Rebuilding Japan: Special Scorn for ‘Flyjin’ Foreigners Who Fled Country

Julian Ryall and Malcolm Moore, Telegraph (London), April 21, 2011

“You are the first foreigners I have seen in my bar in a month,” said Hidetsugo Ueno, the bartender at High Five Bar in Ginza. “Are you sure you should be staying here in Japan?” he added, with a smile.

Skittish members of the financial community were the first to empty out and Hong Kong has issued around 300 long-term visas to bankers and traders who wanted to continue working in Asia, but not to live in Tokyo.

“Around 80pc of the visas are to employees at international financial institutions earning at least HK$100,000 (£7,775) a month,” said Chan Kwok-ki, Hong Kong’s immigration director. Five of those went to employees of ICAP, who sent traders to the island as a temporary measure.

In addition, almost all Chinese and Korean residents in Japan have now left the country, despite no advice to do so from their home governments.

The sudden flight has dismayed the Japanese.

“It’s not good that they all left so suddenly,” said Mutsuko Izawa, a housewife who lives in the town of Ujie, 85 miles the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. “Of course this means that in the future, when a company has a choice between hiring a Japanese and a foreigner they will not hire the foreigner because they will be worried if they are going to stay.

“For senior people in big companies, I think they had a responsibility to their Japanese staff to stay. I can perhaps understand if they wanted their families to leave, but a company operating here needs people who will be here when times are more difficult,” she added.

“I think this has reinforced the impression amongst Japanese that a lot of foreigners only look at Japan as a place to work for a few years, earn a lot of money and then they go again,” she said. “They’re not really interested in the society or the country. This isn’t their real home. These disasters have really just shown how true that is.”

The managing director of one British firm in Tokyo said he had evacuated only one of his staff because he had a wife and a young child.

“We thought it was only the right thing to do in the circumstances, but only because they had a small baby,” he said.

“No-one else left our company and I think that was the right thing to do as if four or five senior executives had suddenly decided to jump ship then it would of course caused great resentment. There are a lot of executives and companies in Japan today who are facing a backlash against them. The feeling is they have lost credibility with their local employees because they left and I think that will cause longer-term problems.”

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  • Istvan

    “I think this has reinforced the impression amongst Japanese that a lot of foreigners only look at Japan as a place to work for a few years, earn a lot of money and then they go again,”

    That is what Indian, Chinese and Latino migrants see the US as, a place to make a quick buck. If the Japanese are smart they will never allow mass immigration into Japan. They might consider a right of return for Nisei if the individuals are of all Japanese blood and speak Japanese.

  • TomSwift

    ““I think this has reinforced the impression amongst Japanese that a lot of foreigners only look at Japan as a place to work for a few years, earn a lot of money and then they go again,” she said. “They’re not really interested in the society or the country. This isn’t their real home. These disasters have really just shown how true that is.””

    Perhaps what we need is a real disaster here in the west then.

    Of course, if they actually did stay and help it would be harder to justify deporting them.

  • Anonymous

    “Of course this means that in the future, when a company has a choice between hiring a Japanese and a foreigner they will not hire the foreigner because they will be worried if they are going to stay.

    This is a distorted way of looking at things that is revealed quite handily by the current crises. The person is bitter, and thinking about future retaliation against “foreigners”. That is not reasonable and the error is with themselves. As hiring “foreigners” should have been out of the question to begin with.

    Only those of the same race, the more closely related personally to the person, the better, have the necessary investment to truly be relied upon when the chips are down. Because of that, they deserve your loyalty. To give up that loyalty for profit, for idealism, for whatever, during the good times, is immoral (at best) and has consequences (some of them dire). Those consequences tend to manifest during disasters and the like.

    Put another way, it should have been this person’s policy to hire ONLY other japanese, even if they incurred a loss while doing so. Those japanese deserved their loyalty. Further, “nepotism”…..the hiring of friends and family is the preferred way of hiring. It is a lie that such is immoral or even “unfair”. Who can you rely on to stand with you when you need them, more than friends and family. So and so hires their son instead of you for a position and you think that is unfair? Tough. Would you step in front of a gangster’s bullet for the person doing the hiring like his son would? No? Then you don’t deserve the job as much as he does, obviously. Further, companies with groups of family staking out parts of them come to be intermingled with that family. In other words, those people show the same loyalty to the business as they do their family because the lines of identity are blurred. A similar thing happens if only one race is hired.

    In short, this person is having their eyes opened to a certain type of brainwashing they have been subjected to. How it breaks down under survival pressure to reveal the truth. Ask yourself how you might be victim to the same thing. What consequences does it have for you. What far worse consequences could it have if ever you had to face what japan is facing.

  • sbuffalonative

    Fair weather friends.

    As long as the host is providing a comfortable living space, they’re happy to stay. If they’re expected to help clean up the mess, staying becomes work.

    The lesson for the US is that if we took away the comfort illegal aliens enjoy, they would leave.

  • PLL

    A lot of Americans does not know that it is difficult to get accepted as a Japanese citizen. Japan has toughest laws of immigration. Japanese, in general, do not like foreigners.

    They deserve what they get. Their population will get older by years and their economy will rebound from earthquake, but will never go back to the way it was in 1980s.

  • Aware

    The Japs are lucky they can express such views in their country. Imagine whites uttering the same words after a similar disaster in their countries.

  • John

    Having lived and worked in Japan and knowing people still there

    (Japanese and non Japanese) things are pretty tough with all the aftershocks and the nuclear radiation scare.

    Japanese have an ambiguous attitude to foreigners,the politeness

    oftenn hides a xenophobia evidenced in the reluctance of

    realtors to let apartments to foreigners or neigbours socializing with them.

    With Westerners its a little more complex as they respect

    and admire us,esp US UK and Europe,that helped open the country in the last century and ultimately defeated them in WW2

    Also Japanese have travelled a lot more in the last 20 yrs and there has also been a large increase in foreigners visiting

    and living in Japan,albeit still a miniscule number compared

    to the Third World hordes invading US,UK Australia etc

    The Japanese are a strong,resilient people who will bounce

    back but do need some Western help.However I wouldnt worry about a few cowardly foreign executives leaving to go HongKong.Japan can survive and might be better off without a few Western investment bankers with little skills to offer the average Japanese

    On the hand I believe we can still learn a lot from the Japanese,especially with

    automation and technology to limit the need of unskilled

    foreign manual labor.They have performed so well as a virtual monocultural society on the last 60 yrs or so and I am sure they can meet the challenges and not make the mistakes we are

    doing in the `new multicultural` West

  • Anonymous

    Great! Let the foreigners stay away. That means that I can continue enjoying this peace and quiet and (relative) sanity for many more years to come.

    — a fully adjusted American who has been in Japan for 30+ years

  • Mike

    “I think this has reinforced the impression amongst Japanese that a lot of foreigners only look at Japan as a place to work for a few years, earn a lot of money and then they go again,” she said. “They’re not really interested in the society or the country. This isn’t their real home. These disasters have really just shown how true that is.”

    I think this is not a fair complaint on the part of the Japanese. The Japanese never fully opened the door for immigrants and allowed them in in a relatively temporary capacity so in my opinion have no real grounds for complaint in this regard. Western countries fully opened the door to immigrants with citizenships, permanent residencies, multiculturalism, family reunion, etc AND have to deal with them really having no interest in our respective countries beyond whatever economic benefits they can get out of us. The Japanese chose the better option obviously but really can’t complain when the “temporary” arrangement is seen as and acted upon as such by the other party in much the same way the Japanese see it too when it suits them.

  • Been There

    “For senior people in big companies, I think they had a responsibility to their Japanese staff to stay.”

    I’d be willing to bet that the Japanese never made these people feel really welcomed the whole time they were there. If you’re always a “foreigner,” an object of suspicion, & never ever a part of a family, it’s just so much easier to pack up & leave.

  • Michael C. Scott

    I think more of them would have stayed had not Western governments been advising their citizens to leave the area surrounding the reactor meltdown. Cleaning up after a natural disaster is one thing, but expecting someone who will probably never be an actual citizen to stick around to inhale Iodine-131 until they develop thyroid cancer is something rather different.

    It also wasn’t foreigners who put those reactors right on the coast and then installed the diesel backup generators on the main level – instead of on the roofs – where the tsunami promptly wrecked them.

    Overall, it’s a pity. I like the country, and if I could get work there in my old field, we certainly wouldn’t still be in Colorado.

  • Anonymous

    Misery loves company. The Japanese hate foreigners to begin with. A few years ago a Jewish girl was brutally killed by a Japanese man, not only did he get a slap on the wrist from the Japanese legal system he became a celebrity once he was released. He appeared on TV shows and released a book. It was the Japanese version of O.J. Simpson. What these resentments are about is foreigners leaving to safer and intact places while the Japanese have to clean up their own country. Foreigners even if they become citizens can not own property and have restricted voting rights. It’s very difficult for non-East Asians to get into Japan. The comparison with white-created countries is totally bogus but expected since many white people want us to accept East Asians as some pseudo-white group (largely because of sex). I never will. The Japanese have created a nightmare with this ongoing nuclear disaster. Just last week they said they miscalculated the amount of radiation leaking out by more than 1,000%. Meanwhile, the Japanese sit by with their typical blank stares doing nothing yet are angry at foreigners leaving. Foreigners didn’t vote in the Japanese government that is purposefully hiding information or created the incompetent, nefarious TEPCO. Nuclear insiders said radiation would not reach the US because Japan is so far away, at the begining of this disaster yet one month later radiation from Fukushima has been detected all over the US. The disaster is far worse than the Japanese initially reported. Scientists now believe the explosion at reactor 3 was a nuclear reaction not a hydrogen explosion. http://enenews.com/

    What the Fukushima disaster has revealed is the vaunted Japanese robotics industry is a myth, East Asians don’t have the brains or improvisational skills to handle things that haven’t been done before, saving face is always first and East Asians still ain’t white.

  • Electrical Engineer

    Try Googling the following search strings:

    Did General Electric build Fukushima?

    Fukushima is America’s disaster.

    The results from Google will be a little upsetting.

    Also try Googling this search string:

    Zavtra Vladislav Shurygin Fukushima

    Here is an excerpt from most weblinks associated with that search string:

    “…

    Military publicist from Russian newspaper Zavtra, Vladislav Shurygin, believes that “Today we are not dealing with a Japanese nuclear catastrophe, despite the whole world watching developments in Japan and everyone knowing about Fukushima. In fact, it’s an American nuclear disaster. All four reactors hit by explosions were built by the American General Electric Company. Moreover, the plant was constructed and designed mainly by American experts.”

    “Japan itself doesn’t produce any reactors and the country is forbidden to engage in any nuclear power research. So, we are witnessing a drama of the American energy industry despite it happening on Japanese territory,” Shurygin concludes.

    …”

    It has been suggested that foreigners (from the perspective of Japanese citizens) were NOT the ones who located the reactor facility on the coast of Japan, nor were foreigners the ones who located the backup generators within influence of a tsunami. That is difficult to tell; however, it is certain that GE had a very big influence in the creation of Fukushima.

    Japan has been a poor country since 1989. Their national debt level is several times the size of their gross domestic product.

    (Google:japan’s national debt relative to gross domestic product)

    They do not have the money to fix this situation, their credit is bad, and they are very desperate. Standard & Poor’s just lowered Japan’s sovereign rating to negative (AA minus). It is understandable that Japan should resent foreigners leaving their country in Japan’s hour of need.

    Thank you for listening.

  • Anonymous

    “The reactors for Units 1, 2, and 6 were supplied by General Electric, those for Units 3 and 5 by Toshiba, a JAPANESE company, and Unit 4 by Hitachi, a JAPANESE company. All six reactors were designed by General Electric. Architectural design for General Electric’s units was done by Ebasco. All construction was done by Kajima, a JAPANESE company. Units 1–5 were built with Mark I type (light bulb torus) containment structures.[9][10] The Mark I containment structure was slightly increased in volume by JAPANESE engineers.”

    http://tinyurl.com/4ofhrrq

    Kajima, a Japanese company, installed the backup generators on sea level. The tsunami flooded the backup generators resulting in them being unusable. Once the backup generators stopped working cool water stopped being supplied to the super hot spent fuel rods. The spent fuel rods then boiled the water off resulting in hydrogen explosions in units 1 and 2. According to scientists unit 3 had a nuclear reaction which can only happen if the reactor was cracked, remember unit 3 was built by Toshiba, a Japanese company. The responsiblity lies with the Japanese. They wanted to build nuclear reactors on islands of volcanoes and earthquakes.

  • Electrical Engineer

    Try Googling the following search string:

    “how responsible is ge for fukushima?”

    It would seem like a “toss up” among the commentators, but there definitely seems like a trend toward the examination and/or investigation of General Electric’s culpability in the design of the Mark 1 reactors.

    In the first page of the above Google search, one can find a reference to a webpage by http://www.ethicssage.com.

    Here is an important excerpt (which seems to be very close to being “from the horse’s mouth”):

    “…

    What if GE failed to disclose potential problems with the safety of the Mark 1 containment systems? That appears to be a distinct possibility. Reports have just surfaced that on February 2, 1976, former GE engineers Gregory C. Minor, Richard B. Hubbard, and Dale G. Bridenbaugh “blew the whistle” on safety problems at nuclear power plants. They timed their statements to coincide with their resignations from responsible positions in GE nuclear energy division. In a recent interview on ABC, Bridenbaugh described design flaws of GE’s Mark 1 reactors, which account for five of the six reactors at the Fukushima 1 power plant. Bridenbaugh claimed that the design “did not take into account the dynamic loads that could be experienced with a loss of coolant” and that, despite efforts to retrofit the reactors, “the Mark 1 is still a little more susceptible to an accident that would result in a loss of containment.” Bridenbaugh did back off a bit when he stated he believed the design flaws had been addressed after he left GE. Still, this can’t be good news for GE, a company that is under criticism for paying no U.S. taxes on $14.2 billion profits.

    …”

    Try Googling (if one dares) the following:

    “how many mark 1 reactors are in the united states?”

    Thank you for listening.

  • Anonymous

    Thing is, the Japanese get to have their cake and eat it, too. When they want foreigners to work unpaid overtime, they say it is the Japanese way (which it generally is). When a foreigner wants to contribute ideas in the workplace or be on the same style contract as a Japanese, sorry no dice. You’re not Japanese.

    I have made my peace with Japan’s double standards and doublethink. They spend billions on English education, yet routinely get the lowest scores in the world on standardized English tests.

    90% of foreigners stay in Japan 3 years or less. They are hired for specific skills (teaching English, IT, finance among Westerners) or for specific jobs (factory work-mainly Brazilians and various Asians). Japan is quite livable and comfortable even to an outsider.

    Comfortable, but not really home for many of us. The Japanese have to understand that many foreigners were only planning to stay a short time, anyway. Shoe on the other foot, lots of Japanese studying at NY unis went home quickly after 9/11.

    BTW, I was in Brisbane knocking back pints when the Fukushima incident took place. And I came back to Japan. And I will stay in Japan.

  • Lygeia

    Anonymous at 4:44pm has it completely right: “East Asians don’t have the brains or improvisational skills to handle things that haven’t been done before, saving face is always first…”

    Asians do not invent or innovate. They merely copy extremely well and are good at precision manufacturing that was invented by white people.