I would like to comment on Dipak Basu’s Dec. 2 letter, “Good reasons to stay at home.”
First, Basu mentions racism as one reason that fewer Japanese are going abroad to study. While racism exists in the United Kingdom as elsewhere, there are strict laws against discrimination based on it. Society in general does not tolerate those who show such tendencies. Sadly this cannot be said of most countries in Asia. But even if racism were a factor, surely other “inferior Asian” students would also be affected.
Second, Basu states that almost half the students at foreign universities are Chinese. A quick check of governmental statistics shows that in 2010, 126,000 out of 470,000 foreign students in Australia were Chinese. And in the U.K., during 2010-2011, out of the 428,000 foreign students, 67,000 were from China.
Finally, Basu claims that students from Hong Kong are “very hostile Chinese.” I assume he means hostile toward the Japanese, in which case I am completely puzzled as to how he came to this conclusion. I have many relatives and friends in Hong Kong and I frequently travel there. I have yet to encounter anyone openly hostile to the Japanese, even among those who hold a different opinion on the current territorial dispute.
The vast majority of people in Hong Kong have always shown great admiration for Japanese culture and can make a clear distinction between politicians and ordinary citizens of Japan. In fact, they are far more concerned about ongoing social problems associated with certain visitors from across the border.
At a time when Sino-Japanese relations are at an all-time low, Basu’s misinformation is of little help.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.