Foreign nationals in Shibuya give their general thoughts on terrorism, whether conspiracy legislation — which came into force in Japan on Tuesday — is necessary to fight it, and how safe they feel in their home and host countries.
Economics student, 26 (Nepalese)
Terrorism is not permissible at all. Peace in the world is the most important thing, so terrorism must be diminished as much as possible. We might be helpless against that, but every government should do its best to defend the people. Nepal was in civil war until 15 years ago, but now it is a moderate state. We don’t have a special law against terrorism, but a system to report to the police has been completed. In Japan, I have personally never felt in any danger.
International school worker, 27 (American)
Terrorism creates a lot of fear and worry among people, a lot of anger and hate. So even if there’s a small incident, it spreads like wildfire. We do have laws in the U.S. which catch criminals to prevent terrorism from happening, but it’s not easy because there’s a lot of racial profiling and the “Muslim ban.” People are going to look at one another just based on the way they look, talk and assume things, creating lots of hatred among them. As for Japan, it’s a very safe country compared with other places.
Assistant language teacher, 24 (British)
There should be strong deterrents to stop people committing terrorist offenses in Japan, and one way of doing that is to have strict anti-conspiracy laws. We have strong antiterrorism laws in the U.K. too. When walking in Japan, I’ve never felt threatened. In the U.K., especially at night, I feel unsafe. But I’ve never had a fear of terrorism in Newcastle, where I lived for 24 years. It’s important not to feel threatened, as that’s giving in to the whole idea — feeling afraid is what terrorism is about.
Travel agent, 53 (Malaysian)
I know some people think of terrorism as being related to a certain religion, but in [Muslim-majority] Malaysia I’ve never felt at risk. I’m Muslim and have lots of friends — Chinese, Indian, English, Russian — it doesn’t matter. I travel all over the world with my family; even with wearing a scarf, it’s no problem. Everything depends on your heart. Misperceptions and miscommunication exist between Muslims and other religions, but I believe that in any religion there is good. In Japan, I just want to have fun.
IT technician, 21 (Norwegian)
We are now seeing a new form of terrorism on the internet. It shows how important it is not to neglect technology and to secure infrastructure — especially hospitals that have been attacked [as in the U.K.]. I live in Oslo, and the people of Norway were victims of terrorist attacks in 2011 — a bombing and shooting. As for the conspiracy bill in Japan, terrorism itself is illegal, but encouraging surveillance of the people is not good. Planning should be punished, but it can be difficult to differentiate joking around from real planning.
Broadcasting, 29 (American)
It’s an awful thing, and scary when it strikes unlikely places — I mean, we can do our best not to travel to high-risk zones, but when it strikes places like Sweden and Australia? I love going to Paris, but now that’s sort of tainted after something awful happened there. I live in NYC, so it’s really high-security when you’re flying to John F. Kennedy Airport. That’s a good thing. I feel very safe in Tokyo, but that’s not to say something can’t happen here, right? In America, I don’t think I’ve encountered a scary moment — only through the news.
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