A Sudden Influx of Foreign Labor

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For as long as I can remember (c. 1998), the free smiles I received at Tokyo fast food outlets and convenience stores have beamed back from Japanese middle-class teenagers or freeter in their twenties with low ambition. The whole idea of having illegal workers in the back kitchens or immigrants at the cash register has essentially been unknown to Japan on a large scale.

But suddenly — and I mean literally, in the last three months — young Chinese men and women have become at least 10%-20% of service workers in restaurants and chain stores across Tokyo. Most of them are competent and relatively fluent in Japanese, and the only reason their nationality becomes apparent is the single kanji on their name-tag. The Yoshinoya down the street now has a Chinese cashier. I’ve been in the AM/PM under the live house Shibuya O-Nest when there were only Chinese workers. And it’s not just the low-rent locations: Many members of the wait-staff at the fancy buffet restaurant in the Keio Plaza Hotel are Chinese.

I’m not sure whether a law changed, whether the immigrant population is exploding, whether the decrease in young people has kicked into the labor market, whether the perceived economic upturn has created jobs for skilled Japanese labor, or what exactly happened in late 2005, but the exception has now become the rule. Immigrant labor has exploded onto the Japanese landscape.

And the impact of this trend on my daily life? Zero. Perhaps the “o-kyakusama wa kamisama” (The Customer is God) concept of service surplus will be difficult to maintain, but I’ve had Chinese workers speak to me in more keigo than I get with the bored Japanese punks at 7-11. And I don’t need the service surplus to start with. Maybe I can do without the American cynical and surly cashier culture, but if I don’t get a deep bow on my way out the door of Lawsons, I don’t ask for a refund on my Snickers bar.

I have to admit that it is a bit exciting to see non-Japanese workers operate in real, non-segregated Japanese society. Of course, there are the Bangladeshis who run my favorite Indian curry joint and the Iranians selling carpets, but this new class of foreigners are working in a very Japanese environment selling a very Japanese service. They are not doing something a Japanese worker cannot do; non-Japanese are now performing the exact same tasks as Japanese, and this form of social participation can make successful assimilation possible.

Despite U.N. advice to increase immigration, Japanese politicians have called for a cautious approach to their coming labor crisis. The hard rhetoric may be a cunning solution, however, as it calms the public about drastic social change while the environment moves slowly and naturally towards a more immigrant-inclusive direction. People may hate “immigration” in the abstract, but I don’t think they mind Ms. Shu down at Matsuya.

W. David MARX (Marxy)
February 14, 2006

Marxy wrote a lot of essays back on his old site Néomarxisme. This is one of them.

41 Responses

  1. jed Says:

    “This form of social participation can make successful assimilation possible.”

    Let’s hope so.

  2. Momus Says:

    if I don’t get a deep bow on my way out the door of Lawsons, I don’t ask for a refund on my Snickers.

    We should never take these tender-minded Japanese things for granted; it’s all the nicer when you’re not expecting them. Today I went into the Post Office and was given a Valentine’s Day present; a tiny red tin containing, in an inlay, under a booklet, an even tiner red replica Japanese post box made of plastic. Then I went into the kombini and was offered a choice of sweets; another Valentine’s gift. I must say it lifted my mood.

    It also made me happy to see very small children walking home from school unaccompanied, and to know that they’re safer here than they would be in the West. Many Japanese make a link between immigration and crime in their minds and see Japan becoming more dangerous if it becomes more open to foreigners. But they do seem to give skilled immigrants a cautious welcome.

  3. informatique Says:

    When it comes to Japan, the mind of Momus is isn’t too different than that “tiny red tin containing, in an inlay, under a booklet, an even tiner red replica Japanese post box made of plastic”…

  4. nate Says:

    regarding momus’ warm feelings: Could it be possible that kidnapping/murder cases by strangers are actually not rarer in japan than the west? I haven’t a clue as to the statistics, but american kids are usually kidnapped by family members and are often ultimately recovered. Japan doesn’t have so many broken families, and thus fewer of that kind of kidnapping, but what about stranger kidnappings?
    They’re have certainly been a few in the news in the last few months. Maybe I’m just swayed by the more concerned japanese media.

  5. Dave Says:

    The immigration and crime thing did go big about two years back (it’s probably the reason it took so long for me to get a work visa approved, which ultimately meant I never made it to Japan.

    As I recall, gaijin crime had doubled to half the rate of the general Japanese population (or something like it)

    Same thing as every other country, immigrants are judged more harshly than long time locals.

  6. andrew Says:

    if immigrant crime ends up the same as in the u.s. it will primarily be crime with in minority neighborhoods and not actually touch the outside population much. While American cities might boast higher (but as I always always always have to point out a crime rate that is STILL falling after 15 years) crime rates than Asian cities most of the crime is confined to impoverished neighborhoods. It’s actually been shown that installing alarm systems for instance doesn’t prevent crime, but redirects to it to another neighborhood hence American crime has become highly centralized to areas where private investment in crime prevention is low. I was also under the impression that the foreigner crime was a myth of the press and that stastics showed it to be no more robust than japanese crime, but I might be wrong.


    A

  7. Chris_B Says:

    before we get too carried away here, remember that comparing crime stats without knowing how they are measured or if they are measured the same at all is pretty much worthless.

    FYI “foreign crime” stats in japan include visa overstays. Since this crime is impossible for a citizen to commit, the numbers are skewed from the start.

  8. check Says:

    Most nonpartisan studies concerning crime in Japan indicate that 外人 do not abnormally contribute towards criminal activity – rather, this perception that ‘foreigners equate to crime’, is a stigma accented by Japan’s history of isolationism/xenophobia, and the tabloid-esque Japanese media.

    (Or so my personal studies and experiences have lead me to believe! ;)

    As for the idea of increased immigration: Do you believe this phenomenon is confined strictly to 東京? Or has this change spread throughout the entirety of Japan?

  9. n Says:

    I remember in 2001-3 being surprised by the number of Koreans working at a number of Lotteria shops. I figured it was some sort of exhange thing since Lotte is a Korean company….

    But konbini’s too have been getting more and more foreigner-staffed in the Tokyo area at least since 2004 or so.

  10. Slim Says:

    FYI, Lotte is both a Korean and a Japanese company. It was founded by a Korean, but in Tokyo in the late 40s. He didn’t start the Korean company until the late 60s after relations were normalized between Japan and Korean.

    As for safety, there are many places in the USA where school kids can and do walk or bicycle safely to and from school on their own. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if most children still did so. The difference I find remarkable about Japan is that kids as young as six ride the Tokyo subway by themselves to their schools. I left Japan when my son was four so I never needed to decide whether I felt that was safe for my own kid (and probably couldn’t have afforded the private school tuition that would have made it necessary anyway).

  11. Graham Says:

    This is an interesting thing to notice, David, but is it possible you’ve completely imagined the suddenness of the change — that you haven’t noticed these single-kanji nametags in the past? If there really is a recent rise, it would be a coup to figure out why.

    As for Momus’ heart-warming yuubin valentine, I for one am more than a little put off when I receive a valentine from my domain name registry. That’s a head-scratcher.

  12. Adamu Says:

    I agree with David that the rise has been somewhat abrupt (at least judging from my experiences visiting for 2 weeks for the past two New Year holidays), considering that as early as two years ago (when I was living in Kyoto) I never noticed it. True, just because I didn’t notice it that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there, but I am pretty observant.

    Last year I had my first encounter with a Chinese shop clerk, a polite yet friendly guy named Gohin (I asked because the Kanji on his name were awesome) who was studying at a university in the Tokyo area. Since then I noticed it at a few more places in the Tokyo area as well – I had a less pleasant experience with a rude Korean woman at a Shakey’s Pizza in Takadanobaba.

    What I am thinking is that in addition to an increase in foreign population (especially in foreign university students) there’s probably just been a change of heart among fast food/kombini franchisees. Foreign students, as you might know, are permitted to work part time (28 hours/week if I recall). The employers probably see what you saw – by utilizing foreigners they can hire people who are more polite and more friendly than Japanese punk kids who will go through the motions but might not even agree to dye their hair black for the position (just for example).

    Also, you make a good point that the “foreign crime wave” rhetoric might serve to smoothe things over while foreigners slowly but surely make their presence felt in society. People certainly want to know that the government is not going to sit around and watch their peaceful country go to waste because they let all the rejects from the Chinese mafia set up shop. Of course, the government apparently did sit and watch while the Chinese and Turks took over the drug trade in Tokyo, but let’s not split hairs. I don’t want to see foreigners singled out as a criminal element any more than Debito does, but at the same time criminals do not deserve to be coddled in the name of political correctness, either.

    It’s certainly a plausible argument since the rhetoric has yet to be coupled with propositions for a comprehensive campaign against immigration. As far as I can remember, there’s been no legislation limiting companies’ abilities to hire foreigners, no crackdowns on illegal factories, or restrictions on visas (on the contrary, visa programs have nominally expanded).

    Instead the measures to deal with the supposed uptick in foreign crime have taken the form of more stringent regulation of Japanese language schools (which were an easy way into the country for people who have no intention of studying, something I’ve seen personally), campaigns to increase awareness among police and citizens about foreign criminal activity, an end to lax treatment of visa overstayers and some more stringent entry procedures (fingerprinting upon entry – a recent move that smacks of a concession to US demands for cooperation on the War on Terror).

    One more thing: I agree that the common courtesy that one find in Japan is very comforting at times, but more often than not it’s more of a function of strict adherence to the company manual than any sort of true courtesy or commitment to service. That phenomenon can have annoying consequences, like when the loser clerk wouldn’t let me get around bullshit exchange rate fees by letting me pay for cheap batteries with traveler’s checks at an electronics store.

    Far from taking things like bow-to-my-Snickers hyper-politeness or Valentine’s gifts from inanimate objects for granted, we should see them for what they are: uneconomic wastes. The post office, to take an example that Momus brought up, is a shabbily run drain on Japan’s economy that takes “putting the customer first” way too far by offering countless services and campaigns that basically rob Peter to pay Paul since all their assets came from Japanese taxpayer money and most of their revenue comes from the Japanese people’s savings. Their postal delivery outfit is something like JPY500 billion in the hole, and don’t even get me STARTED on the savings and life insurance disasters. In an ironic sense, we really should appreciate the fact that they allow foreigners who don’t pay taxes to enjoy the benefits of the post office because it’s essentially a completely free benefit for such people.

    Anyway, I just broke my own rule AGAIN (don’t write a comment longer than the post itself), but it was a very thought-provoking post, so I thank you.

  13. Adamu Says:

    And another thing: does “Momus” stand for “Morning Musume”?? If so that is too creepy for words…

  14. Momus Says:

    the common courtesy that one find in Japan is very comforting at times, but more often than not it’s more of a function of strict adherence to the company manual than any sort of true courtesy or commitment to service.

    How about you replace “the company manual” with the culture of collectivist thinking? This stuff existed long before capitalism and has little to do with it. Tying it up with “the company” allows people to take anti-capitalist potshots at it, but taking potshots at something cultural is ethnocentric. Marxy often uses the same trick: if something Japanese is reflected in corporate culture, attack it as business, not as culture.

    The post office, to take an example that Momus brought up, is a shabbily run drain on Japan’s economy that takes “putting the customer first” way too far by offering countless services and campaigns that basically rob Peter to pay Paul since all their assets came from Japanese taxpayer money

    And you think these assets should go into private shareholders’ pockets in the form of profits instead, right?

  15. Marcus Says:

    Does receiving a Valentine’s gift at the local supermarket say anything about the culture of the country where it happened, or is it just trivia?

    I received a chocolate in a local supermarket in Sweden two years ago, on Valentine’s Day.

    I guess Sweden has a culture of collectivist thinking as well as Japan then, if that’s a part of the criteria.

  16. Rory P. Wavekrest Says:

    And another thing: does “Momus” stand for “Morning Musume”?? If so that is too creepy for words…

    If this guy is sincere, it’s one of the funniest things I’ve read on here. I hadn’t thought of that.

    But yeah, I’ve noticed this lately as well. Seems to be most common at Yoshinoyas and Shinjuku/Shibuya establishments.

  17. nate Says:

    “Far from taking things like bow-to-my-Snickers hyper-politeness or Valentine’s gifts from inanimate objects for granted, we should see them for what they are: uneconomic wastes.”

    likewise with presents given by friends to other friends. think of all the economic action I missed out on when I gave my girlfriend an iPod for her birthday! I should have asked her for a nominal markup on what I paid for it, so that John Galt would beam down on us all from heaven, right Ayn?

  18. marxy Says:

    But you are paying for the extra-service. A normal letter-sized envelope costs 80 yen to send to a destination within Tokyo. 80 yen!

  19. Momus Says:

    Paying for service (that may or may not filip your mood and lift your day) is surely better than paying for nothing more than some shareholder’s private profit? And if “uneconomic” is the only criterion, kiss goodbye to all those little post offices which serve only a few old people and remote islands, and kiss goodbye to post offices which don’t have queues (because you might as well shut them down, right? Time in which your staff is idling, waiting for customers, is downtime, right?) Efficiency always needs the question “efficient for whom?” taked onto it.

  20. nate Says:

    and 500 yen to ship a multiple kilogram package to aomori from tokyo. who sends words written on paper anymore?

  21. marxy Says:

    Signed invoices.

  22. Chris_B Says:

    momus: ever thought about joining a right wing group? your post reads like the pander of a shukanshi. nice red herring with the “kiss goodbye to all those little post offices blah blah blah.” Obviously you have not read the postal privatization bills or even a summary. Postal delivery is not being privatized and the ownership and management of the properties related (post offices) is going to be run seperately. I for one am looking forward to a public accounting of all the lands held by Japan Post. Becha over 40% are unrelated to postal biz at all.

    Oh and dont try that “before capitalism” crap either. Four words: “osaka rice futures market”

    Nate: yeah I wonder what is gonna happen to the yu-pak services. I have not seen if they will be privatized or not. It would be interesting if they had to compete with the takyubin companies since there was a recent court case where the judge ruled in favor of japan post in an anti competition suit.

    Speaking of oddly priced services, anyone else notice that its cheaper to do a furikomi with postal savings than any retail bank?

  23. Momus Says:

    Chris, congratulations on demonstrating how needlessly rude Westerners can be, in stark contrast to “the common courtesy that one finds in Japan”, which Adamu nevertheless wants to say is all down to “strict adherence to the company manual”.

    My “before capitalism” point, which I think is perfectly reasonable, simply points out that politeness in Japan — a cultural value if ever there was one — is much bigger than the realm of the economic. It’s absurd economistic cynicism to try to chop out of the culture a money reason why people in Japan are polite and present that as the main reason.

    It’s fairly typical of people commenting on this site, though, to try to pass everything off as economical, even something like politeness. That’s the “Freakonomics” line, isn’t it? So tell me what’s my economic interest in saying politeness isn’t economic, then? To sell more records, right? To get another pay packet from Mayor Ishihara, perhaps? I’m sure you can find a reason.

    Obviously you have not read the postal privatization bills or even a summary.

    If you read what I wrote, I didn’t say that the postal privatization bill suggested closing branches of the post office. I said that that would be the result of looking at the post office from a purely economic perspective. This was a response to Adamu’s point that certain post office services were “uneconomic wastes”. I’m still waiting for his response. Thanks for suggesting that my anti-market points were the viewpoint of “a right wing group”, though. Thanks for butting in and being abusive! I’m sure there’s a cultural reason why you did that.

  24. check Says:

    “that would be the result of looking at the post office from a purely economic perspective.”

    Quite right – I mean, who would want to examine a business from an economic perspective? Then the ol’ 郵便局 might actually have increased competition, better rates, better service, reduce cronyism, competently manage tax payer dollars, better allocate capital in the marketplace, better account for risk, force ignominious private banks to legitimatize, and seek higher returns in savings to support social services for the elderly.

    While this may prove somewhat pernicious to the rural sector, I’m afraid that any change of this magnitude will always have negative effects – the key is appealing to the greater good – not keeping an inefficient system sated.

    (Although I do enjoy an occasional chocolate…)

    But, then again, as a foreigner in Japan, it doesn’t really matter, since you’re unable to vote on the issue, right?

  25. adamu Says:

    marxy:

    Do you have an e-mail address I could contact you at?

  26. Chris_B Says:

    momus: as for the vitrol & bile, you are welcome as always. as for saying something is economic or cultural, I didnt take one stand or the other, but I dont really see how economic behaviors are not cultural. as for post offcie closures, well I still assert your talking out your behind because the delivery section of the post office will still be held to a service mandate. it is a pretty clear fact that much of the activity of japan post is massivly wasteful and market distorting in economic terms, but those abuses tend not to be concentrated on what us pedestrians think of as “the post office”. oh, and as for my perspective? call it that of a taxpayer.

  27. Momus Says:

    who would want to examine a business from an economic perspective? Then the ol’ 郵便局 might actually have increased competition, better rates, better service, reduce cronyism, competently manage tax payer dollars, better allocate capital in the marketplace, better account for risk, force ignominious private banks to legitimatize, and seek higher returns in savings to support social services for the elderly.

    I don’t know if you’ve been reading Milton Friedman rather than newspapers, or rather than actually using public services, but I can tell you that it’s by no means clear that putting economics first improves all this stuff. In the UK there were more accidents on the rail network after it was privatized, because Railtrack, the private firm who took over maintainance of the rails after British Rail was broken up, put profits ahead of safety standards. My local post office in Berlin was a joy to use because there was never a queue, but “efficiency” closed it down and forced me to queue for an average of ten minutes every time I went to the next nearest branch. Again I emphasize that economic efficiency and service efficiency are completely different things, forcing us always to ask the question “Efficient for whom”?

    And are tax-payer dollars “competently managed” when they disappear into private profits for a few very rich people, rather than into subsidizing unprofitable services which are nevertheless invaluable for users? Your belief that the market makes all for the best in the best of all possible worlds is terribly naive.

  28. andrew Says:

    “remote islands, and kiss goodbye to post offices which don’t have queues (because you might as well shut them down, right? Time in which your staff is idling, waiting for customers, is downtime, right?) Efficiency always needs the question “efficient for whom?” taked onto it.”

    I skipped through a lot of the posts after this, anyway, I’m not sure this is correct though. I mean it’s easier for me to find a federal express in the u.s. (there in kinkos, 7-11s, etc.) than to find a u.s. post office. I think privatization would just mean that a company would decentralize services, offer internet payment, and perhaps even home pick up. And if the later is the case, I’m sure you’ll get a gift delivered to your house to boot. I don’t think privatization means those in inconvient areas will be shafted or cultural statements such as free gifts would go to the way side, it means privatized businesses would need to figure out new ways to get there.

    “It’s fairly typical of people commenting on this site, though, to try to pass everything off as economical, even something like politeness. That’s the “Freakonomics” line, isn’t it?”

    While behavoiral economics certianly does try to quantify activities like politeness, or more recently beauty (did you know beuatiful people are less likely to commit a crime? or that islamic terrorists rarely come from towns with finacial services like banks?) I think you’re equating capitalism or money here for what is merely a study of incentives and often times reveals a far more human face to the world in a field that’s marked by conservatives with a devil may care attitude. My point being freaknomics doesn’t reveal how much politeness is worth to the over all GDP of whatever state of money-making activities you’re counting by (in fact Levitt is famous for his aversion of using economics for political lobbying), it connects to social welfare, political science, and anthropology. It’s an attempt to emulate culture in equations, in a way it’s not terribly different than the studies in robotics and neural networking (another new economics field neural-economics) that Japan has been banking on (read japan gov spends more on robotics than other countries etc.)

    Peace,
    A

    p.s. Momus enjoy your blog immensely. Are you the musician Momus? I think I saw you play at Will’s Pub in Orlando once.

  29. check Says:

    “it’s by no means clear that putting economics first improves all this stuff.”

    That’s a fair comment. I feel this change will result in an improvement, but I respect your stance, as well.

    As for the rest of your post – and I mean this without being flippant – at this point in time, I have no urge to debate the complexities of the Japanese economy on the internet.

    I’m sure you’ll understand that such an investment just doesn’t seem terribly promising.

  30. jasong Says:

    Marxy wrote: Signed invoices.

    What else is there? Nengajou, perhaps.

    Chris wrote: Speaking of oddly priced services, anyone else notice that its cheaper to do a furikomi with postal savings than any retail bank?

    I did notice this when paying for a Yahoo auction item. I was pleasantly surprised that the xfer cost something like half of the usual 420 yen, which always seemed like a bullshit arbitrary amount.

  31. andrew Says:

    this is also interesting. while we’re comparing crime rates. debate between american and canadains about differences in crime rates. as was pointed out japan considers over staying a visa a crime, canada considering groping a form of sex crime hence Canada’s rate of sex related crimes is 267% higher than the U.S.

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2006/01/bogus_crime_rate_comparisons.php

    although their murder rate is dropping faster than the U.S.

  32. passerby Says:

    momus: ever thought about joining a right wing group?

    In which alternate universe could momus be considered right-wing?

  33. marxy Says:

    Because the only people in Japan who actually make the same “Japan is perfect” arguments are elitist right-wing nationalists. For all the liberal cultural relativism being invoked, I’ve never read actual anthroplogy about Japan (in any language) that moves out of cold objectivity to deliver such glowing appraisals.

  34. Momus Says:

    Hey, I hate Koizumi for his postal privatization bill and his neo-liberal celebrity “assassins” (some of them now in prison), and they’re all Japanese, aren’t they? Do I glow talking about them? No, I crow. But when I crow, my ratings are low and the comments are slow. So…

    Because the only people in Japan who actually make the same “Japan is perfect” arguments are elitist right-wing nationalists. For all the liberal cultural relativism being invoked, I’ve never read actual anthroplogy about Japan (in any language) that moves out of cold objectivity to deliver such glowing appraisals.

    They love Japan and they’re Japanese, I love Japan and I’m not. Spot the difference? See how one could make you a conservative and the other a liberal? Something to do with attitudes to difference?

  35. marxy Says:

    Yeah, but this idea that you have the right to love Japan because you are NOT Japanese puts things in your normal Auto-Contrarian mode. You aren’t American either, but you consider it “your” culture. I understand the “politeness” aspect of not criticising other people’s cultures (until you understand them on their terms), but it seems you are setting specific rules about who can criticize, who must praise based on arbitrary groupings.

    If I started talking about how Britain was the height of human civilization, that would be “liberal” right?

  36. Chris_B Says:

    momus spaketh thusly “Hey, I hate Koizumi for his postal privatization bill and his neo-liberal celebrity “assassins” ”

    what a coinkidink! so do the right wingers

    They love Japan and they’re Japanese, I love Japan and I’m not. Spot the difference? See how one could make you a conservative and the other a liberal? Something to do with attitudes to difference?I/i>

    I dont get it… because you are not japanese and you love japan you are denying your right wing tendancies? Come out of the closet momus! Let your love shine!

  37. Mikechan Says:

    はじめまして、すみませんが、日本語で失礼します。

    一般的な日本人が最も不安を抱くのは、「一般市民が、普通に日常生活を営んでいる上で遭遇する犯罪」でしょう。
    暴力団同士の抗争が激化したとしても、それが新宿の歌舞伎町の中に止まっているのであれば、そのようなところに行かなければいいだけの話ですし、
    外国人によるオーバーステイが法律違反だとしても、その事実だけを持って不安を抱くことは一般的にはないと言っていいでしょう。

    「マジメな一般市民が普通に日常生活を営んでいる上で遭遇する犯罪」を具体的にあげるならば
    路上強盗・ひったくり
    車上荒らし
    家宅侵入強盗・窃盗
    などです。

    そして、これらの犯罪に関与する者をあげるとすれば
    不良少年グループ
    ギャング化した暴力団員・元暴力団員
    外国人犯罪組織(その多くは犯罪のプロであり、そもそも犯行目的で来日しています)
    などです。
    ちなみに、外国人犯罪のみならず、青少年犯罪や暴力団犯罪も、ともに頻繁に報道されています。

    とりわけ、ピッキング強盗は、住居の安寧を侵されるだけに、非常に不安感を煽ります。(おかけで鍵関連業者は大繁盛です。)
    この犯罪類型に関与する者の多くが中国人である事は否定できない事実でしょう。
    これらのことについては、中国政府自身が危惧を抱いており、日本の警察と協力して対策に乗り出しています。(体面を重んじる中国がここまで踏み込んだ対応に出た事は、事態の深刻さを表しています。)
    http://www.pekinshuho.com/2004.01/01-she5.htm
    また、中国人犯罪組織の第一の標的は、「お金を貯め込んだ不法滞在中の同胞」です。そういう意味では、外国人犯罪に対する対策強化は、実は(オーバーステイの点を除けば)マジメに働いている中国人の多くが歓迎している事なのです。

    これらの実態を過度に喧伝すれば、中国人や外国人一般に対する不信感を強め排外的な世相を形成しかねません。
    ゆえにこれらの事柄を取り扱う時には言葉を慎重に選ぶ必要があります。そういう意味では石原慎太郎都知事などは資質ゼロです。

    しかし、同時に、「政治的正しさ」を重視するあまり、実態を覆い隠すような事があれば、返って事態を複雑にし、不審・不安を煽りかねません。

  38. ndkent Says:

    Some cause and effect theories.

    Post Office Valentine’s gift. It’s well known that young people aren’t writing letters anymore so they’ve been doing campaigns to appeal. After the kitten and puppy shaped stamp stickers & commemorating various anime characters can Momusu postage stamps be far behind.

    Keio Plaza Buffet – been to that buffet, seemed to have a mix of a number of nationalities working there. I did manage to stay at the Keio Plaza Sapporo last year. There seemed to be a lot of Chinese tourists staying at that one.

    Went to the reasonably priced Chinese Viking at the Century Royal next door. I drank the Tang they served while I thought of dynasty and taikonaut jokes.

  39. nate Says:

    good old keio. that’s where almost all the jets stay on their way in. The hotel (like all nishi-shinjuku tower hotels) is directed toward international visitors… it’s not that unexpected that they should keep a fair number of chinese speakers (who can be employed more cheaply than english speakers, I’m guessing) on staff.

  40. hazada gesu Says:

    It’s ludicrous to suggest that this increase in the number of service industry workers of non-Japanese origin has occurred over the last three months.

    I have been seeing this all over Tokyo for at least two years.

    You’re doing a great job, Marxy – I wish you’d post more often, but you’re way off the mark with this wild assertion.

  41. marxy Says:

    I’m not sure it’s “way” off the mark. Maybe the “last three months” is not totally accurate, but the number seems to be increasing in the last three years. At least in the Western part of the city. I’m not saying it just started, I’m saying it’s rapidly increasing these days.