• Hirosaki, Aomori


The May 25 reprinting of the Los Angeles Times’ article “Support for women takes care of population” couldn’t have been timelier. The Japanese Diet is debating an immigration bill that would end spouse visas for people doing “tanshin funin” (working at a post without one’s family). Being forced to live apart in order to have two careers is hard enough on a marriage. Losing one of the jobs in a two-career marriage is likely to push it over the edge. Will the Japanese government also punish Japanese couples in tanshin funin relationships?

Instead of punishing international couples who have adjusted to the Japanese culture of tanshin funin, maybe Japan should adopt the Western concept of “spousal hire.”

It is about time that the bureaucrats who run Japan realize that in the 21st century it is normal for both members of a married couple to work. Right now Japan has one of the most family-unfriendly systems in the world, yet bureaucrats don’t seem to understand why the Japanese birthrate is so low. That must be a new definition of “clueless.”

name withheld by request

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