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    why i don't like Japan's repatriation for nikkeijin

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    dekassegui

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    why i don't like Japan's repatriation for nikkeijin

    Mensagem  dekassegui em Sex Out 02, 2009 9:03 am

    nao sei se voces ja tiveram o prazer de ler essa maravilhosa explanacao,sobre a ajuda de retorno oferecida pelo governo japones escrita por MATT DIOGUARDI do blog AnarchyJapan.com
    muitas "personalidades"da midia brasileira,daqui e de la(Brasil),deveriam aprender com ele a maneira de como fazer uma analise menos superficial do que se tem visto e lido por ai,especialmente sobre assuntos polemicos como esse.afinal de contas, nao se trata da "balada que esta bombando no momento ou da eleicao da miss "nao sei o que" do ano!um pouco longo,mas para mim,valeu cada paragrafo!
    Mishima,me desculpe se nao forem permitidos textos em outras linguas,como nao li nada a respeito tomei a liberdade de posta-lo,me informe se houverem objecoes a respeito.espero que gostem!o blog tb e otimo!

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    Why I don't like Japan's repatriation plan for the nikkeijin
    August 11, 2009 by mattI want to comment further on what some have called the "repatriation bribe" which has been offered to nikkeijin from Latin America. While some people are very familiar with this issue, some might not be, so I want to try and write a little bit of background myself first. I'm going to do this question and answer style. If you are already familiar with this issue you can just skip this part.

    Who are the nikkeijin?

    Nikkeijin literally means Japanese-lineage-person. It's a term that is mostly applied to those ancestors of Japanese who have gone overseas to live, mostly in North and South America. The term is especially used towards those Japanese ancestors who have returned to Japan via a special-long-term resident visa. Most nikkeijin now living in Japan are from Brazil, though some are some from Peru, China, and other countries as well.


    Why are there so many Latin American nikkeijin living in Japan?

    There are currently about 366,000 Latin American nikkeijin living in Japan. Most of them are Brazilians. In the late 1980's Japan was facing an acute labor shortage. The number of undocumented workers coming to Japan was rising at an alarming rate, while at the same time certain parts of the business community were petitioning the government to let in more unskilled labor. The government had been dragging its heels here because they were afraid that a large influx of foreigners would disrupt Japanese society. To a certain extent the prevalent ideology in Japan centers around being Japanese, and there is a certain level of xenophobia among conservative politicans. The idea of letting in foreigners, especially unskilled foreigners, troubled many in the government. Allowing the nikkeijin to come into Japan to work represented a potential way to allow in unskilled workers, but at the same time to keep Japan pure. It was really thought that because nikkeijin had Japanese blood that they would integrate better and faster and that they would be more reliable as workers.


    Are the nikkeijin really unskilled workers?

    Probably the vast majority of nikkeijin are from the middle class. There are even many professionals among them. They came to Japan to work because they could make more money working at unskilled jobs in Japan than they could working working at their profession in Brazil. So, they take a step down on the social ladder when they come to Japan.


    Are the nikkeijin just temporary workers?

    Some probably are. Certainly at first a lot of them were. They came to Japan, saved up a lot of money, and went back home. However, gradually at first, but now more and more so, nikkeijin are settling into their own communities in Japan. There are now many more women and children than there were initially.


    Do nikkeijin fit in Japan?

    That probably depends on who you ask and how you define fit in. In Brazil, most nikkeijin were middle class. In Japan, they're working class and a bit looked down on. They have not at all been absorbed into the community, but have begun forming their own communities. The fact that Brazilians are developing their own communities, complete with grocery stores, churches, schools and so on is no doubt viewed as problematic by government officials. I sincerely doubt any of them actually anticipated Brazilian communities springing up in Japan. Now that they have, I doubt they know what to do. I think the number of Brazilians who don't speak Japanese is well over 50%, that is the majority of them.


    What kind of problems do nikkei have?

    Again, depends on who you ask. A book could be written about this topic. One example of the type of problems being faced is education. The government has done next to nothing in regards to educating the children of nikkeijin. The result is that many Brazilians have taken matters into their own hands and there are now Brazilian schools in Japan. There are also many children who don't go to school. The national government is not happy about this and discusses it a lot, but as I understand it the national government has no clear plan to "fix" things. When Brazilian children do go to Japanese schools, often they just sit there. If they are young enough some of them pick up Japanese. In fact, a lot of nikkeijin children raised in Japan, actually do speak Japanese better than Portuguese. They would actually have trouble adapting if they went back to Brazil.


    What kind of work do nikkei do in Japan?

    They do the worst work there is. It's called 3K work, kitsui (difficult), kitanai (dirty) and kiken (dangerous). Japanese these days do not want to do this work, and often those who do are a bit looked down upon.


    What is the current work situation for most Brazilians and other nikkeijin?

    Japanese industry is supported at its *base* by a vast number of small factories that supply the larger factories with the materials they need. This is one element of Japan's famous just-in-time inventory system. In a mild economic downturn, a large factory might squeeze by without any layoffs, but these small factories will quickly take the brunt of the downturn. In the current downturn which is particularly bad, even large factories are feeling the brunt. The smaller factories are quickly laying off many Brazilians and in some areas unemployment has quickly reached scary proportions. I've seen rates reported at 40% or so in some areas. Here was an article ABC news did on the subject.


    How are the communities responding?

    I'm not entirely sure, and if someone can forward me to a good article, I'd like to read it. I get the impression that local governments, NPO, and even the Brazilian government have been doing quite a lot to try and try help nikkeijin, but are severely limited by budgetary constraints. All the relevant organizations are certainly feeling overwhelmed by the current economic downturn.


    Okay, that ends my overly brief and overly simplified background material for this issue. Now the main issue I really want to discuss a government plan that was put forth last April in order to "assist" the nikkeijin.

    The plan stated that if a nikkeijin had been trying to go home, but lacked the money, the government would help them by giving them ¥300,000 plus ¥200,000 per dependent. However there was a catch, for a period of time defined as toubun no aida (当分の間), the recipient of the "aid" could not return to Japan. What does toubun no aida mean? Well, that was part of the problem, no one really knew. It probably means something like, "for the time being", but many news sources at first reported that the nikkeijin taking the money could not come back at all. This would include both the Asahi Shibun and the Nihon keizai Shinbun, which stated in clear language that those taking the money would not be allowed to return to Japan. In fact, Declan Murphy, a reliable source if ever there was one, noted the following in NBR's Japan forum, "It was stated quite explicitly at the public meetings in Hamamatsu (Honda-ville) that a) they could not return - ever, and b) neither could *any of their children currently in Japan*"

    The foreign press eventually picked up the story and portrayed it as the Japanese government basically paying Brazilians to get out of the country. CNN, The New York Times, the BBC, the Economist, Time Magazine all joined in the criticism. Also the Japanese Brazilian paper, the Nikkey Shimbun was also very critical of the policy.

    After facing heavy foreign criticism, the government altered the policy. While most newspapers reported the new policy as saying there would now only be a three year ban on people taking the money, this is not strictly correct. All that government really did was to say, "in principle the ban will only be in effect for three years, at which time we will carefully review the economic situation and give serious consideration to lifting the ban." If you follow any of the dialogs that took place in the Japanese diet this becomes very clear. Here's one place you might look to see what I am talking about. So despite the supposed revision it is still not clear when or if recipients of the "aid" will be able to return to Japan. There is no guarantee.

    Now the question has arisen in a few place on the Internet about the validity of the criticism leveled upon Japan by the foreign press. Here is one example. Was the foreign press overly critical or did it fail give all the details? Well, I rarely if ever read an article that satisfies me when it comes to politics or Japan. In general, I dislike the mainstream media. However, to the extent that the media's criticism at least gave way to some positive change, I have no real problem with it. Now instead of going through various reports, I want to discuss why I think the repatriation policy is so bad.

    First, was there any hint of racism or at least xenophobia involved in this policy. Well, that's a very difficult claim to make given the vague nature of the claim. However, please keep in mind the comments of Jiro Kawasaki, who played a key role, if not the key role in drafting this legislation. He said, according to the NYT piece, "There won’t be good employment opportunities for a while, so that’s why we’re suggesting that the Nikkei Brazilians go home." -and- “We should stop letting unskilled laborers into Japan. We should make sure that even the three-K jobs are paid well, and that they are filled by Japanese ... I do not think that Japan should ever become a multiethnic society.”

    I mean, what can anyone make of this? Were these misquotes? Were they quotes out of context? Was it a bad translation? The Brazilians should go home because the policy of letting them in has failed? Okay, okay, let's just put this all aside and leave this argument off the table. Who wants to accuse Mr. Kawasaki of racism or even just xenophobia? After all, he is probably a nice man, and the NYT just sort of tricked him into those comments so they could write a more interesting article. So, I'll drop this point.

    But let me list some other reasons for not liking this program.

    1. It's a bad deal. Anyway you cut it, dice it, or splice it this is a horrifically bad deal. Many of the Brazilians have pensions at stake, and they face the possibility of losing them by not being able to return to Japan. But that's not all. The average income in Brazil is far below that of Japan. Once the economy begins to pick up and they want to return, what if they can't. (Okay, maybe in three years they can, but what if they can't? The government is not guaranteeing this.) If you were to do some simple financial calculations based on future income potential including risk analysis, there's no way in the world you'd come out thinking a ¥300,000 payment is in anyway worth it. It'd be better to do just about anything to try and get the money for a plane ticket yourself, so that you could come back to Japan without the restriction. This is such a bad deal that it boggles the mind the government would even offer it. There are only two kinds of people who will take up this deal, the very unwise or the desperate. I imagine given the severity of the downturn, and the longer it continues, some people will inevitably become more and more desperate. So, they'll take up this bad deal. That's pitiful though, because economically speaking, financially speaking, it's a horrible deal for them. (At least until the government actually guarantees they can come back.)

    2. A better alternative was available. If there are truly some nikkeijin who want to go back to their country of origin, but can't, then why not give them a low interest loan? That's exactly what Gifu prefecture was doing. I don't exactly understand the details here, but it sounds like Gifu prefecture was going to lend out money to up to 135 people so that they could return home. What happened? 700 people applied and they were overwhelmed. Okay, but if the national government can afford to just give away ¥300,000 to each nikkeijin who'll take it, then wouldn't it be better just to lend them the money at a low interest rate? Just glancing around the internet I found I could get to Sao Palo for about ¥150,000 (from Nagoya). A considerable savings to the government and perhaps the government might actually get the money lent out returned (with interest). Moreover, if the money was only a loan, there need not be any restriction about coming back into Japan. The only restriction would be that they can't get the loan again. (Oh, dear, but what if they return to Japan and can't work? What will we do with them then? They'll become criminals, they'll live in slums? -- Is that the fear? Of course not, because that would mean the people forming this policy are xenophobic. And we don't want to argue that, do we?)

    3. The policy is discriminatory. Note that there are Okinawans in the same situation as some Brazilians. In a diatribe against anyone who actually dislikes the repartition plan the blogger ampontan mentions via an anonymous reporter, "The same program was not offered to Okinawans who came to the same part of Japan to work and were laid off at the same time for the same reasons. (Okinawa is roughly 800 miles from Nagoya, the hub of the Japanese auto industry, and is only accessible by air or sea from there.)" Indeed, if this is "aid" why not "aid" the Okinawans, as well?

    4. The program is clearly unconstitutional. I have not been able to work out the subtleties of this argument. Legalese is hard enough in English, never mind Japanese. But I do understand the general argument. The Japanese constitution spells out that the assembly shall create specific laws as to who can be and cannot be admitted to Japan. That is the constitution says, you can't just arbitrarily decide, but must follow specific laws determined by the assembly. Well, such laws have been decided upon, and guess what? Based on these laws, there's no way to exclude a person from entering just because he took a government handout. The relevant politicians and bureaucrats are using some kind of minor clause to enforce this rule, but I doubt that they are following the spirit of the law. Hidenori Sakanaka spells out this argument very clearly in an essay he put up on the internet. Also this issue has been addressed in both the upper house (questions and answers) and in the lower house. There has been no direct response in answer to this criticism.

    5. The government is being duplicious. Okay, this is a big claim, and you know what, it could be wrong. I would be happy if someone could correct me here, but for now here is my argument. Many have pointed out that the plan included not just the repatriation program, but many other programs designed to help the Brazilian communities. Here's a good example of that argument. Ampontan, as well, also makes that argument. He lists several things the government is doing, but the only one of real interest is this, "They have budgeted JPY 1.08 billion (about $US 11.355 million) for the current fiscal year to help roughly 5,000 people. [via training in Japanese and job survival skills]" Wow, now that's a lot of money. I mean $11.355 million dollars? Incredible, right? But wait, and I've confirmed this again and again, the program is only for 5,000 people. Okay, so let's work this out. What percentage of the nikkeijin is that? Let's see 366,000 divided by 5000, then multiplied by 100, we get 1.4% . Hm. Well what about the remaining 98.6%? I guess, nothing ... Moving along here, let's take the $11.355 million dollars and calculate how much that is per person being helped. This comes to be about $2,300, roughly. If we translate that back to yen we might something not quite approaching ¥230,000 yen. Okay, so how much is the national government willing to spend to train a nikkeijin, ¥230,000. Okay. Now how much is the national government willing to pay to get rid of them, ¥300,000. Hm. Any lightbulbs going off there. And that's not all, as I've stated the training program has a clear budget restriction. After 5000 people, it's finished. For the life of me, I can't find such a budget restriction for the repatriation program. So how much of a budget does it have? Well theoretically, if we were to take the population of nikkeijin and multiply it by the ¥300,000 we would get a pretty big number. Okay, that would be a bit simple, as their are dependents involved. But you should get the picture by now. The government is willing to spend vastly much more money on the repatriation plan than the plan to help teach nikkeijin Japanese. That should tell you something. It should tell you a lot.

    5. Japan needs the Nikkeijin. There are tons of arguments out there. Lots of socialist calculation about Japan's population problem and pension problem and how low paid immigrants will solve this. Okay, fine. But you know what? I don't want to argue on the basis of various socialist calculations. My guess it is just such calculations that in some way triggered the repatriation program in the first place. These calculations fluctuate a lot, and I don't trust them. I'll just say that Japan is a more exciting place with these Brazilians in it (and Peruvians and so on). They liven things up and make it more interesting. Personally, I just don't want to see them go. And as fortune may have it, most of them won't. The majority of them realize the repatriation deal was a bad one from the beginning. But certainly as far as trust, the national govenrment has taken a huge blow here. The Brazilian community will not soon forget about this. Nor should any visa holder in Japan, period.

    Okay, so those are my five main reasons. I'm sure I've got other reasons, but that should suffice for now. I will say this, I feel sorry for migrant and unskilled workers everywhere. In a freer system they would be able to move about easier and probably find better work. As it is now they're caught between a kind of scylla and charybdis. That is on one side you have the socialist calculators who basically want to know if on net these workers will pay in more or take out more from various socialist programs such as pensions and healthcare. To these types of bureaucrats, admittance is totally dependent on these types of calculations, and these calculations can change quickly depending on current theory. One year the numbers might add up, the next year, they don't. C'est la vie. Shikata ga nai. On the other hand you have conservatives in all nations who are down right xenophobic. They fear these foreign unskilled workers and almost presume they come along with higher crime rates and ghettoes. These days to gain permission to enter a country and work, the unskilled worker is taking it hard from both sides now. Ultimately though, the market being what it is, some find their way in to the labor market. More power to them. (esses foram por minha conta,rs)
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    NIEROZUMIEN

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    Re: why i don't like Japan's repatriation for nikkeijin

    Mensagem  NIEROZUMIEN em Sex Out 02, 2009 7:30 pm

    nao sei se voces ja tiveram o prazer de ler essa maravilhosa explanacao,sobre a ajuda de retorno oferecida pelo governo japones escrita por MATT DIOGUARDI do blog AnarchyJapan.com
    muitas "personalidades"da midia brasileira,daqui e de la(Brasil),deveriam aprender com ele a maneira de como fazer uma analise menos superficial do que se tem visto e lido por ai,especialmente sobre assuntos polemicos como esse.afinal de contas, nao se trata da "balada que esta bombando no momento ou da eleicao da miss "nao sei o que" do ano!um pouco longo,mas para mim,valeu cada paragrafo!


    Bem, acho que vc já disse tudo.
    É a primeira vez que leio uma definição tão clara qto a essa ajuda, é lamentável que não veio de um brasileiro.
    Esse raciocinio é p/ ser o normal, mas aqui parece que o normal não é aceito como normal.
    Aqui "ser racional" é rotulado como frustrado e mal educado que não aceita a cultura, coisa que não tem nada haver c/ outra.
    Não há necessidade de falar a lingua qdo as atitudes são universais, certos entendimentos estão nas ações, no certo e errado,
    coisa que até um surdo conseguiria entender... só olhando.
    Parece que os brasileiros querem dar um de morto!


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    dekassegui

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    Re: why i don't like Japan's repatriation for nikkeijin

    Mensagem  dekassegui em Sab Out 03, 2009 3:21 am

    NIEROZUMIEN escreveu:nao sei se voces ja tiveram o prazer de ler essa maravilhosa explanacao,sobre a ajuda de retorno oferecida pelo governo japones escrita por MATT DIOGUARDI do blog AnarchyJapan.com
    muitas "personalidades"da midia brasileira,daqui e de la(Brasil),deveriam aprender com ele a maneira de como fazer uma analise menos superficial do que se tem visto e lido por ai,especialmente sobre assuntos polemicos como esse.afinal de contas, nao se trata da "balada que esta bombando no momento ou da eleicao da miss "nao sei o que" do ano!um pouco longo,mas para mim,valeu cada paragrafo!


    Bem, acho que vc já disse tudo.
    É a primeira vez que leio uma definição tão clara qto a essa ajuda, é lamentável que não veio de um brasileiro.
    Esse raciocinio é p/ ser o normal, mas aqui parece que o normal não é aceito como normal.
    Aqui "ser racional" é rotulado como frustrado e mal educado que não aceita a cultura, coisa que não tem nada haver c/ outra.
    Não há necessidade de falar a lingua qdo as atitudes são universais, certos entendimentos estão nas ações, no certo e errado,
    coisa que até um surdo conseguiria entender... só olhando.
    Parece que os brasileiros querem dar um de morto!

    agora sao para vc: falou tudo!

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