• Hull, England


Letter writers to The Japan Times are such a curmudgeonly lot. In his March 19 letter, Amit Chaturvedi writes “Welcome to the real world” in response to Mikako Hayashi’s March 17 complaint about the United Kingdom’s marriage visa procedures (“I am not a Pakistani child bride“). His attitude is that others have had to suffer, so why shouldn’t the Japanese. It is not clear whether he is speaking as an Australian or as an Indian, but what a dreadful way to run the world.

Chaturvedi misses important points. Hayashi was not seeking a visa to live in the U.K. but only to get married — her short visit would also have contributed to the hard-pressed U.K. economy — and then return to Japan. For anything other than marriage, she does not need a visa for a stay of up to six months. How many other such opportunities to create marital happiness for Japanese and economic benefits for Britons is the U.K. losing because of its churlish attitudes?

As for the U.K. ambassador’s response, “Immigration controls in Britain,” in his March 22 letter, he does not answer Hayashi’s particular grumbles and raises further questions. How does demanding that Japanese have a visa for marriage contribute to the U.K.’s “strong and safe borders.” He says lightly that “applicants must provide some personal information and personal documents. This can seem intrusive, but it helps us to assess whether the application is genuine.”

How depressing: How many times has the ambassador been asked to provide details of his earnings and savings, how much he spends and saves each month, and how much he contributes to other family members?

This does not “seem intrusive”; it IS intrusive and impertinent. Then to be told to supply bank statements and a formal marriage proposal not only beggars belief but is why the U.K. is getting a reputation as a “Big Brother” state.

robin richards

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