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Sunday, Mar. 16, 2008
READERS IN COUNCIL
Leave immigration to Darwin
By WILLIAM WETHERALL
Roger Pulvers, in his March 9 Counterpoint column, "Surely it's time for Japanese to stop being so parochial," continues to distort facts while racializing people in stereotypical "ethnic" categories. Taiwanese and Koreans did not become "citizens" of the Empire of Japan. Japanese law did not then, and does not today, define "citizens" or "citizenship."
People meeting qualifications for membership in a population register affiliated with Japan's sovereign territory were then "subjects" (under the Constitution) and "Japanese" (under Nationality Law). Today, under both, they are "nationals." The loss of Japanese nationality by some former subjects after World War II was not based on ethnicity but on the territorial affiliation of registers.
Most states do not positively embrace dual nationality, and the few that do generally recognize only one at a time. Japan is one of many states that remain negative toward dual nationality but accept its inevitable increase. Japan's Nationality Law has never categorically prohibited dual nationality. Contrary to what Pulvers claims, aliens who naturalize in Japan do not automatically lose other nationalities.
Pulvers suggests that 100,000 new foreigners be admitted to Japan every year for 10 years. But already, every year, the new resident alien population is increasing by about this amount -- plunging into life and finding ways to survive and stay, without targets or subsidies.
Money would better be spent (1) merging alien and family registration to facilitate mobility and access to public services for all, (2) improving working conditions in fields that face labor shortages, and (3) helping organizations recruit qualified aliens on a par with Japanese. Then leave the rest to Darwin.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.