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Le gouvernement japonais s'inquiete de l'augmentation de la criminalité due aux etrangers

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Pays, Ville: Paris, France - Tokyo, Japan

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Le gouvernement japonais s'inquiete de l'augmentation de la criminalité due aux etrangers
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Le gouvernement japonais s'inquiete de l'augmentation de la criminalité due aux etrangers resident au Japon. Les organisations de defenses des etrangers critiquent cette position et le manque de soutien a l'integration des etrangers voulant resider au Japon.
Le Japon a pourtant besoin des residents japonais et accorde notamment une quantité croissante de VISA d'etudiants a de jeunes asiatiques, notamment dans l'objectif de soutenir financierement le systeme educatif qui souffre de la desaffection des etudiants japonais...

Source : Interpress Service
Vu sur : Sunday Times

Crimes fuel Japan’s wariness of foreigners

By Suvendrini Kakuchi

TOKYO—The Japanese government’s wariness of foreigners in the wake of crime incidents has been rising, undercutting calls by activists for greater integration of immigrants and local businesses’ demand for foreign migrant labor.

In recent months, especially in the wake of the gruesome murder in June of a Japanese family by suspects alleged to be Chinese students, Tokyo has stepped up its vigilance on foreigners—increasing arrests and tightening the issuance of visas for Asians aspiring to study here.

These incidents have also played into traditional xenophobia against foreigners in Japan, which has long touted its national homogeneity as its uniqueness in the world.

“The rising arrests of foreigners have raised fear and concern about welcoming immigrants to Japan. It is becoming difficult to hope for a legal system to protect foreign workers,” Katsuo Yoshinari, head of the People’s Friendship Society, a grassroots organization that helps mostly Asians working in Japan, says in an interview.

The negative perceptions of foreigners as ‘outsiders’ were heightened by sensationalized media reports on the September arrests of two Chinese men for the June murders. The police had tracked them down after they fled to China.

The men, who had student visas in Japan, confessed to police they had entered the family house and killed and drowned the family, including two small children, because they needed money.

The suspicious reactions these are drawing from the Japanese disappoint those who have long been trying to encourage more acceptance of foreigners in this country, which in recent has been a magnet for migrants especially from Asia.

They say that it is time Japan became a multicultural society, respected the rights of other communities within it, and adapted to the rapid globalization of its economy.

Such lofty principals aside, even Japan’s top business people have spoken out for the need to accept the reality and value of foreigners here in the world’s second largest economy.

They favor the easing of restrictions on immigration as means of augmenting an ageing local workforce. Nippon Keidanren, Japan’s powerful business lobby, describes immigration as the “reinvigoration of the Japanese economy” in its policy documents.

It estimates that if Japan accepts 6.1 million workers from overseas before 2025, it will be possible to control the rise of the consumption tax to finance skyrocketing costs of social welfare.

Japan’s low birth rate of 1.3 percent is expected to see the size of its population between the ages of 15 to 64 years shrink by up to 15 million, and its workforce by as much as 6.1 million, according to government statistics.

Foreigners working in Japan account for only 0.2 percent of all workers in the country at the beginning of 2000, compared to 11.7 percent in the United States and 8.8 percent in Germany during the same time.

The justice ministry reports there are around 200,000 non-Japanese people who have overstayed their visas, mostly from Asian countries, such as China, South Korea, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The debate remains a difficult one and is far from resolved. In a sign of the recent backlash, a government poll taken at the beginning of November shows that a high 32.4 percent of people do not want to want more foreign tourists visiting Japan.

Ninety-two-percent cited rising crime committed by foreigners as the most pressing reason for this sentiment.

This week, the justice ministry reported it has declined 400 applications made by Chinese seeking university entrance in Japan.

On Thursday, the ministry said that starting the new fiscal year in April 2004, it would toughen checks on foreign students—particularly from countries with high numbers of overstayers who are seeking admission to colleges and Japanese language schools.

Ministry officials say this stems from an increase in the number and severity of crimes committed by those overstaying their visas, resulting in the “deterioration of safety” in the nation.

The new measures will hurt Japan’s long-term goal of hosting more than 100,000 foreign students to ensure friendly relations with Asian countries.

Ironically, the education ministry has been encouraging more overseas students, resulting in the sudden increase of Chinese students—from 14,519 to 58,533 students last year—who now top the list of foreign students studying in Japan.

This policy has also worked well for Japanese universities who have been seeking more foreign students to cope with their tight finances given the decreasing rates of applications from Japanese students.

But reports of increasing crime rates do not help the situation. Local media has reported, for instance, that statistics compiled by the National Police Agency show that 34 percent of Chinese arrested this year were on current or expired on student visas.

Last year, Chinese comprised 47.2 percent of foreigners arrested for crimes in Japan, official figures show. The total number of alleged offenses reached a high of 7,690. Asians accounted for 72.5 percent of that number.

But focusing on this is not productive and misleading, critics say, adding that it reflects not just crime itself but bigger problem of lack of acceptance and space to live and work legally and in an integrated manner in the country.

The bigger issue is the fact that the country needs what Professor Hiroshi Komai, an expert on immigration at Tsukuba University, calls a “systematic immigration policy” in Japan.

A proponent of allowing skilled workers into Japan, Komai argues Japan that is too entrenched in looking inward and must work harder to become a society that can accept foreigners.

“Compared to other large countries, Japan is not a friendly place for foreigners as we can already see,” he explains.

He pointed to the myriad problems faced by immigrants here—children facing language problems in schools, the lack of laws to protect foreign workers, and racial discrimination such as a recent uproar over the mistreatment of foreigners in prisons.

Activists are critical of the government’s policy, which they say has double standards. It turned a blind eye on low-paid foreign workers when they were needed during the economic-bubble years when labor was scarce, but changed its position when the unemployment rate shot up.

“While more foreigners are being detained, they only comprise 1.3 percent of the total number of people arrested here. The only solution to foreign crime is to extend visas so they can work,” says Yoshinari.

--Interpress Service

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