Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Apathy vs. insanity

I know that saying I am apathetic towards politics is not the most sophisticated thing to say, but at least it's honest.

I live in a hamlet. My TV isn't plugged in. The only news that reaches my eyes are the headlines on yahoo.com. (I can't believe there are over 1200 calories in a sandwich!). It is not that I am actively AVOIDING the news, it is simply that I am not pursuing it.

Today, however, I ventured in to the realm of self-awakening and followed through with a suggestion to read up on the much heated debate over Japan's new foreigner identification law: "requiring the majority of foreigners entering Japan to be fingerprinted and photographed."


Reading this Japan Time's article was like trying to muster an A out a first-year college paper I had once written. In other words, it was daunting.

I wish to summarize the words written by "a high-ranking Ministry of Injustice official closely involved in the planning and implementation of the measure... who wishes to remain anonymous [for good reason, as you are about to see]."

1. He argues that many foreigners come to Japan to teach English. They come to teach English because Japanese people want to be able to communicate with foriegners who come for "pleasure or business." So foreigners are coming to help Japanese people help foreigners. You with me?

BUT: this "new law will significantly reduce this number [of foreigns] so the need for foreign language teachers will decline sharply"

this is good BECAUSE: "it is highly unlikely there will be a repeat of the Nova fiasco."

[** Nova is a private English teaching company that has recently gone bankrupt, leaving thousands of foreigners without jobs]

Here is where I am confused (yes, already): So they implement a new law that is likely to reduce the number of foreigners coming to Japan (they will be too offended by the new law to want to come, just in case you were wondering). No foreign travelers mean no need for foreign teachers. Because the teachers sole purpose, of course, is only to teach people how to talk to travelers.

THUS: with no foreign teachers, no jobs can be lost (I am dusting my hands off, just so you get the picture)

Am I missing something?

2. This new law is not only great for getting teachers out of the country, but it will keep other Asians out too! What he means by this, is that "the new law will reduce the number of foreigners in Japan, and the benefits of this will be felt throughout Asia as countries' brightest brains choose to stay and work in the land of their birth."

No redundant teachers lying around, and "no more brain drain" in Asian countries that are feeling the effects of sending their "brightest brains" to Japan... where they are making lots of money... and sending it home... a home not in Japan...

I feel like I am getting it now!

3. Here is where it gets good: because Japan has been kind enough to put this new law in effect, countries are going to relocate elsewhere and give other countries a chance "spread the benefits of globalization and free markets as widely as possible."

"As it has done in the past, the generosity of the Japanese government will allow other countries to develop economically and socially. Japan is a rich nation, but not a greedy one..."


I am just going to forge ahead here:

4. Finally, without all those white people teaching English, all those brown people taking up job space, and all those green (these are the capitalists) people spilling money into other parts of the globe, there will be "more jobs for Japanese and this may go some way toward combating the growing income gap in Japan."

AND IN CONCLUSION: [this part was impossible to paraphrase...]

"the pressure to learn English will be reduced, and this will allow Japanese people to spend more time studying their own country's history, traditions and culture. English will become an optional language for those who really want to study it, and there will still be enough foreigners here to meet the reduced demand. But, as I outlined above, the main benefits will be felt internationally, as Japan steps back slightly on the world stage and graciously allows some other countries the chance to shine."


... Someone seriously didn't get enough stickers in English class...


According to all the other news on the subject: This new law was put in place to protect foreigners and to protect Japanese citizens. It will produce a feeling of security and consideration for the greater well being of people everywhere, and it will bring Japan into the modern age of airport security measures.

Oh, and that stuff that high-ranking guy wrote...


Can you blame me?

"In hindsight, his choice of words was perhaps inappropriate, but the truth in what he said is undeniable. The simple fact is that this law will make Japan a safer country by tightening its borders and preventing would-be terrorists from entering."

1 comment:

Zoe said...

From a friend:

so, i logged back into the article today, and it now contains a note
at the bottom stating that it's fake. so, everyone can now thank god
that no one in the government is actually *that* stupid.

(now, this might sound suspiciously like i'm covering my ass.
however, no one reading the article yesterday noticed the note in the
afterward, while everyone who read it this morning did. this is
obviously because the writer realized that for some bizarre reason the
article is actually believable. what does that tell you?)