Although I disagree with the tone of Shigure Tatsushige’s Jan. 20 letter, “Deport the solo ‘flyjin’ of 3/11,” I can understand his sentiment, except that I think he’s forgetting one very important fact: Many Japanese also fled after 3/11 — if not to other countries then elsewhere in Japan.
One reason the exodus of foreigners made headlines is that many of them needed to rush to immigration centers before departing, creating long queues and good photo opportunities. Another reason is, well, because they’re foreigners.
What didn’t make as exciting news was the fact that there was a Japanese exodus as well. Those who had money and time fled the country. Housewives took their kids and fled to Kansai, Kyushu or beyond, leaving their husbands in Kanto. In some cases, if husbands could telecommute, they fled Tokyo too.
I’m still in Yokohama and, like Tatsushige, never left. But I personally know many Japanese who did. One friend and her two children are still living in Kansai now. Another immediately took her two kids and fled to New Zealand for nearly a year, returning to Japan only after her husband agreed they’d all relocate to Kyushu.
So, I’d ask Tatsushige to drop the pejorative “flyjin” and the sanctimonious attitude. Whether Emmanuelle Bodin (the French woman who sued NHK for firing her) deserves to have lost her job is one thing; labeling foreigners who left as “cowards” while numerous Japanese fled too is another. Tatsushige says he felt “ashamed for the fleeing masses,” but I say shame on Tatsushige.
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.