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In response to Hiroaki Inui’s Jan. 14 letter, “Japan too fossilized to change,” I admit there are a lot of things that need to be done to make Japan a better place to live, but if Inui (of Atlanta) is suggesting that America is the answer, he could not be more wrong. I currently live in New York City but am planning to relocate back to Japan this year.

Unlike Inui, I am fed up with sloppy service, the lack of decent infrastructure, mediocre mass transportation, massive corruption in government, high housing costs, even higher taxes, exorbitant prices for education and medical care, tense race relations, and the fact that the United States is heading toward fiscal disaster in the next few years. I am also tired of seeing my tax money being used for endless foreign wars that I believe are draining America dry. College graduates in the U.S. usually are out of work for a year, after which they are lucky to find a temporary job doing anything.

Many of my Japanese friends, including long-term residents with permanent residency and even U.S. citizenship, have already fled back to Japan. Indeed, emigration from the U.S. is now more openly talked about than ever before.

Inui says Japan is too fossilized to change. Did he leave Japan before getting a chance to study Japanese history? Japan has a long history of radical change when the going gets rough. The Japanese have a knack for survival; they will flourish long after the naysayers, both foreign and Japanese, leave.

To be sure, Japan has a mountain of issues. We need more immigration, more effective leadership, a higher birthrate and stronger laws against discrimination, to name a few. But advising Japan’s young people to abandon all hope and leave is in effect telling them to be quitters. My advice is that they become more active in political and civil affairs. And learn to strive for the national good, just as we have in the past.

hidesato sakakibara

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