Readers’ responses to Debito Arudou’s last column, “In formulating immigration policy, no seat at the table for non-Japanese”:
Outrageous claims need rebutting
In his July 3 column, Mr. Debito Arudou makes gratuitous mention of my name and says that in my articles for The Japan Times I never miss an opportunity to claim how open-minded the Japanese are. Readers of those articles will know that this claim is nonsense, and that I frequently criticise some Japanese policies, including immigration policies, as closed-minded.
Meanwhile, Mr. Arudou, for his own reasons, never misses an opportunity not only to criticise the Japanese people as racist, but also to attack those who try to rebut some of the more outrageous of his claims.
Clumsy translations don’t help
I applaud Debito Arudou’s efforts to call attention to the Cabinet’s meetings on the creation of a long-overdue immigration policy. Arudou is right to criticize the lack of diversity in the meetings and absence of non-Japanese participants. Hopefully foreign residents will be invited to participate as soon as possible.
Until then, I think there needs to be some discussion in the foreign community about what kind of immigration policy would be most suitable for the country and beneficial for immigrants. What government services are most important? Should Japan eventually adopt an assimilation model like in France, multiculturalism as in Britain, or something different? Questions like these should be debated before recommendations are made to the government.
The Japan Times could stimulate discussion by publishing a translation of the meeting materials. Care would have to be taken, of course, to translate impartially.
Arudou raises too many unnecessary concerns regarding the government’s intentions partly on the basis of his own clumsy translations. For starters, rather than translating kyōsei shakai as “co-existence society,” an awkward term that can imply minorities are merely tolerated, I suggest the more natural and positive term “integrated society.”
Be rational and pragmatic
The very fact that the government and its constituents have realized that they need to work on immigration reforms needs to be commended. Debito’s rhetoric aside, the changes (though may be glacial compared to Debito’s expectations) are becoming visible.
Let Debito sometimes be rational and pragmatic.
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