Regarding “Japan enacts law to prevent abuse of foreign trainees” in the No. 18 edition, having watched Donald Trump’s offenses against Mexican and Muslim immigrants in the U.S. during the presidential campaign, I started thinking about how Japanese society will be in the next couple of decades from today. This article talks about “an increase in the number of foreigners working as nursing caregivers in Japan,” and it is necessary because of the enormously growing population of the elderly and declining birthrate in our society.
How can we really prevent human rights abuses in society while we absorb many foreign immigrants? There is no doubt that we have discrimination in our society, not only against foreign workers, but also among children (e.g. the Fukushima boy in Yokohama) or even adults (e.g. an Osaka police officer yelling an ethnic slur at a protester in Okinawa or bullying and harassment of patients with special needs by their caregivers).
The article refers to Vietnamese workers who suffered violence from Japanese employees and I think this represents just the tip of the iceberg. I am a Japanese citizen and an immigrant in U.S. society as I am married to an American. I would never want any foreigner in Japan to experience what I have experienced being a minority in U.S. society.
My suggestion is that the government should offer Japanese employers training in which they experience being a minority, such as Jane Elliott’s “Blue eyes-Brown eyes” exercise. A good workplace environment helps improve efficiency, while bullying at work doesn’t provide anything but bad publicity. And what would really be the matter if Japan becomes racially diversified? Each of us has only a limited time in life, and after you are done with it do you wish to see from heaven your beloved country being divided or working together?
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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