I have often wondered about the origin of the odious, increasingly intrusive immigration-control regulations in Japan. Whether it be the airport biometric screening and fingerprinting, the fines and detentions for failure to carry passports or alien registration cards even when jogging or taking out the trash, or the myriad seemingly petty, unnecessary invasions of personal privacy that most Japanese citizens would not tolerate, they emanate like gas passed in a rush-hour train. These bills just seem to materialize without public notice, public hearings with private citizen and foreign resident participation, and without a particular identifiable legislator introducing them.
In the April 17 article “DPJ Slams Strict Bills on Foreign Residents,” reference is made to a provision “. . . in which foreigners with a spouse visa move away from their spouses, and thus fail to maintain ‘a normal married life’.” The article goes on to say, “While critics acknowledge that living separately cannot be considered normal married life . . . ” However, “normal married life” in Japan is often characterized by the spouses living apart, in an arrangement called “tanshin funin.” Work may require one spouse to live in another city; elderly parents may necessitate the same. Perfectly happy couples maintain “long distance” marriages and only travel to meet each other on weekends, and suggest that the arrangement keeps their marriage bond “fresh and exciting.” Others choose to live by choice in different apartments in the same building.
Who are these dogmatic, arrogant, hidden bill sponsors who would impose their antiquated, moralistic ethics on us, anyway?
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