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things you cannot get used to
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Alex_Ander



Joined: 13 Sep 2012
Posts: 57
Location: The fourth dimension.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="rxk22"][quote="Rooster_2006"][quote="rxk22"][quote="Rooster_2006"]
rxk22 wrote:
Rooster_2006 wrote:


I agree that it's generally lying. However, I've also known very honest, sincere people who claim their listening comprehension stats are way higher than they can possibly be. One of my neighbors from America springs to mind. I've known this guy for almost 20 years. I don't think I've ever caught him in a lie. He's a devout Christian and a really honest guy. But he makes claims about what he can understand in Japanese that I simply do not believe.

So either he's lying (highly out of character), or he's "hearing things" (his mind is inserting meanings that may not actually be there).

I think a lot of people (even plenty of non-schizophrenics) "hear things" when they listen to Japanese that aren't really there. Or hear one word in the sentence, see a facial expression, and see a context clue, and claim to have "understood" the sentence when what they're really doing is making an educated guess, at best.


Got me man. I guess we tend to believe that we are better than we really are. it is a real phenomenon, but I forget what it is called. Maybe we all suffer from that, much more so than we think?


I wouldn't call it suffering. I'd call it being positive. For, if we believed that we were worse than we really are, where would that get us?
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ZennoSaji



Joined: 02 Feb 2010
Posts: 67
Location: Mito, JP in 3, 2, 1...

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rxk22 wrote:
Got me man. I guess we tend to believe that we are better than we really are. it is a real phenomenon, but I forget what it is called. Maybe we all suffer from that, much more so than we think?

Narcissism.
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steki47



Joined: 20 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:58 am    Post subject: Re: things you cannot get used to Reply with quote

Cool Teacher wrote:
Actually some of the apologist answers are maybe right.


Bit OT here, but isn't there a difference between being an apologist and explaining that there is a difference between Japanese culture and the general Western culture?

Or, is there something between being an Uncle Tom gaijin and a Japan-basher?
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Cool Teacher



Joined: 18 May 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:02 pm    Post subject: Re: things you cannot get used to Reply with quote

steki47 wrote:
Cool Teacher wrote:
Actually some of the apologist answers are maybe right.


Bit OT here, but isn't there a difference between being an apologist and explaining that there is a difference between Japanese culture and the general Western culture?

Or, is there something between being an Uncle Tom gaijin and a Japan-basher?


Well I am just using the word being usd so I don't say "apologist" usually I just mean that if someone says, "Apologust: Japan doesn't want the culture swamped by foreigners" I think well mayeb thats fair! Confused
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:12 pm    Post subject: Re: things you cannot get used to Reply with quote

steki47 wrote:
Cool Teacher wrote:
Actually some of the apologist answers are maybe right.


Bit OT here, but isn't there a difference between being an apologist and explaining that there is a difference between Japanese culture and the general Western culture?

Or, is there something between being an Uncle Tom gaijin and a Japan-basher?
I'm not sure what an "Uncle Tom gaijin" is, so I won't comment on that. I am, however, familiar with "Japan-basher."

The difference between an apologist and "explaining that there is a difference between Japanese culture and Western culture" is that the apologist actually defends discrimination that would be considered unacceptable in most other countries.

For example:

Person A: I don't like natto. It's slimy and disgusting.
Person B: Well, that's what they eat in Japan. You should try to get used to it. It's good for you and actually tastes pretty good.

In that example, Person B is not an apologist, because he is merely defending something that happens to be different about Japanese culture (that Japanese people often eat natto and Westerners usually don't).

It is perfectly fine to defend food customs, etiquette, even Japanese economic policies, and doing so does not make you an apologist. Every country has the right to decide what it eats, when to bow or say "sumimasen," or whether its taxes should be high or low.

However, in the examples I gave before, all five consist of someone specifically defending discriminatory acts/institutions. That's what separates an apologist from a normal guy who simply says "When in Rome, do as the Romans."

Japan specifically signed the UN CERD (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination). This means that Japan has, on the world stage, made an official declaration that it is obligated to end racial discrimination (except hate speech, or Article 4, from which it exempted itself):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CERD
Therefore, Japan is bound by the CERD to at least make an effort to eliminate racial discrimination. Therefore, even the most hard-line "traditionalist" cannot argue that discrimination is "okay."

Now, you might say "well, rooster_2006's last example (permanent residency) isn't discrimination -- it's strict, but everyone has to go through the same ten-year wait whether they're Asian or Caucasian."

That position would be defensible in theory. However, I will point out that:

1. Nikkei (ethnic Japanese, usually from Brazil) get permanent residency much faster than ten years (usually, it takes them only 3 ~ 5 years). Why? In many cases, they don't speak Japanese. They speak Portuguese. They usually don't follow Japanese customs. They aren't necessarily very well-educated (a few are, but most aren't). So why do they get preferential treatment? The average Chinese or Korean person knows far more about the Japanese language and Japanese "tradition" or "culture" than the average Brazilian Nikkei. So why do Nikkei get to cut in line? Simple. Because they have Japanese blood.

2. If "tradition" and "culture" are such important reasons for restricting immigration, then fine. But if that's the case, why not give preferential immigration treatment to foreigners who are especially skilled at kendo, ikebana, Japanese calligraphy, or tea ceremony? And why not give preferential treatment to foreigners who speak Japanese? Better yet, why not have a special (and very rigorous, difficult) test on culture, tradition, and Japanese language that, if passed, speeds up the process of getting eijūken? The current system treats these foreigners exactly the same as other foreigners who haven't learned the Japanese culture/language. Which really just shows that this isn't about tradition or language preservation at all. It's xenophobia, pure and simple.

An apologist, of course, won't agree with what I just said. He'll first deny that it's discriminatory, but then, when I use enough logic (especially when I bring up the special status of Japanese blood Nikkeijin), he or she will shift gears to "it's their right to decide what they want in immigrants -- this isn't our country."

Well, wait a second. Put the shoe on the other foot. If America suddenly decided "we want to defend our European Protestant traditions and culture and restrict immigration to mainly Protestant whites," would that be okay? Would that be any less discriminatory?

Why does Japan get to claim an exemption? It's not like Japan's past is any "nicer" than America. Sure, white colonists raped and pillaged. That's true. No one denies that. But Japan wasn't morally superior. Look up the wars against the Ainu, the Rape of Nanking, the annexation of Korea and Taiwan, Manchukuo, the Yasukuni Shrine, the treatment of Caucasian Japanese citizens on Hahajima and Chichijima during the war, comfort women, etc. and you'll see what I mean. So why does Japan get to have "exempted" status when it comes to talking about the obligation to build a society free from racial discrimination?
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steki47



Joined: 20 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:45 pm    Post subject: Re: things you cannot get used to Reply with quote

Rooster_2006 wrote:
I'm not sure what an "Uncle Tom gaijin" is, so I won't comment on that. I am, however, familiar with "Japan-basher."

The difference between an apologist and "explaining that there is a difference between Japanese culture and Western culture" is that the apologist actually defends discrimination that would be considered unacceptable in most other countries.


Uncle Tom is reference to slavery in the US. Taken from the novel of the same name, an "Uncle Tom" is an obedient slave who makes apologies for his masters to the other slaves.

I have also heard "porch gaijin".

And I like your distinction and generally agree. I my case, I have been accused of being an apologist when I though I was explaining. Back at Nova, I frequently dealt with young teachers who came to Japan and instantly started to complain about everything. I thought I was helping by explaining parts of Japanese culture to them.

Several of them called me an apologist and a house gaijin. Of course, they also mocked some of us for studying Japanese and doing martial arts. While living in Japan-the nerve! Very Happy

Rooster_2006 wrote:
Well, wait a second. Put the shoe on the other foot. If America suddenly decided "we want to defend our European Protestant traditions and culture and restrict immigration to mainly Protestant whites," would that be okay? Would that be any less discriminatory?


Prior to changes in US immigration laws in 1965, our immigration policy makers used to openly discuss protecting the "Anglo-Saxon identity" of then nation.

Many other countries do the same now. Israel, Liberia and others. Generally, only Western countries talk about the "propositional nation" or claim that "diversity is strength". (The historical track record for the latter is not good.)

This is an awkward position, seeing as I'm a white guy in Japan, but I think a nation has the right to decide to choose who comes into their nation. Or if anyone comes in at all.
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ALX



Joined: 19 Sep 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:15 pm    Post subject: Re: things you cannot get used to Reply with quote

steki47 wrote:
Rooster_2006 wrote:
I'm not sure what an "Uncle Tom gaijin" is, so I won't comment on that. I am, however, familiar with "Japan-basher."

The difference between an apologist and "explaining that there is a difference between Japanese culture and Western culture" is that the apologist actually defends discrimination that would be considered unacceptable in most other countries.


Uncle Tom is reference to slavery in the US. Taken from the novel of the same name, an "Uncle Tom" is an obedient slave who makes apologies for his masters to the other slaves.

I have also heard "porch gaijin".

And I like your distinction and generally agree. I my case, I have been accused of being an apologist when I though I was explaining. Back at Nova, I frequently dealt with young teachers who came to Japan and instantly started to complain about everything. I thought I was helping by explaining parts of Japanese culture to them.

Several of them called me an apologist and a house gaijin. Of course, they also mocked some of us for studying Japanese and doing martial arts. While living in Japan-the nerve! Very Happy

Rooster_2006 wrote:
Well, wait a second. Put the shoe on the other foot. If America suddenly decided "we want to defend our European Protestant traditions and culture and restrict immigration to mainly Protestant whites," would that be okay? Would that be any less discriminatory?


Prior to changes in US immigration laws in 1965, our immigration policy makers used to openly discuss protecting the "Anglo-Saxon identity" of then nation.

Many other countries do the same now. Israel, Liberia and others. Generally, only Western countries talk about the "propositional nation" or claim that "diversity is strength". (The historical track record for the latter is not good.)

This is an awkward position, seeing as I'm a white guy in Japan, but I think a nation has the right to decide to choose who comes into their nation. Or if anyone comes in at all.


I agree with the whole "a nation has the right to choose who comes into their nation" thing. The American experiment is the complete melting pot. But, I say, does that make a nation better or worse than a nation who already has a strong and effective indigenous culture and does not want to dilute it with foreigners? Countries like Japan, Russia, and Saudi Arabia are the exact opposite of countries like America, UK, and France. Is that good? Is that bad? Neither! It's just different! I for one understand both sides and what makes me excited about Japan is the fact that it isn't a melting pot. Heck, I enjoy being a foreigner. To me, it's exciting and different. I have lived in the US for ages and now that I'm oder, I really don't like being melted down into the supra-culture known as America. I actually enjoy being an outcast. How cool it is indeed!
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@steki47 and ALX

I don't think anyone is asking Japan to become as multicultural as the United States. However...

Steki47, you said "I think a nation has the right to decide to choose who comes into their nation. Or if anyone comes in at all."

Well...let me respond to that...I think that every nation has the right to decide who comes into their nation within reasonable limits. I don't think that race is a reasonable criteria, though. The current system favors people with Japanese ancestry, which is, quite frankly, racist. And you can't argue that "this is Japan, not America," because Japanese signed the UN CERD, too. They can't just sign that document, make a promise to the UN, and then turn around and completely ignore the CERD.

Nikkeijin/people with Japanese ancestry (mostly Brazilians with some Japanese blood) can come here with a "Designated Activities" visa, which permits more activities and has a longer duration than our visas. They can get permanent residency in three to five years. Meanwhile, people without Japanese blood are expected to wait ten years.

I have to ask "How is that not racist?"

If Japan wants to make permanent residency difficult for everyone, then fine. If Japan wants to say "American-style multiculturalism is a failed social experiment, let's only let in a trickle of immigrants," then fine. However, visas based specifically on Japanese blood need to stop.

So basically, to recap my views:
1. Defending the current policy (ten years to permanent residency) doesn't necessarily make you an "apologist" or an "Uncle Tom gaijin."

2. However, defending the current system, which prioritizes race above all else, does make you an Uncle Tom gaijin/apologist.

3. In theory, "preserving tradition" is a valid reason to restrict immigration. However, in reality, it's often just used as a cheap excuse by people who couldn't care less about tradition. It's saves a lot more face to say "we must preserve tradition" than it is to say "we don't like foreigners they stink and they screw our women." How many of the young men who fly imperial Japanese flags on their motorcycles really care about the preservation of ikebana, calligraphy, or that every student can still read the Kobun?

Basically, I think one of the hallmarks of an apologist is that an apologist simply turns off his critical thinking when he goes to a foreign country. If an apologist heard someone in America say "immigrants destroy our culture," the apologist would think that person was a racist. But if it happened in Japan, the apologist would take it at face value and express his agreement with it.
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G Cthulhu



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rooster_2006 wrote:

Well...let me respond to that...I think that every nation has the right to decide who comes into their nation within reasonable limits. I don't think that race is a reasonable criteria, though. The current system favors people with Japanese ancestry, which is, quite frankly, racist.


No, it's bigotry. Unless you accept the Japanese notion of uniqueness, which would be kinda ironic given your position.

But that's beside the point. Japan, as a nation, *can* decide to do pretty much as it pleases on that front.


Quote:

And you can't argue that "this is Japan, not America," because Japanese signed the UN CERD, too. They can't just sign that document, make a promise to the UN, and then turn around and completely ignore the CERD.


Of course they can. Countries do it all the time. To argue otherwise is to basically try to ignore reality.


Quote:

Nikkeijin/people with Japanese ancestry (mostly Brazilians with some Japanese blood) can come here with a "Designated Activities" visa, which permits more activities and has a longer duration than our visas. They can get permanent residency in three to five years. Meanwhile, people without Japanese blood are expected to wait ten years.

I have to ask "How is that not racist?"


Well, to play devil's advocate for a moment, do you get as upset about people claiming citizenship through their parents? Why not? How does it matter if it's one generation or five generations removed?


Quote:

If Japan wants to make permanent residency difficult for everyone, then fine. If Japan wants to say "American-style multiculturalism is a failed social experiment, let's only let in a trickle of immigrants," then fine. However, visas based specifically on Japanese blood need to stop.


Take the bit above and reverse it: "Japan is actually more liberal because it allows descent to factor into entry and citizenship whereas most countries only allow citizenship via parents."
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Cool Teacher



Joined: 18 May 2009
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Location: Here, There and Everywhere! :D

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:04 pm    Post subject: Re: things you cannot get used to Reply with quote

Rooster_2006 wrote:
1. Nikkei (ethnic Japanese, usually from Brazil) get permanent residency much faster than ten years (usually, it takes them only 3 ~ 5 years). Why? In many cases, they don't speak Japanese. They speak Portuguese. They usually don't follow Japanese customs. They aren't necessarily very well-educated (a few are, but most aren't). So why do they get preferential treatment? The average Chinese or Korean person knows far more about the Japanese language and Japanese "tradition" or "culture" than the average Brazilian Nikkei. So why do Nikkei get to cut in line? Simple. Because they have Japanese blood.

2. If "tradition" and "culture" are such important reasons for restricting immigration, then fine. But if that's the case, why not give preferential immigration treatment to foreigners who are especially skilled at kendo, ikebana, Japanese calligraphy, or tea ceremony? And why not give preferential treatment to foreigners who speak Japanese? Better yet, why not have a special (and very rigorous, difficult) test on culture, tradition, and Japanese language that, if passed, speeds up the process of getting eijūken? The current system treats these foreigners exactly the same as other foreigners who haven't learned the Japanese culture/language. Which really just shows that this isn't about tradition or language preservation at all. It's xenophobia, pure and simple.

An apologist, of course, won't agree with what I just said. He'll first deny that it's discriminatory, but then, when I use enough logic (especially when I bring up the special status of Japanese blood Nikkeijin), he or she will shift gears to "it's their right to decide what they want in immigrants -- this isn't our country."



Well I dont agree with teh nikkei thing much and anyway they probably get more abuse than any other foreigener in Japan by the way. Shocked However, Japan bases its nationality on "jus sanguis" not "jus soilus". Wink

Cool
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

G Cthulhu wrote:
Rooster_2006 wrote:

Well...let me respond to that...I think that every nation has the right to decide who comes into their nation within reasonable limits. I don't think that race is a reasonable criteria, though. The current system favors people with Japanese ancestry, which is, quite frankly, racist.


No, it's bigotry. Unless you accept the Japanese notion of uniqueness, which would be kinda ironic given your position.
UN CERD Article 1:
"...any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CERD#Definition_of_.22racial_discrimination.22
Brazilian Nikkeijin are of Japanese descent, and are of Japanese ethnic origin. The special Nikkei visas (note the part of Article 1 where it says "distinction" and "preference") are a clear violation of the CERD.

G Cthulhu wrote:
But that's beside the point. Japan, as a nation, *can* decide to do pretty much as it pleases on that front.
Sure, Japan "can" do anything. But that doesn't mean that Nikkei-favoring visas are right. They are a clear violation of CERD Article 1.

I *can* complain about whatever I want, too. Like visas that favor Nikkei in violation of the UN CERD.

G Cthulhu wrote:
rooster_2006 wrote:
And you can't argue that "this is Japan, not America," because Japanese signed the UN CERD, too. They can't just sign that document, make a promise to the UN, and then turn around and completely ignore the CERD.


Of course they can. Countries do it all the time. To argue otherwise is to basically try to ignore reality.
Ummm...not saying it "doesn't happen," just saying it isn't right. I probably can't change it, but that doesn't make it right. You seem to have a lot of trouble separating "what is" from "what should be."

"What is:" Japan has visas that are in violation of the CERD.

"What should be:" Japan should have visas that do not take race into account.

But in your mind, "what is" and "what should be" seem to be rolled into one convenient little package. Must make life really wonderful, believing that everything is perfectly just.

G Cthulhu wrote:
rooster_2006 wrote:
Nikkeijin/people with Japanese ancestry (mostly Brazilians with some Japanese blood) can come here with a "Designated Activities" visa, which permits more activities and has a longer duration than our visas. They can get permanent residency in three to five years. Meanwhile, people without Japanese blood are expected to wait ten years.

I have to ask "How is that not racist?"


Well, to play devil's advocate for a moment, do you get as upset about people claiming citizenship through their parents? Why not?
Simple. I don't think millions of babies should be born stateless. That's a completely different issue. The Brazilian Nikkei already have a citizenship and a country. They should have to wait in line like everybody else.

G Cthulhu wrote:
How does it matter if it's one generation or five generations removed?
See above. Being a stateless baby really, royally sucks. Nikkei are not stateless, nor are they babies.


G Cthulhu wrote:
rooster_2006 wrote:
If Japan wants to make permanent residency difficult for everyone, then fine. If Japan wants to say "American-style multiculturalism is a failed social experiment, let's only let in a trickle of immigrants," then fine. However, visas based specifically on Japanese blood need to stop.


Take the bit above and reverse it: "Japan is actually more liberal because it allows descent to factor into entry and citizenship whereas most countries only allow citizenship via parents."
No, it's not more liberal. Extra visa freedoms for Nikkei come at the expense of freedoms for everybody else, especially other foreigners. You saw the CERD Article 1, right? "Preference" was included as a type of discrimination. It's impossible to give one group of people preferential treatment without hurting the other groups. That's basic logic.
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:31 pm    Post subject: Re: things you cannot get used to Reply with quote

Cool Teacher wrote:
Rooster_2006 wrote:
1. Nikkei (ethnic Japanese, usually from Brazil) get permanent residency much faster than ten years (usually, it takes them only 3 ~ 5 years). Why? In many cases, they don't speak Japanese. They speak Portuguese. They usually don't follow Japanese customs. They aren't necessarily very well-educated (a few are, but most aren't). So why do they get preferential treatment? The average Chinese or Korean person knows far more about the Japanese language and Japanese "tradition" or "culture" than the average Brazilian Nikkei. So why do Nikkei get to cut in line? Simple. Because they have Japanese blood.

2. If "tradition" and "culture" are such important reasons for restricting immigration, then fine. But if that's the case, why not give preferential immigration treatment to foreigners who are especially skilled at kendo, ikebana, Japanese calligraphy, or tea ceremony? And why not give preferential treatment to foreigners who speak Japanese? Better yet, why not have a special (and very rigorous, difficult) test on culture, tradition, and Japanese language that, if passed, speeds up the process of getting eijūken? The current system treats these foreigners exactly the same as other foreigners who haven't learned the Japanese culture/language. Which really just shows that this isn't about tradition or language preservation at all. It's xenophobia, pure and simple.

An apologist, of course, won't agree with what I just said. He'll first deny that it's discriminatory, but then, when I use enough logic (especially when I bring up the special status of Japanese blood Nikkeijin), he or she will shift gears to "it's their right to decide what they want in immigrants -- this isn't our country."



Well I dont agree with teh nikkei thing much
Good.

Cool Teacher wrote:
and anyway they probably get more abuse than any other foreigener in Japan by the way.
True. And that's wrong, too.

Nikkeijin should not be discriminated against in the workforce.

Nikkeijin should not get preference for extra-special visas, either.
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steki47



Joined: 20 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:36 pm    Post subject: Re: things you cannot get used to Reply with quote

Cool Teacher wrote:
However, Japan bases its nationality on "jus sanguis" not "jus soilus".


Funny, I was just today thinking about those two forms of nationalism. And thinking about how Germany followed "jus sanguis" and France used to be more of a "jus solis" nation.

Some Asian nations have followed similar patterns. In Thailand, the Overseas Chinese could adopt a Thai name, wear Thai clothes and be considered a Thai. ( I forget the details about citizenship.) Other Asian nations did not have such systems. In Malaysia and Indonesia, Chinese generally did not convert ot Islam and that stopped them from trult assimilating.

Going back to the UN code, I find that offensive in many ways. It is akin to telling me I can't decide who to let into my own house.
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steki47



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rooster_2006 wrote:
I don't think that race is a reasonable criteria, though.


I'll disagree with you on this. I think that race/culture/ethnicity is a valid criteria. Especially in ethnostates, such as Israel and Japan. They wish to maintain a certain ethnic identity and restrict who comes in.

Am I being silly because I am a white American in Japan? No. We are not refugees, we are skilled workers Japan wants to be here. We serve a purpose.
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:50 pm    Post subject: Re: things you cannot get used to Reply with quote

steki47 wrote:
Rooster_2006 wrote:
I don't think that race is a reasonable criteria, though.


I'll disagree with you on this. I think that race/culture/ethnicity is a valid criteria. Especially in ethnostates, such as Israel and Japan. They wish to maintain a certain ethnic identity and restrict who comes in.
Israel instituted its policies of aliyah in response to 6,000,000 Jews dying at the hands of Hitler. The Japanese diaspora has never endured a genocide like that. Aliyah is also different from Japan's Nikkei policy because unlike race, religion can be changed. Any Jew can take advantage of aliyah -- black, white, Asian, whatever. If you aren't Jewish, you can always convert. On the other hand, it's impossible to convert to being racially Japanese. That is why Israel's policies are different from Japanese policies.

Israel's immigration policies are debatable and I don't necessarily agree with them, either. Palestinians aren't a big fan of aliyah either, I gather. However, I still think they're a step ahead of Japan's immigration policies.

steki47 wrote:
Going back to the UN code, I find that offensive in many ways. It is akin to telling me I can't decide who to let into my own house.
Okay, let's use that house analogy. It's actually a very good analogy.

The CERD is essentially a voluntary agreement between neighbors (countries). It is not required, just recommended. Nobody is sticking a gun to your head and forcing you to sign it. It says "If you are a guest in my house, I will treat you fairly, and in return, you must treat me fairly if I go to your house."

Sure, you could just stick it to the neighbors, erect an electric fence with a guard tower or two, and say "Screw you guys! I'll do whatever I want to whatever house guests I decide to let in, and if you don't like it, suck it!" But that wouldn't be very civil or very nice. You wouldn't make a lot of friends that way. And you certainly couldn't expect your neighbors to treat you well if you didn't agree to treat them well, too.

The CERD is a reciprocal agreement. If Japan expects its citizens to be treated fairly abroad, it should abide by the CERD. If it wants to be a rogue state like North Korea, then it is free to withdraw from the CERD at any time. But that wouldn't be very wise, since rogue states like North Korea tend to be treated the same way they treat others: not very well.
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