tend to disagree with the assumptions made by Paul de Vries in recent articles (including his Feb. 3 Zeit Gist article, “What would the locals do?“) that tell readers how non-Japanese people should learn from the Japanese idea of “group accountability.” De Vries has tried to explain this idea with different story lines, but I still wonder just what he is driving at.
What can we learn from the story of a Japanese landlord refusing us a place to rent? Sorry, but I can’t learn anything from this, no matter what de Vries wants to call this behavior. When one is NOT at the receiving end, one can derive hollow theories. If de Vries is so content with his theory, he should start a real estate business that caters to non-Japanese people.
I would prefer that landlords and the community learn the lesson of their lives by fighting against “discrimination” and “xenophobic behavior.” And if we want to raise our voices, we will write letters not only to The Japan Times, but also to the Japanese government and, if necessary, to the United Nations. We don’t need hollow advice from people.
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