“Votes for Foreigners” Whips Up Storm of Xenophobia


A Democratic Party of Japan politician, Yukio Hatoyama, has created a storm of xenophobia after he suggested in a live NicoNico Douga broadcast that permanently resident foreigners should have the right to vote in local elections.

Opponents (including, it seems, the entirety of 2ch and Nico) immediately pounced on this as evidence of high treason and an unhealthy sympathy for the non-Japanese wretches who are apparently the source of so many evils in Japan.

His comment runs as follows:

“Permanently resident foreigners pay taxes, lay down roots, and really try to make it here. They should at least get the right to vote (in regional elections) … Japan doesn’t just belong to the Japanese.”

The response to this suggestion, Nico, 2ch and the Japanese Internet in general are aflame with xenophobic comments denouncing him as a traitor and carpetbagger.

Tens of thousands of comments on Nico and 2ch are almost unanimous in castigating him for even considering granting rights to non-Japanese.

In particular, his “Japan doesn’t just belong to the Japanese” remark has attracted particular scorn, with opponents ignoring its presumably intended meaning of “foreigners are part of Japan too”, in favour of a more sensational interpretation of “Japan belongs to the Koreans”.

The Democrats have been arguing for limited suffrage for permanent residents for some time, usually attracting criticism for so doing, so his comments are not unexpected.

The Democratic party is often criticised for being excessively concerned with the affairs of Zainichi Koreans (which is what is basically meant by “permanent residents” in this case, as they make up the majority of such residents and have frequently secured preferential treatment compared to other groups), and political opponents have wasted no time in denouncing them as traitors and a party of Korean sympathisers over this.

Permanent residence in Japan is very difficult to obtain, usually requiring marriage to a Japanese citizen and a decade or more of residence, although it has been granted en masse to Korean residents (who also have the option of fully becoming Japanese citizens in most cases). It carries no political suffrage of any kind.

Citizenship for foreigners is practically unheard of, and the process is extremely difficult and unappealing to most who were not actually born in Japan. Such citizens do receive full suffrage.

Internationally, most developed countries allow foreigners political representation in some manner, especially at a local level.

It may be generally restricted to citizens, but with relatively straightforward naturalisation (as in the US), or allowed at various levels to any “foreign” residents (as is the case reciprocally throughout the entire EU to other EU citizens).

Even neighbouring South Korea now allows permanent residents to vote, although the numbers who qualify are tiny.

The broader context is of course that Japan’s population growth is stagnant and its society aging, and mass immigration is seen as one of the only ways a collapse in the pension system and a substantial reduction in size of the Japanese economy can be avoided.

Plans for as many as ten million immigrants have been touted (by the rightist LDP), but if Japan is to assimilate such numbers it will need a modern system of attainable citizenship, with political representation, rather than one based on blood and birth, which seemingly keeps immigrants only on sufferance.

As evidenced by this response, most Japanese would rather not deal with such an issue.

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  • There is a reason why Japanese people would be perceived as xenophobic (if not racist), just read the relevant Wikipedia article thoroughly:
    And from here, some 2ch comments reinforce the WP article.

    Majority of the anime isn’t being broadcast at all outside Japan. And the number of the remaining minority depends on which country you’re talking about.

    So indeed, this is about the *only* way to watch the *majority* of anime. A few titles being broadcast are a long way behind of Japan, and some people like Japanese seiyus better. These are good motives for fansubbing.

    I’m pretty certain that if there is an opportunity, a lot of people would love to buy the DVDs and whatnot (I personally do, at least) to support the producers.

    As a personal note, I think the “newly” introduced (when one considers the history of intellectual mankind concept of intellectual property is crap, but I love anime, and I want to support people who make them. In a sense, I see it as a donation.

  • From what I know Brazil and Japan has good relations at the immigration. One of the biggest Japanese colonies exist in Brazil.

    Dual citizenship is common here in Brazil. I hope to continue our good relations despite this wave of xenophobia that Japan has with neighboring countries.

  • It is Chinese and South Korean that they watches.
    There are Chinese and a South Korean in the high rank of the foreigner with a lot of crimes in Japan.
    It is a burglar, and the homicide and the rape permanent resident are South Korea. There are a lot of China.
    I think that being watched is natural.
    It is South Korea and China of dangerous thought to make them participate in politics though it is.
    They have been taught anti-Japan since childhood, and it is excessive.
    「Kill the Japanese. Japan sinks it in the sea. 」Even the people who come to Japan to work say the same thing to these.
    Word that pours “Japan is a bad country” this on the Japanese like the brainwash.
    With this, even if it is possible to dislike it, it might be natural.

    • Uh-huh…….if that is even the case, why the hell would they still be living in Japan, if they hated Japan and it’s population.(Barring all “I don’t fit in!” arguments.) Surely these Japan hating Chinese and Koreans would be glad to be repatriated back to their home coun…Oh wait.

      Point is if they are living there after all this time, paid taxes, lived like a regular citizen, and contribute to society, they obviously give a flying fuck about Japan. I see no legitimate reason why they cannot vote in a meaningless local election.

      Get over your holier than thou ideals and stop basing the whole over the actions of the few.

  • but i still didn't do it says:

    Wait I’m Japanese and live in America (for 15 years) and I don’t have the right to vote.

    I don’t understand how you can agree with this man when your own country doesn’t allow foreigners to vote.

  • How can be Japaneses so much politically retarded ?
    Here in Switzerland resident foreigners have the right to participate in the local political life and there is obviously no problems.

    Japan disappoint me.

    • As the Anonymous Japanese has said, there exists a large number of Korean and Chinese who are potentially Anti-Japanese and living in Japan. Is there a large group of Anti-Swiss race living in Switzerland?

      • Don’t use the word race. That’s stupid. Groups (influenced by its culture) can be against each other, while some individuals of that group may have a differing view. Use groups/ethnicity instead of “race”.

        • I’m sure there’s some Switzerland hating people, just like there are similar people in other countries who hate the country that they’re in, just like there’s some JAPANESE people who live in and hate Japan, probably more of them in Japan than Korean residents in Japan who hate Japan.

          But c’mon, is all this fear of Korean residents in Japan really warranted? They’ve chosen to become Japanese citizens, so they’re part of that country now, and it should be in their best interests to see that the country they live in does well, right? Maybe some of them are even Korea-haters who just want to live peaceful lives in their new country? I hear some of them are even people who escaped from North Korea. ESCAPED. It sounds more like the Japanese liken them to evil spies, brining down the “infidel” world from the inside, lol. There isn’t even that many of them to make much of a difference if they vote.

  • Kinny Riddle says:

    What’s wrong with letting good decent folk like Danny Choo vote?

    2ch may call itself the “biggest forum” in Japan, but it is seriously disproportionately right wing when it comes to no-brainer common sense issues like these.

    Judging from the polls, I really hope the Democratic Party wins the election in September and rub it in their bitter faces. That’ll shut them up from thinking they’re in the majority.

  • hahaha… to not promote immigration in Japan is going to lead to huge problems for them in the future, they wont have nearly enough working class people to provide for the dependents like seniors and kids, in the end, their entire economic system will collapse, then we shall see who doesnt want immigrants to help pay for welfare…

    btw, the Japanese population is DECREASING at an alarming rate, not enough Japanese people want to have kids at all…

    • Also Germany, Russia (all eastern europe in fact), and now even Italia and Spain. Countries like USA, UK, France or Scandinavian countries are better but still weak in this matter actually.
      Birthrate is about to change the world :/, mass starvation or extreme power for populated countries (India in 2050… o.o), this what the future is.

  • LOL @ nicodouga… they’re afraid that their pedophile ways (the majority of nico watchers anyway…) are about to be eroded once you give voting rights to the 1%

    NicoDouga… Not only it’s a a lame attempt to copy youtube, but it’s a business that doesn’t return profits at all.

  • Why the hell SHOULDN’T permanent residents be able to vote? I mean, it’s the country they have chosen to now live in– LEGALLY I might add –why should they not be able to guide local politics?

    Doesn’t make any friggin sense.

  • you have to understand by the Shinto religion the japanese people are a superior and more evolved race. Allowing non japanese citizens to vote would be like Hindis allowing the untouchables to vote.

    When the emperor abolished the cast system he did it by using patriotism saying japanese should not be seperated into classes as they are ALL a higher class and the rest of the world is a slightly lower cast.

    Of course only 30% of japan is still Shinto.


    Try and think things through to their logical conclusion!

    This is a rare situation where it would be dangerously unwise for permanently settled foreigners to vote in their new country.

    Why? Because the MAJORITY of those foreigners are Christians and will use their voting power to warp Japan into a Christian Law state, like almost the entirety of the West.

    Lolicon wouldn’t even stand a remote chance of surviving. The creative infrastructure of the “anime underground” (guro, extreme art, being able to do whatever you want with religious theme in the shows you make, etc.) would be put at risk.

    Gah, I know you people think this is so “unfair”, and at face value YOU’RE COMPLETELY RIGHT, IT IS.

    BUT there is Reverse Evolution to consider.

    The Religiously motivated want nothing more than to breed until you’re a tiny voiceless minority.

    This would speed that process along. Their kids, no doubt, already have voting rights, and get routinely brainwashed in their little church niches, so it’s only a matter of time as things stand already.

    Japan as it stands now is a uniquely logical country, with religion having very little influence at all in its political/legal system.

    It’s an endangered culture.

    I’d compare it to taking a rare endangered animal and throwing it back out into the wild outside of nature preservers, taking it off the endangered species list, and watching the environment that was about to decimate it into a ghost of what it once was, now do so.

    • The majority of Koreans and Filipinos (Philippines) are Christian, and (S) Korea’s christian population is growing rapidly. Give them power and you’ll see a political block that will be a force to be reckoned with…

      It’s about time to fully westernize Japan politically, socially and spiritually.

      Right now Japan is half westernized and that’s due to copying technology from the west.

      • All the koreans I’ve known in my life have a very relaxed view on religion. The only ones who kinda push you a bit more (and push is too strong of a word) are the grandmas, but asides them everyone is like “do whatever you feel is right”. Really, almost nobody cares as long as you’re not a waste of human.

      • Actually, Koreans are widely recognized as one of the most “non-religious” people on Earth (whether is be agnostic or atheist). Non-religious people comprise 46% of South Korea’s population. Christians comprise 29% of the population of South Korea. Buddhists 22%. While North Korea only feigns to have a free religion system. Still, according to their statistics, Christians comprise 1.69% of North Korea’s population.

        Also, as with Brazilians, Filipinos are mostly short-term residents.

        Foreigners in Japan number 1.5 million, which comprises 1.22% of Japan’s population.

        Now, see how many of these have permanent residency, and are conservative Christians.

        See how many of these permanent resident conservative Christians know of “lolicon”/other things you would rather have “free of religious influence”.

        Do the math.

        Now, with Japan’s economy sinking, and with the rise of China and a unified, strong (economically) Korea in the future, (google BRIMCK) Japan’s presence and foreign immigration will greatly decrease.

        You could think “but hey, what if Japan start its 10 million immigrants plan, in order to sustain its economy?”. However, I highly doubt they would choose Christians/Muslims. They are more likely to incentivate other nations, probably Buddhist/non-religious. Most of these foreign immigration plans are private investments (and short term ones), not State-sponsored ones. Private ones tend to choose the cheapest group possible, and only to fulfill a specific need within a company, and not a long-term problem of a nation. When they are state sponsored, they tend to be biased (take Brazil, for example, most of the immigrants which came here were Europeans, since the State favored it over Asians/Africans). It’s not difficult to remember when USA had banned non-north European immigration for some time. Brazil also banned all non-Portuguese immigration for some time.

        Anyway, I’m not directly adressing you, anonymous, but rather the whole situation. Forgive me for any oddity of speech and grammar, since I’m not a native speaker.

  • I don’t see any reason to be distressed over this (both what was said and what the reaction was). If are you living there and contributing to society it is only fair that what you say is heard.

    I think that the reaction is pretty dismissable as the responses on 2ch and nicodouga are about equal to 4chan and youtube.

    I mean, really, people believe Obama is a “dirty Muslim that hates America.”

    It is true that Japan is xenophobic but I doubt that 2ch and NicDouga are completely representative of the nation’s sentiment.

    • Just one thing

      youtube spawns a meme every 6 months.

      nicodouga has the country’s most powerful politician talking with the public… every 2 months

      4chan rallies against scientology.

      A random discussion board in 2ch sends two books into the very top of the bestsellers list.

      Japan’s PM uses 2ch on a regular basis.

      So no, 2ch really is a huge indicator of the nation’s opinions. It’s like google in the sense that just about everything is there, except 2ch is a BBS

  • This is BULLSHIT!

    Mr Hatomaya’s suggestion is like giving those 12 million illegal freeloading mexicans in the USA an amnesty! It will never happen in our watch!

    The moment Obama gives ’em amnesty expect him to be killed. Real Americans can no longer tolerate Obama’s bullshit anymore.

  • Sad…
    I admire Japan for several reasons, but xenophobia is still one of those ugly things Japan can’t seem to shake off.

    Worst part is that it seems to be a growing movement, specially with the crisis.

    And unfortunately, it isn’t something exclusive to Japan.

    And I know that some foreigners in Japan does awful things, but it’s only a small part. And the midia is always eager to put the blame of some criminals generalizing it with the “gaijin” stamp.

    Doing so, they distort the perception of japanese people that ends up resulting in reactions like these.

    It’s racism and discrimination.
    I for one applaud Hatoyama’s effort to bring this discussion up… because it’s better to bring the subject to light, even if it is to provoke such reactions, than to keep things in shadows, like it has been for a long long time.

  • I am a xenophob too.. I would sh*t bricks if I saw a xenomorph…

    But seriously, isolationism made Japan what is it now, with its bad and good sides. If people in Japan talked in perfect Harvard english, eat tacos and french fries,drive SUV’s etc. etc. there would be nothing interesting in Japan. It’s so interesting because they developed* a distinct culture while being isolated. Because you could walk safely at night through city without worrying of being raped/assaulted/robed like in most parts of the world.

    *or copied from China and Korea and then change it with time to something new

    • Yes because they never got influenced by western and american culture in general and still go around wearing kimonos and getas and doing all sorts of japanese-only stuff.

      You don’t get it, Japan is what it is today because it TOOK cultural tidbits from all over the world and changed them into something unique with time, isolation my butt. You think those maids from the maid cafes originated in Japan? really? and I’m not talking about moe!maids, just the clothes at least.

  • This is so 1970. Shouldn’t some countries get in with the flow? There won’t be one country with “purebred” anywhere anyways, so what does it matter whether it’s full of foreigners or natives? 2ch and Nico will regret it over time. They’ll die out.

  • At times like these I feel like going “lol, xenophobic idiots”.
    But then I remember the huge shitstorm a proposal exactly like this one has whipped up in the past in my country (Italy). We even had a *minister* say “niggers shouldn’t be allowed to vote”.
    Sometimes I wonder how so-called “civilized” countries can be so idiotic.

  • Now that is interesting, I just hope no one put a bullet in his head. I guess he doesn’t study culture… not that I have anything against gaijin since I’m one but that statement is indeed risky.

  • This is sad, though the xenophobic outrage was both to be expected and partially understandable. I mean, what would Americans say if Obama proposed that all the Mexican, Russian, Iranian, Korean, Japanese, Iraqi, Afghan etc. immigrants who’ve lived in the US long enough should be given the vote without first taking on American citizenship?

        • Actually, my father is in a similar situation. He’s been living in Germany for close to 40 years, paying his taxes, supporting the economy by working for a German company, having married a German lady in the early 1980s and spending the bulk of his disposable income in Germany – but does he get to vote in even the most local of elections? Hell no. He’d have to be an EU citizen to do so.

        • Regardless, their reaction was to the thought of foreigners voting, not a reaction of non-citizens voting (nicotards and 2chnners don’t think like that).

          Still, I think it would be fair. Permanent residency means what it implies.

          I mean, what would YOU say if you lived in Norway for a lot of years, married a Norwegian lady, spoke Norwegian (bokmal), paid taxes, were granted permanent citizenship, and a Norwegian politician sought to allow /permanent/ residents to vote? To allow you to vote. Sounds perfectly fair, doesn’t it?

  • Strange, their xenophobia sounds very much familiar to the way the neo-conservative South hillbilly rednecks sound like.

    Which makes me wonder, considering these articles, are the JP “Democrats” like our Democrats? Are the JP conservatives like our conservatives? Or are they different?

  • I love Japan’s culture, but I hate their xenophobia.

    They’re so elitist, and look horrified at any non-Japanese person who speaks Japanese there.


  • From outsider point of view – I wana voite too.
    From japan point of view – fuck the foreigners, stealing out jobs and money. With the declining birth rate, there will be too many halfs >_<

    • “From Japan’s point of view – fuck the foreigners, stealing our jobs and money. With the declining birth rate, there will be too many halves >_<” fixed.

      Lol just like what the BNP and Minutemen say…oh wait, that is what they say XD

      • Where do they say “fuck the foreigners”? Last I recalled, the Minutemen was against illegal immigration. There is a difference between being a legal (invited) immigrant, and an illegal (uninvited) immigrant.

        • Infernal: The two guys on the video appears to have taken a few too many drinks. However, the camera guy seemed to needlessly exacerbate things as well. Sensationalism anyone?

          Anonymous: It is an annoyance. Unfortunately it is becoming a serious enough problem. The U.S. can only allow a certain number of immigrants per country per year. Plus the sheer number of applicants makes the process lengthily. (Few years.. not ten. :-))

          Artefact: $500,000 if the intent is into investing or purchasing a business in the U.S. How about being educated and with a job? Again the U.S. can only let in a certain number of people at a time.

        • Illegal immigrants really are the least of America’s problems, anti immigration tards drive me nuts. ‘Just go back for two to ten years while we process your paper work’ Yeah. Cos it’s not like a kid brought here when he was six has a fucking life here or anything.

          Heartless dicks. Not at you, I’m just irked by it in general.

  • Not too surprised since Japan still hold some degree of xenophobia, not all but some. Nico and 2ch I’m not so surprised since people there moan about everything almost lol (especially 2ch). Which then makes me wonder, which generation is more xenophobic. The old traditional guys or the younger casual guys. From what I heard it’s usually the old dudes, understandable, but I wouldn’t think the older crowd would be the majority of 2ch and Nico. However I’ve been told the Rightist also use such sites to stir up racism and ilk (not like Youtube doesn’t have it’s fair share, and by Gods does it have it’s fair share). I hope this is also not the voice of the majority outside the net though.

    • AmericanOtaku83 says:

      Except most Japanese women won’t marry an infidel like you or me. Especially American men. We’re the worst. As much as I’d like a Japanese girlfriend, it’s VERY unlikely. Unless you have money AND are good looking like Tom Brady or James Franco.

      • In my experience, while I was living in Japan for a year due to studies, then our class didn’t really have a lack of popularity issue, more the opposite.
        If fact, us beeing foreigners seemed to be enough of a reason.
        Sure the older generation, that beeing parents, frawned upon it, but it sure didn’t look that way from the reactions we recieved from the younger generation:P But then again, I’m not American…so I can’t speak for them. Everyone thought we were Americans though…it’s like no other country exist in the west:P

      • Hah, you know NOTHING. All the guys on our study abroad program have been rolling in chicks since about the moment we got here. Except for the ugly ones, obviously. It’s actually harder for us girls to date Japanese guys… not impossible, though.

        • And I am sure your father wakes up shuddering every night in a cold sweat, remembering the biggest mistake of his life.

          Proposing to your mother. Eventually, he will resort to alcohol to drown his sorrows, and his dried up tusk of a liver will sap the last ounces of strength he has, withering away until his wife gains whatever life insurance he has.

        • so you’ve obviously given up all hope on life, live off a few burst of short term hedonism for your happiness, and have nothing but your high horsed cynicism? wow, sucks to be you.

          My parents weren’t alone at 65, neither will I be.

        • “yeah.. until you are 65 years old.. messed up family.. all alone..”

          Newsflash, you’ll be all alone anyway. The only difference is that if you don’t get married you won’t have an ex-wife to support.

        • Melancholymomo says:

          ‘Absolutely nothing, I would much rather take the multiple one night stands, marriage can eat a dick. ‘

          yeah.. until you are 65 years old.. messed up family.. all alone.. sitting in your chair watching TV and drinking beer.. hugging your maid gynoid to sleep… ‘im so ronery..’

          yea marriage can eat a dick..

        • Absolutely nothing, I would much rather take the multiple one night stands, marriage can eat a dick.

          The entire point was that the second guy is right. Japanese women rarely do marry out of their race, although there are a couple of mavericks out there who marry a Korean or Chinese, since they totally don’t look the same and shit.

        • Marriage =/= Going out. Japanese women will date Americans in droves, certainly, but marrying them is an entirely different story. We’re like an exotic commodity, fun for a quick stint, but the lifelong commitment thing is just not going to fucking work for them.

  • Screw this. The times of importing manga/anime directly from Japan is over with. If they don’t want me there, then I’m sure as hell not going to help their already imploding economy.

    Viva BitTorrent!

  • Captain Snow says:

    “First they’ll ask for votes, then they’ll kill our women and children from their they plot world domination using OUR shores as a foot hold. Those baka gaijins must be stopped”

    • アノニモウス says:

      So, you are suggesting to import more Otakus? I fail to see how this is solving anything.

      I mean, who else is going to want to live in Japan anyway? Sure, you have the odd samurai/ninja fanboy but there can be only so much of them.
      The rest of the (presumably) intelligent world would rather stay the f*** off of that hell hole that is Japan.

      I’m not counting Koreans, since they are pretty much the same thing. Japanese, Korean, Chinese… they are all yellow and like dragons. What’s the difference anyway?

      Oh yeah, in before that guy who I refuse to name somehow blames female emancipation for the Japanese population problems.

      • The difference is made by Japanese, unfortunately.

        I agree it’s all the same thing; chinese, korean, japanese… variations of the same crap and each of them have their head stuck up their arse thinking they’re better than the other.

        • Even if they have a history of negative encounters with foreigners (how many countries haven’t?), why is it so hard for them to catch up with the rest of the world and realize foreigners don’t bite? Or realize that there are a lot of foreign countries that are more open to foreigners that haven’t lost their culture yet? And c’mon, drunk Scotts? Other countries have suffered at the hands of stuff like British imperialism and have still managed to open up to the world after that. Their history doesn’t justify their xenophobia at all.

        • アノニモウス says:

          You are taking my comment too seriously, yaku. I’ve long since given up on being serious on “teh internets”.

          There are greater differences between the races than political correctness would allow us to admit when not behind the mask of Anonymous. For example, scientists have long since proved, that blacks (ok, Afro-Americans) are far more athletic than the rest of humanity. This comes as a result of the much more dangerous environment to which they adapted. In a sense, blacks are the more “superior” part of humanity, but you don’t hear that in school do you?

          The Japanese xenophobia on the other hand is by no means genetic – it’s a cultural phenomenon that built up with hundreds of years of near-isolation and culminated when their first clash with the western civilization was drunk Scots. Their society has seen little positive things from the rest of the world, so in a way their fears are not baseless. Granted, it’s much too late to reject the 外人 influence. Their culture is dying simply because western culture is far more viral in nature. So yeah, they should have kept the barbarians out when they had the chance. Sucks to be you, yellow boys.

          We humans tend to be in the “reject by default” state. Everything we don’t approve is automatically wrong until it becomes inconvenient to have such a stance. We are all rebellious teenagers at heart, even if you consider yourself a “responsible adult”. Instincts are not something you can ever be rid of.

          The Japanese are just clinging to their disappearing culture. It’s just like how the French are trying to preserve their language from the overwhelming English influence. In the end, the world will be full of fat McDonald’s eating English speaking brain dead Americans who don’t know the name of their president. That or Fallout style Super-Mutants. Which ironically look pretty much the same.

          It would take few decades for our cultural differences to disappear, but as long as freedom of speech exists, western influence is going to keep spreading like wildfire. Look no further than the Japanese cellphone addicted ko-gal youth if you want proof.

        • Excuse me but I’m asian and for me all stuck up “races” are the same. Asian, white people, black people, brown people… They all like to think their own home (in this case country) is the best and the rest is inferior, but we’re all humans and deserve the same respect.

  • Melancholymomo says:

    Guys just remember that the storm of ‘xenophobia’ and blah blah.. came from 2ch and Nico.. not exactly the best people to go to, to get views on politics, especially if the topic on question is about foreigners.

    Although I am not sure that all of the Japanese populace would welcome this idea, after all Japan is meant to be one of the worlds most nationalisitic countries (no proof..), I doubt the majority would create such a fuss..

  • Doesn’t really matter to me, unlike other weeaboo’s, I’m sure as shit not living in Japan anytime soon. If they keep with the stigma that foreigners are second class citizen’s, it will just spell Japan’s own ruin, since their people are seemingly totally incapable of producing children in this current era.

    • I agree. While I want to go for a Japanese holiday I would never want to live there. Comes across as way too stressful with an insane number of small rules and required actions.
      In the UK, while our government is shit, there is a relaxed attitude overall with a pretty simple (drinking) culture 🙂

      • Tokyo is by far a lot more peaceful than Paris, lot of parks and relaxing places. Dunno about UK however.

        There isn’t so much rules, and I can ensure you they share the drinking culture. The number of drunk japanese people in the subway at midnight is amazing.

        • When I was around a preteen, I wanted nothing more than to go to Japan. Now, I barely even want to visit after the things I’ve heard. To think, I even wanted to take up work over there, maybe start a family. I’m not even much of an otaku, I’m not really obsessed with anything Japanese. They have a beautiful culture, though. In the end, it’s not worth the hell I’ll probably go through if I decide to go there. I really don’t know how they can possibly hope to get 10 million foreigners into their population with how the country is now. I’ve heard no one there even bothers looking beyond their own culture to learn about the rest of the world outside of their shores.

  • I think Yukio Hatoyama has the right fucking idea. America doesn’t belong to just Americans, and when it really comes down to it, you can do anything you want in America. More power to this guy; I find it unfortunate that the Japanese public at large has such bigotry and xenophobia in their hearts. It’s weird, to me.

  • i am surprised and not suprised by the reaction of japanese netizen, but i wonder if the general population also have the same thought.

    if everyone has the same thought, i wonder why such thinking.

  • minakichan says:

    Sounds like what uber-conservatives in the US would say at the prospect of letting America’s permanent residents suffrage.

    Eh. I say no taxation without representation. Generally a permanent resident paying his or her taxes helps out the government a bit more than a citizen who evades them.

    • chickenwing says:

      Second paragraph makes perfect sense! Agreed! The first, not so much.

      The thing is, it’s fully possible for an immigrant in the US to gain citizenship, and with citizenship come taxes and the right to vote in pretty much any election.

      The immigrants, or “residents” us conservatives want to deny voting to are the ILLEGAL ones who do NOT pay taxes.

      In Japan, it is already difficult enough for an immigrant to become a citizen, which brings with it taxes. And it’s effectively impossible for said tax paying immigrant to be able to vote.

      • アノニモウス says:

        Money is the unit for power in physics. Don’t you know that?

        The formula for calculating power is

        P = k * L^(C/10) / n – z
        Power (P) equals the amount of lawyers (L) involved on the power of 1/10th of the corporations (C) supporting you, divided by the population size (n) minus the number of political zombies.
        k is a constant known as the “korruption constant” and is not constant, since it grows with time. Hey, nobody said political theory is simpler than the universe!

        Let’s say, you had 50 corporations and 1000 lawyers. On an average population of 10^7 (that’s 10 million ppl), half of them being zombies (10^6 * 5), your total political power is:

        P = (10^3)^5 / 10^7 – 10^6 * 5
        P = 10^15 / 10^6 * 5
        P = 10^9 * 5
        P = 5,000,000,000$

        The bottom line is: we need more lawyers.

  • japan is by far not the only country with a large number of bonehead citizens. at least, other countries have a handful of non-politicians who actively participate in the democratic process (at least as far as corrupt goverments let them) and do a little more than curse foreigners for their “bad” influence on their precious spot on the globe.
    sorry to speak bad about a topic where i obviously possess only very one-sided information – but i really wonder why.

    how about requiring every citizen by law to hold a political function for a year or so, while also eliminating the right stay in office for longer than this period? to hell with election campaigns, corruption, nepotism and wasting precious resources on things not worth a dime. and it i’m pretty sure it’d open the eyes of a few idiots who don’t know how hard it is to run a country.

  • i really dont see why many japanese have a problem with this.. people with an academic degree (people any state actually wants as immigrants) usually have a political view and want to have at least some sort of influence at least in the region theyre living in.

    theres nothing to fear, ask any country in the EU or the US. On the contrary i think its the only way to survive in our societies that are doomed to be extinct if theres nothing done.

  • Aren’t they violating the international code of human rights by not allowing people to become Japanese citizens, and by forcing people who were born in Japan (and speak only Japanese) to register as foreigners and carry a registration card everywhere they go?

    If Japan can’t man up and give them citizenship, at least they can allow them to vote.

  • Japanese men blinded by some sort of pride much?
    They’re thinking way too highly of themselves for such a reaction, they act as if he’s asking for the end of the world.

    I’m not against the right to vote for foreigners (being actual RESIDENTS), heck it’s the case in Europe and the US (we’re talking about regional votes, not presidental elections mind you, afaik being a resident is enough in most of these places); Nico/2ch users’ reaction are pretty immature (although I’m pretty much saying that without anything to proove it besides how the replies slighty-quoted in the argument, so I’m not completely for what I just said). Sure, I’m not fully aware of the South Korea/Japan situation, but I still believe this is slightly exagerated, as not even half the South Koreans are as they make them seem.

    I don’t think there is a problem in how he worded his sentence, at least in this English translation (it could be different in Japanese, but I doubt it since he is a politician, and hopefully not a stupid one at that).

    I of course believe that not every Japanese citizen is against it, at least I REALLY hope that they’re not.

      • North Koreans? Really? Last time I checked, no citizens of North Korea can leave the country unless they are some sort of foreign diplomats, much less take residence in another country…

        • It’s not the pride or the xenophobia, it’s the fact that, well, for example most Yakuza nowadays consist mainly of people of Korean descent, and the fact that Koreans in general have an unusually negative view of Japan, evidenced in the fact that South Koreans have vehemently opposed even a mention of Japan modernizing Korea in school textbooks, a change suggested by some historians there. (And the recent attack on Sankaku)

          Combine this with the fact that most commercials for the evening news are by Pachinko stores (believe me they are), of which over 90% are run by Koreans, thus influencing the news – this was appalingly proven around ten years ago, when all the major TV networks decided to bash the ruling party for every single reason they can think of. This is why 2channelers despise Japanese TV, because they are so biased and sensationalist. Imagine a pro-Korea FOX news being on every channel…. yeah. Remember the abrupt resignation of a minister here, acting like a drunk? The Japanese media bashed and bashed based on the fact that a reporter on MSNBC laughed during the news (“this is on international news, and Japan is being laughed at!”). Ugh.
          Also you need to take into account the fact that the leader of the LDP has Korean relatives.

          In short: The Japanese are as smart as you. We aren’t idiots or simply xenophobic. We are genuinely angry at the media and the party it protects. And many of us have personal Korean friends. If you thought otherwise, then you sir, are a fag.

      • Yes a beautiful world it is, when people who pay taxes to A GOVERNMENT cannot participate or have any say in THAT SAID GOVERNMENT.

        Makes perfect sense AMIRITE?

        Seriously though NO VOTE = NO TAXES.

        • without contact and immigration a culture stagnates.
          intolerance and prejudice just breeds more of the same and if japan is worried about unruly foreigners, then it should approach them and help integrate them, rather than be a buch of racists.
          also most problems with immigration come from the government treating the immigrants as second-class citizens, not fromimmigrants being naturally criminal.

        • Anonymous Japanese says:

          Hi, Artefact. I’m sorry for not addressing the issue of an aging society.

          I admit that immigration policy would be a viable solution to the problem in a certain extent. An influx of immigrants would provide labor force, raise total fertility rate, rejuvenate the economy, and maintain the national pension system if successful.

          However, there are several pertinent issues to be addressed before rushing immigration policy into orbit.

          1. Complex social welfare systems (which even native Japanese get confused), lack of the second language education system and national Employment Security Office for immigrants, and other insufficient management system required for mass immigration.

          2. The need to strengthen penalties.

          3. Most importantly, the potential risk of mass immigration policy. Has European-style mass immigration policy been really successful? How about Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, and Netherlands? I am not 100% sure, but all of them experienced the failure of “mass immigration” policy and now moving toward “selective immigration” policy.
          (Reference: “Immigration and the Dutch Economy” http://ideas.repec.org/p/cpb/spcial/47.html)

          I don’t think mass immigration policy is something absolutely vital for an aging society and the only way Japan must resort to.
          To me it seems like there would be other alternative solutions such as selective immigration policy, tax increase, countermeasures to the low birthrate, extension of the mandatory retirement age, etc.

        • You do not address the issue of Japan’s shrinking population and inability to support its retirees with the current demographic structure.

          If Japan wants to avoid either pushing its huge elderly population into penury (politically impossible as these people are ardent voters) or increasing taxes on the working population to levels which will devastate the economy, it will have to embrace mass immigration.

          If it were to increase its immigrant population to European style levels (10%), it would be politically impossible to withhold the vote and easy citizenship from the immigrants without causing massive unrest amongst them. A large and disenfranchised foreign population with no prospects of assimilation would be a disaster for Japan…

        • Anonymous Japanese says:

          7. “Zainichi” problems:
          I have no intention to over-generalize zainichi population; they would consist of people of various classes and ideology. There would be substantial number of zainichi Koreans who somehow like Japan and are happy to have their peaceful life in Japan.

          However, there are also concerns about their high crime rate, ties with Yakuza and illegal gambling industry, tax evasion, welfare cheat, etc.
          In fact, many zainichi Koreans (as well as South & North Koreans) express long-standing hostility toward Japan, refuse to sing Japanese national anthem, and do not pay any respect to Japanese national flag. They continue to remain as Koreans over several generations in spite of their freedom to gain Japanese citizenship.

          Considering these, is it really safe to give them suffrage even at local level?

        • Anonymous Japanese says:

          6. “Foreigners in question”
          Specifically speaking, the word “foreigner” here would refer to Koreans and Chinese because these nationalities will comprise the major part of immigrants if Japan enforces drastic immigration policy.

          For many reasons, these Korean and Chinese generally have negative feeling toward Japan, and vice versa.
          Then, seriously, do you really welcome and want to give suffrage to immigrants from neighbor countries showing hostility?

          There just seem to be more risk than benefit.

          High crime rates of Koreans and Chinese should also be concerned as Artifact mentioned above. In my hometown where famous hot-spring allure many foreigners throughout years, Koreans and Chinese are often a source of concern: fare-dodging taxi, shoplifting in supermarkets, carrying food and drinks into restaurants and pubs, washing cloths and spitting out phlegm in hot-springs, stealing supplies and goods such as towels, bathrobes, and even furniture at hotels.

        • Anonymous Japanese says:

          5. “Mr. Hatoyama’s unreasonable argument”

          Mr. Hatoyama does not provide any reasonable bases to his argument. What he says is simply put as follows:
          1) Because Japanese is not self-confident.
          2) Since South Korea has already introduced foreign suffrage in regional basis.
          3) Because Japan does not just belong to the Japanese (he literally says so).
          Does it make sense to you?

        • Anonymous Japanese says:

          4. “It’s just REGIONAL suffrage” argument stands on very narrow perspective.
          Local and national governments are closely tied and virtually inseparable. How about establishment of nuclear power plant or military bases? These are important issues not only to regional people but also to Japan as the whole.

        • Anonymous Japanese says:

          3. “THEY PAY TAX” argument also lacks valid basis.
          With this logic, Japanese who do not pay tax will also lose suffrage.
          Indeed, anyone who pay tax are definitely eligible for social security and administrative service such as use of infrastructure (roads, water, sewage, waste disposal, etc).
          However, suffrage is completely irrelevant with taxation, and I believe that there is no such country where people would be exempt from the obligation to pay tax if they didn’t have suffrage.

        • Anonymous Japanese says:

          2.“Foreign Suffrage”
          Japan: give citizenship to foreign residents who have lived in Japan for more than 5 years and are able to speak Japanese as good as the third-grade-students level. Not to mention that those with citizenship gain full suffrage at local and national levels.

          EU: EU member nations grant the regional suffrage to “foreign” residents coming from other EU member nations. France and Germany do not grant their regional suffrage to the foreigners of non-EU nationality, I believe.

          US: generally restricted to citizens, as artifact mentioned.

        • Anonymous Japanese says:

          Hi to all, let me post an argument as a Japanese.

          1.“False Comparison”
          It is problematic to compare an ethnically-homogeneous nation such as Japan with USA or nations in EU which have immigrant or multi-ethnic background throughout history.

          As for comparison with Korea, foreign suffrage in Korea is given to only a fraction of “high income” taxpayers (ex: 51 Japanese as of 2006).
          Granting foreign suffrage to 600,000 zainichi-Koreans in Japan is completely different issue and should not be discussed in the same context.

          In the first place, foreign suffrage is not something founded on the reciprocity principle such as Free Trade Agreement. It is rather similar to visa and should not be granted to anyone but people of trustworthy countries.

        • ManaYagami says:

          You pay taxes of what you eat, where you live and all the kinds of stuff that you have to buy even if you are unemployed, so what the fuck are you talking about? Oh, right! Another Anon living on his parents’ basement.

        • I think tax is nothing to do with the right to vote. I believe you have right to vote in your country even if you can’t pay taxes because you have no income. And you have to pay taxes for other country if you make money in there.

          Please tell me your opinions. I would like to know you guys really think “No Vote, No Taxes”.