• Rochester, New York

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As a fellow Japanese citizen and a graduate of the University of Manchester who was deeply impressed by the warmth of British people, I’d like to kindly ask Mikako Hayashi if she has taken the time to reflect on how visa applicants from places outside “agreeable” countries such as the United Kingdom might be treated by the Japanese government.

Even for Japanese-born subjects with a foreign nationality — Koreans being the prime example — who wish to naturalize, the same types of questions that disregard privacy are routinely asked by Japanese “apparatchiks.”

It is no doubt important to voice the problems that Hayashi encountered in order to improve bureaucratic processes. This, however, does not negate the importance of looking at the issue from others’ viewpoints. This humility seems lacking in Hayashi who, while acknowledging the hypocrisy involved in the Home Office’s raising the minimum age for “foreign spouses to be” — or Pakistani child brides — way above the minimum age of marriage in the U.K., loudly disavows any connection with these subjects, who are also victims of a malfunctioning British bureaucracy like herself.

shota ogawa

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