Regarding the Dec. 22 article “Level playing field for immigrants: responses“: I am not surprised to see that the people who kindly told columnist Debito Arudou to mind his own business and let Japan do as it wishes have given up on Japan and left, will do so soon, or do not even live here. Maybe the ones who really should be minding their own business are those who have given up on their claim to a life here in the first place.

I am not interested in hearing how Japan has long had a fabulous system concerning immigration and how the “Western countries” should learn something from Japan’s example. The Western countries mentioned have long, complex histories of occupation, enslavement and violence in the same nations whose immigrants they now bemoan receiving.

Likewise, Japan has ethnic Chinese and Koreans who live here in a state of permanent limbo, half-assimilated, half-excluded. Japan also has many Southeast Asians who are looking for opportunities in the same nation that once came looking for opportunities in their nations. Like “the West,” Japan has a responsibility toward these individuals and cannot simply ignore them now that it is no longer socially acceptable to exploit them.

The question of civil rights in Japan is real and the question of immigration will soon be as well. Japan cannot simply turn back the clock and expel the foreigners. To avoid future confrontation and hardship for everyone — Japanese and foreigners alike — these issues require serious consideration. Some of us here are not just expatriates or perpetual tourists; some of us are trying our hardest to lead a normal life in the land that we live in and love. If you won’t help, why get in the way?

yonatan owens