Regarding the article “Tohoku turns to foreign workers,” growing up in the United Kingdom in the postwar boom years of the 1950s and ’60s, we saw an enormous influx of immigrants, mainly Indian, Pakistani and West Indian, who had come to Britain looking for a better life.
They were happy to do even the most unskilled and poorly paid jobs, which, as the economy improved, native-born Brits were becoming less willing to do. These people worked hard and made their homes in the U.K., and raised their families there. Now, many years later, the British government is inventing flimsy and spurious excuses to kick them out and deport them back to a place which, after all these years abroad, they can no longer consider home.
In more recent years, thousands of people from European Union countries have come to the U.K., and the hotel and hospitality sectors and farming could hardly survive without them. However, I personally believe that the recent majority vote for Brexit at least partially reflects British people’s unwillingness to accept more foreign immigrants and a desire to keep them out as much as possible.
Although the motivation for inviting non-Japanese to work in Japan may be different from the British experience, partly at least being due to the aging population here, I mention all of this to point out that the Japanese government, and Japanese businessmen, too, will need extremely careful planning and discussion, and consideration of the potential problems, that might arise when foreigners come here to work.
This is especially true since, in my experience, most Japanese have very little genuine knowledge of other countries and cultures, and little chance to actually get to know non-Japanese, even with the massive recent increase in the numbers of foreign tourists.
There has already been talk of a possible increase in crimes committed by non-Japanese, so let us hope that the Japanese don’t end up adopting President Donald Trump’s racist creed that most Mexicans attempting to enter the U.S. are criminals, rapists, murderers and drug dealers.
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.