News: Born to Be a Foreigner in Her Motherland


The New York Times > International > Asia Pacific > The Saturday Profile: Born to Be a Foreigner in Her Motherland:

The New York Times has an article on a woman who was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and Korean father, who was denied a supervisory position at her government job because she was not Japanese. This is a thorny issue in Japan because the issues surrounding naturalization are very complex, especially in regards to the resident Korean (在日コリアン) population.

In regards, to naturalization, the article says:

The easiest route toward the managerial posts is, of course, to acquire Japanese citizenship, a choice more and more Zainichi are making. In 2003, there were only 470,000 officially recognized Zainichi, a drop of about 100,000 since 1993. Most became naturalized Japanese, no longer counted as Zainichi.

I am reminded of the many Mexicans in the United States who for many decades were happy with permanent residency and not US citizenship because they still felt an allegiance to their homeland. Ironically, the immigration crackdowns by the Bush administration has resulted in many of these people taking American citizenship. Even misdemeanor crimes such as shoplifting can result in a permanent resident being deported from the USA.

Let's remember that there are a lot of people in America who are experiencing similar things. In the same issue of the New York Times is an article about DARPA refusing to give grants to professors who have foreign grad students, even if they are working on non-classified research. The WSJ reported last year that job applicants with names that sounded like they were African American did not receive call-backs as those with white american sounding names. Discrimination on ethnic and national origins is a global phenomenon and is unfortunately getting worse as national governments seize on xenophobia and fear to keep their populations controlled.

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This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on April 2, 2005 3:48 PM.

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