From the Alumni Editing Department
Published by: Babel University Professional School of Translation’s ALUMNI Association
For this issue, Kyushu University political science professor Se Teruhisa, a contributor to past articles, has given me permission to reprint one of his recently published articles. The Japanese also seem to learn from world trends starting with leaders at the forefront who are shaping the nation.
The Death of European Civilization?
By Se Teruhisa
Associate Professor and Doctor of Law
Kyushu University Graduate School of Comparative Social Culture Research
Japan is essentially moving towards becoming an immigrant nation.
Recently, various newspapers have reported that the Japanese government has firmed plans to reorganize and expand the current Immigration Bureau to become the Immigration and Residence Management Agency (tentative name).
“Immigration Management Agency Scheduled to Debut in April 2019, Setting the Stage for Accepting Foreign Workers” (Sankei News, August 28, 2018)
It was revealed that in June the Japanese Cabinet had decided on its Basic Policies for Economic and Fiscal Management and Structural Reform (honebuto hoshin), which enables Japan to admit a large number of foreign workers into the country. The plan is to accept over 500,000 immigrants into Japan by 2025 to work in areas such as nursing care, construction, and agriculture.
It’s well known that beginning in the 1960s, as a result of Europe bringing in foreign workers various social problems have occurred, such as decreased safety and social divisions. Why doesn’t Japan learn from Europe’s example instead of following suit?
This move towards accepting foreign workers won’t stop easily as long as the leading Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) keeps promoting it. Even in the LDP general elections this fall, no one is disputing the issue of whether or not to launch a large-scale admittance of foreign workers. The opposition party is also convinced that liberal equals tolerance towards accepting foreign workers and immigrants, and generally isn’t against such policies.
(I wrote briefly about concerns regarding these reform policies and about the absurdity of the concept that liberal equals tolerance towards bringing in foreign workers and immigrants. The following is a link to that article).
“Examining the Nation in a Single Stroke by Se Teruhisa: Increase in Foreign Workers Directly Affects the Tranquility of Japan’s People.” Sankei News June 7, 2018
The argument for promoting large-scale acceptance of foreign workers is based on the fact that there is a severe shortage of labor because of Japan’s declining birthrate, which therefore makes such policies necessary.
After I wrote the above column, Sankei News informed me that is was going to create a column called “Issues in Japan,” that would cover the pros and cons of accepting foreign workers. The newspaper asked me to write the opposing side of this issue.
At that time, I was deeply interested in hearing the arguments proponents would assert, only to be disappointed. As you can see from the following article, Menju Toshihiro’s argument is only that “there is a serious lack of manpower in Japan.”
I sometimes hear from supporters of foreign worker acceptance policies that these policies are designed to encourage diversity. For example, Hiroaki Nakanishi, the president of Japan Business Federation Keidanren, states that that the reason for the large-scale acceptance of foreign workers is to promote diversity, an issue that comes before thinking about labor shortages.
“Increasing the Number of Foreign Workers Accepted into Japan,” by Keidanren President Hiroaki Nakanishi.
What proponents of policies to bring in foreign workers need to do at the least is, even if Japan allows a large number of foreign workers to come to Japan, keep Japan from becoming an immigrant nation. Japan should also diligently learn from the various problems in countries throughout Europe which became immigrant nations to prevent those same problems from occurring in Japan. This is what proponents should be advocating, but I have yet to see any proponent actually doing so.
There’s a book I’ve recently been referring to when speaking publically about the issue of bringing in foreign workers. The book, titled The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam (London: Bloomsbury Continuum, 2017) was written by British journalist Douglas Murray and has become a bestseller in the UK.
On Amazon’s UK website there are 702 reviews posted from last year to the present; the average review is 4.8 stars. The British are huge fans of this book.
I became interested in and read this book after reading Takeshi Nakano’s recent book Japan’s Fall (published by Gentosha), where Takeshi Nakano referred to this book. I was shocked by what I learned. (Although The Strange Death of Europe is not yet translated into Japanese, Nakano provides an overall summary in his book (especially chapter four). Toyo Keizai Publishing is allegedly planning to publish a Japanese translation of The Strange Death of Europe at the end of this year or the beginning of 2019.
Author Douglas Murray states that “Europe is committing suicide.” The reason is the large-scale admittance of immigrants. Because of this massive acceptance of immigrants, various European countries have undergone significant transformations in their national structure and are consequently losing their cultural identity. Murray warns that Europeans will lose their hometowns in the near future.
Murray starts off his book with the following:
“Europe is committing suicide. Or at least its leaders have decided to commit suicide.”
“I mean that the civilization we know as Europe is in the process of committing suicide and that neither Britain nor any other Western European country can avoid that fate because we all appear to suffer from the same symptoms and maladies. As a result, by the end of the lifespans of most people currently alive Europe will not be Europe and the peoples of Europe will have lost the only place in the world we had to call home.”
Murray describes how citizens in the UK and various European countries didn’t clearly decide to become immigrant nations, but have rather gradually progressed to the point of no return.
For example, in the UK and other European countries, those who used to be regarded as the average citizen (typically Caucasian Christians) are steadily becoming a minority. Let’s look at some figures introduced in Murray’s book.
According to the British census of 2011, “Caucasian British” accounted for 44.9% of the inhabitants of London, which is already less than half of the city’s population. Caucasians also have become the minority in 23 of the 33 districts in London. As a side note, the spokesperson for the UK’s National Bureau of Statistics proudly announced this figure, considering it an expression of “diversity” in London.
33% of the babies born in the UK in 2014 will have at least one parent who’s an immigrant. According to one researcher at the University of Oxford, by 2060 it’s feared that “British Caucasians” will become a minority throughout all of the UK as well.
The percentage of Christians in the UK has also declined drastically from 72% to 59% in the past ten years and is expected to decrease to one-third of the population by 2050.
In addition, Sweden also predicts that Swedish people (Swedes) will become the minority in all of Sweden’s major cities within the next 30 years.
This data shows that, due to becoming immigration nations that openly accept foreign workers, European countries are undergoing major transformations in ethnic composition, religion, and culture. Without openly asking for the opinions of citizens, these countries have almost unwittingly undergone significant changes that have changed their national structures. Murray raises a red flag, warning that these changes will result in European civilizations dying off and Europeans losing their only hometowns.
For Japan, who is fairly sure about accepting large numbers of foreign workers, the current situation for many European countries is not merely a European problem. It won’t be surprising if in the near future a book titled Japan’s Strange Death will become a best seller Japan doesn’t make some rapid changes.
The Japanese have a lot to learn from the crisis occurring in Europe.
Note: The following is a link to the email magazine Criterion, which provides an overview of Murray’s book Strange death in Europe from a slightly different angle.
Criterion Email Magazine