Japan to begin refugee resettlement and ‘I would like to meet Somalis’
Posted by Ann Corcoran on September 23, 2008
One of the many stories that just passed me by (I saw it but wasn’t moved to write about it) is that Japan has agreed to begin a refugee resettlement program. One of the most generous nations in making financial contributions to humanitarian causes around the world, Japan has taken very few refugees until now. They have recently been guilt-tripped into changing their policy on refugees by the UN and other nations.
Behind Tokyo’s shift in its refugee policy is the view spreading in the government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party that Japan will have to accept more refugees to fulfill its humanitarian responsibility as a member of the international community. In addition, Japan has to increasingly depend on foreign people for labor as the population ages and the birthrate remains low.
Some analysts have voiced concern that the government will select only refugees who are easy to accept in the screening process.
Doesn’t that last make sense to you! Would you go out of your way to take refugees that are not easy? Would you purposefully go around picking out the troublemakers and the hard to assimilate. Well, yes, some countries do. We do!
And, so what finally inspired me to write about Japan was this post from an incredibly naive Japanese blogger writing about Somalis in the most simplistic and uninformed way. The only other reasonable explanation for what he says is that the whole post is a joke.
He wants to meet Somalis and thinks they would get along swimmingly in Japan. You would think this line in which he jokes about Somalis coming car shopping might have given him a tip.
……second hand car buyers from the Somali region visit Japan and sometimes ask us about Toyota Landcruiser and Nissan Hilux. One of the buyers jokingly told me that the rebels would buy these cars and cut off the roof of the car to mount machine guns!
But, no, here is some of this incredible post about Japan welcoming Somalis:
In a nutshell, Japan may seem too far and too different from the Somali region. This is certainly true but there are good things as well. One day if Japanese and Somali meet, we can probably be good friends. Why? This is because Japan is not like typical Western countries where Somalis can get insulted because of their country of origin or religious belief (this is what I hear). Japan has very limited relations with Africa as a whole and there are few Africans in Japan and almost no immigrants. Believe it or not, Africans in general are warmly welcome here. People here will even say to you, ‘Welcome! You travelled all the way from Africa. Thank you for coming!’ This means that there will be no barrier to the initial contact.
Moreover Japan is certainly not a Muslim country but almost all Muslims who visit Japan say Japan is a more Muslim country than any other ‘officially’ Muslim country. This is because of its cleanliness and the way people behave in public places, according to Muslim visitors to Japan. Also most of Japanese people are not familiar with Islam and so do not discriminate against Muslims; they can be curious but do not offend you. Why not come to see it for yourself? I am afraid there is no khat to chew available but there are masjids and Halal food shops in the major cities of Japan, including our city!
We are very far apart but I am one of the few in Japan, thinking of Somali people all the time, hoping others will also know about Somali-related issues! We Japanese and Somalis will meet in the near future!
No doubt, you probably will. Dear Japan, if this guy is serious, and represents the thinking of the Japanese people, before you do meet, use our search function and type in the word ‘Somali’ and know what you are getting into.
Note to readers, when you visit this Japanese blog notice this link he has in the upper lefthand corner, entitled “Somali Parliment Chair Fight”. Makes me wonder if his whole blog post is a spoof!
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