countries/universities.
I used to be a graduate student at a Japanese university and we had something similar. My Japanese buddy picked me up at the airport, helped me get settled in, etc. I basically did nothing in return except be nice. It was really difficult to recruit people for that as a result - I was OK but some foreign students would constantly be calling their Japanese buddy up for help with almost every minute detail of their life.
MacGyver wrote:Yeah I would have liked to have done mombusho back in the day as it is serious money (in the early 90s, it was something like 4 million yen a year) but there's no way I would have ever been accepted: competition is too fierce. I think "in my day" the scholarship was offered to a very small number of people Oz wide (I seem to recall 1 person but it may have been a few more). While I would have liked to have done it, I think in the end it worked out for the best because I know a bunch of guys who did it and none have fared any better than me career-wise and certainly the majority didn't find jobs easily. You'd think they would have but as you say due to Japanese hiring practices, it doesn't make it any easier for them. Perhaps harder as foreign companies aren't that interested in J qualifications. Speaking of the brain drain, Oz had the same issue, but to a much greater degree (my uni had 40% international students when I went there, which I think is fairly representative Oz-wide) and most would have to return to their home countries even if they wanted to stay unless they got a job in Oz straight after graduating, and with the shitty job market in Oz that doesn't happen. So I think toward the end of the 90s the Oz govt. made it easier for uni students to get a PR visa.
I received the monbusho scholarship and it was way less than that (about 150,000 yen per month for grad students, less for undergrads) when I did it. Still extremely generous though, actually if you add in the waived tuition fees and other benefits it might be almost 4 mil. It is competetive though nowhere near like the type of competition for a Rhodes scholarship or Fulbright scholarship.

One thing to bear in mind is that by far the vast majority of international students at Japanese universities are from East and Southeast Asia. Europeans/North Americans make up maybe 5% of the total at most. The quality of education at a Japanese university is generally higher here than in most neighboring countries (with a few exceptions, like NUS or HKU) so there is a benefit to coming to Japan to study even if they don't intend to do anything Japan-specific in their career (especially true in the natural sciences, less so in the social sciences).

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by MacGyver » Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:52 am

senseiman wrote: I received the monbusho scholarship and it was way less than that (about 150,000 yen per month for grad students, less for undergrads) when I did it. Still extremely generous though, actually if you add in the waived tuition fees and other benefits it might be almost 4 mil. It is competetive though nowhere near like the type of competition for a Rhodes scholarship or Fulbright scholarship.
I have no clue now about how it works in Oz or how different it is to North America, but I'd imagine now competition in Oz would be no where near as tough as I doubt it would be terribly popular, or at least no where near as popular as it once was. The opportunity cost is just way too high. In the 90s, Oz was in the midst of a recession whereas Japan was in a bubble, albeit at the end of it (in hindsight), but still far more attractive economically than Oz. Now it is the exact opposite. It would almost be professional suicide to do an undergrad degree here now. Most people I know in Oz are on far more than the average salaryman. Hell, you'd seriously struggle to live on a J wage in Oz now.
senseiman wrote:One thing to bear in mind is that by far the vast majority of international students at Japanese universities are from East and Southeast Asia. Europeans/North Americans make up maybe 5% of the total at most. The quality of education at a Japanese university is generally higher here than in most neighboring countries (with a few exceptions, like NUS or HKU) so there is a benefit to coming to Japan to study even if they don't intend to do anything Japan-specific in their career (especially true in the natural sciences, less so in the social sciences).
That's a fair point. The guys I know who did the program are all Aussies and Europeans. One guy bounced around for years doing different shitty jobs (I tried to set him up with a job a Caterpillar through a friend who worked there but my friend at Cat said he had no chance cause he changed jobs too often) but finally landed a job at Google. As a recruiter but still being a Google recruiter would be the best type of recruiter you would have thought.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by senseiman » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:33 am

steki47 wrote:
Income equality-Don't have a serious problem with that. America has massive income inequality, yet our poorest citizens are still quite privileged by global standards.
Well, if you are comparing them with people in somewhere like war-torn Somalia, then yeah. But by any reasonable standard of comparison (ie with other industrialized countries) the state of the poor in the US is appalling.
steki47 wrote:As for immigration, I also typically have strong negative thoughts about it. It increases many bad things (wage deflation, housing, traffic, tears the social fabric) and only sometimes helps in the labor force (American employers could have paid a living wage rather than importing cheap foreign labor-Chinese railroad workers, Mexican laborers, African slaves).

I am very skeptical about immigration as a magical solution to a country's problem. In the West, the elites have completely sold out their citizens through massive immigration. The reasons are totally self-serving (cheap labor, cheap votes and a dash of hatred towards their own people).

Many Japan will be different. The several thousand Westerners floating around Japan are not a huge problem.
Well, if you are forming an opinion solely based on some subjective preference rather than on an objective appraisal of all the facts then the conclusions you reach are going to be more or less pre-determined and of little relevance to people actually trying to find solutions to real-world problems.

For starters all of those problems you cite with immigration - wage deflation, housing, traffic, tears the social fabric - aren't (possibly with the exception of the last, though tearing the social fabric is a vaguely worded concept) obviously wouldn't apply in Japan - immigrants would be entering a country with a decreasing population so they wouldn't be adding to problems of overcrowding or depressing wages(given the existence of a labor shortage).

I'm also really unclear about what you mean about elites selling out citizens through mass immigration. Frankly that simply sounds like nothing more than nativist rhetoric for which there seems to be little factual basis. Immigrants aren't stealing jobs in the industrialized world - the jobs themselves that have been moved, mostly to China. In other words it is the flow of trade and investment rather than the flow of people.

Also, I'm getting the feeling from what you are writing that your views are more based on some sense of disgruntlement about the situation in your own country rather than an actual appraisal or understanding of the problems that exist in Japan, which are quite different. Japan (and South Korea BTW) are the only countries in the developed world for whom de-population is an imminent problem. I've outlined the consequences of that problem earlier. There are only two possible solutions to this problem - raising the birthrate (nowhere near enough being done on that end) or immigration. Given the demographic trend, its actually too late to rely exclusively on the former, so the latter is literally the only solution to this problem. While you are correct that immigration is not a magical solution to all of Japan's problems, it literally is the only viable solution to this problem, which happens to be the most pressing and threatening problem that Japan faces in the long run.

In response to this, your argument seems to amount to nothing more than "Well, foreigners are taking American jobs, therefore immigration is bad and Japan shouldn't do it." This just isn't even remotely convincing nor does it indicate even the remotest familiarity with the problem at hand.

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Re: The Assorted Fruits and Nuts Thread

Unread post by steki47 » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:56 am

senseiman wrote: There are only two possible solutions to this problem - raising the birthrate (nowhere near enough being done on that end) or immigration. Given the demographic trend, its actually too late to rely exclusively on the former, so the latter is literally the only solution to this problem. While you are correct that immigration is not a magical solution to all of Japan's problems, it literally is the only viable solution to this problem, which happens to be the most pressing and threatening problem that Japan faces in the long run.

In response to this, your argument seems to amount to nothing more than "Well, foreigners are taking American jobs, therefore immigration is bad and Japan shouldn't do it." This just isn't even remotely convincing nor does it indicate even the remotest familiarity with the problem at hand.
Raising the birthrate does not seem to be working very well in the East Asian nations. Specifically in Japan, I think every Japanese woman would have to have 4+ kids to counteract the decline. Very unlikely.

To be honest, I probably am projecting some of my own concerns about the US/the general West and multiracial societies. On the other hand, I am not projecting too much to say that much of the Japanese public would rather not import more foreigners.

Yes, perhaps apples and oranges on my part. I wonder how the Japanese government would explain the increase of immigration into Japan without spooking out the more nativist, xenophobic elements of the society. Would the government explain that the incoming workers would be on limited visas or different wages than Japanese workers? (They did that with the Brazilian factory workers and the ALT/JET program.) Or would they simply do it and not explain it all to the public?

I also wonder what the immigrants are thinking. I have met and spoken to a few Filipinos, Brazilians and Vietnamese here over the years but never in depth about their take on Japan and their relative positions here.

Personal observation: I am seeing more foreigners working at the convenience stores in Nagoya and Gifu. Some Brazilians but mostly Chinese (going by nametags). I wonder if they will stay here longterm or go home. Or if they have professional options and work their way up and out of shit conbini work.

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