Voices | VIEWS FROM THE STREET

Views from Tokyo: What do you think about the ‘Brexit,’ and how might it affect the future?

by Min Jung Kim

Staff Writer

Go Taira
Student, 20 (Japanese)
As an international student planning to go back to the U.K. this September, it is quite advantageous that the exchange rate from yen to pound is much better than the last time I lived in the U.K. At the same time, I’m worried about the wave of nationalism that has currently been rising in the nation. I heard that hate crimes have risen in the U.K. since the election.

Spencer Bunting
JET assistant language teacher, 22 (American)
Brexit is a disappointment — it’s a decision based on a misunderstanding of the causes of issues and encouraged by leaders that disseminated misinformation to the older generation of British citizens. Brexit was a mistake that will have minimal benefits and major consequences for the British economy, and will negatively effect the European economy as a whole as well. As an American living in Japan, the only way the aftershock of Brexit has affected me personally is that I now have the opportunity to buy weakened sterling with strengthened yen.

Kate Knight
Exchange student, 22 (British)
I voted to remain in Europe. As a language student — my major is French and Japanese — leaving the EU puts my future at risk. I think that’s true of a lot of young people. The U.K. will still need to be able to trade with EU countries if it leaves, so we will follow almost all the rules of the EU, but without a chance to influence votes that affect us. Lastly, I fear that much of the “leave” campaign was based on data that was manipulated untruthfully, and peppered with racism. It seems now in the U.K., sadly, the Brexit campaign has given justification to hatred, and we’re seeing racism bubbling to the surface.

Adrien Bunel
Exchange student, 21 (French)
I think their leaving is for the best because the relationship between the EU and the U.K. was strained from the start. For some reason they do not fit or do not want to fit in the EU, probably because of their close relations with the U.S. and their own system — that is, the Commonwealth. They were never fully in, they’re not in the eurozone or the (passport-free) Schengen area and have been moaning for special treatment, which they somehow got. Their contribution to the EU was not on par and I believe it will be easier to advance without them.

Yuko Arahata
Student, 20 (Japanese)
I was very surprised when I heard on the news that Britain had decided to leave the EU. Britain has to work together as a nation to decide what it really wants, or else it will end in failure. The result hasn’t changed my mind about going to Britain. It got me more excited to look, ask and listen to the voices of citizens and, most importantly, the immigrants, who struggle to have their voices heard. I look forward to studying at the University of East Anglia as a stepping stone to discovering my own voice as an outsider of Britain, after getting to know more about what soon could be a more strongly independent state.

Asbjorn Jensen
Exchange student, 24 (Danish)
It is great that Britain got the opportunity to vote for continued membership or withdrawal from the European Union. For me, the fact that the British people got the chance to be heard and to show the politicians in the EU that their system is rotten is positive — I think it’s positive for all of us. Maybe it is just a dream of mine, but hopefully the politicians will see that the people’s voices need to be heard. The situation looks a little chaotic now, as the value of the British pound is dropping, but I’m quite certain that the situation will stabilize and good things will come out of this.

Soichiro Satake
Student, 21 (Japanese)
I don’t think it’s a good for everyone that U.K. citizens decided to leave the EU. People who voted for leaving the EU should have thought about the risks more seriously. I’m not a European, but as a student, I really hope the U.K. and the EU will maintain their cooperation at in the educational-academic field. I studied in Europe for two semesters and I met many amazing people, including British people. Although I respect their decision, I was really shocked to hear the result and am concerned about the future of the U.K. and the EU.

Victor Saint-Jean
Exchange student, 21 (French)
With the Brexit, I think they made a mistake. They surely underestimated the consequences of their choice, and it looks to me like a bad joke that turned out to be real, and no one really expected it. It shows the failure of the European Union, and they’re leaving at the exact moment when we need to be closer to each other, to address problems of environment, the migrant crisis and sluggish growth. Britain really needs the EU for its financial services sector, and London will really be weakened on this point.