According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is 8.6% as of April 2009 – up from 5% at the same time last year. It is projected that the unemployment rate in the U.S. could be up to 10.5% by the end of the year. Finding solutions to the unemployment problem have typically centered on developing faster economic growth in terms of the generation of more jobs. The government has spent billions on attempting to stimulate the economy in trying to do just that. Well, according to a recent article in the New York Times entitled Japan Pays Foreign Workers to Go Home, Japan is trying a very different approach to battle their unemployment rate. With the world’s second largest economy, Japan has an unemployment rate of 4.8%, up from 3.8% from the same time last year. This is the biggest jump since 1967, according to the Government Statistics Bureau in Tokyo. Job prospects are getting worse and wage declines are accelerating with damping consumption, their reports showed. So the government officials in Japan put their heads together and decided a good way to decrease the unemployment rate would be to get immigrant workers to leave the country – specifically Latin Americans.

Thousands of Latin Americans immigrated to Japan in the early 90’s during their growing industrial labor shortage. According to the article, an estimated 366,000 Brazilians and Peruvians now live in Japan. They quickly became the largest group of foreign blue-collar workers in Japan. Under this program, the government is offering any Latin American resident $3,000 toward airfare plus $2,000 for each dependent. The workers can then keep any of the money left over. For most of the unemployed workers that have filled in the so-called three K jobs (kitsui, kitanai, kiken – hard, dirty, dangerous) this is quite a substantial amount of money.

The catch to this of course is that if they accept this offer, their residency is revoked and they – including their children - can never return to the Land of the Rising Sun. Most would only be able to return on three-month travel visas.

“There won’t be good employment opportunities for a while, so that’s why we’re suggesting the Brazilians go home,” said Jiro Kawasaki, a senior lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Mr. Kawasaki continued, “We should make sure that even the three-K jobs…are filled by the Japanese. I do not think that Japan should ever become a multi-ethnical society.” He also added that he thinks the U.S. had been “a failure on the immigration front.”

As many ridiculous politicians as we may have in this country, can you imagine the repercussions of a high government official saying something like that in the U.S.? How ridiculous would it sound if the U.S. government proposed something like this as a solution to unemployment? I could not believe that Japan, or any country could institute a program like this. Many of these immigrants have lived there15-20 years and have built a life and a home there. Because of the current economic conditions however, it wasn’t much of a decision for many families. So far, at least 100 families have accepted the offer and plan to leave.

Despite some of the U.S.’ racial tensions, our multi-ethnical society has defined the strength in our country and continues to do so. There are better ways to improve the unemployment rate and stimulate the economy than by simply saying, “Get Out.” The solution lies in the individuals and companies that make up the economy finding ways to decrease frivolous, unnecessary spending and making better decisions. Of course the execution of those changes is where it can get complicated. One thing is clear, however - having one ethnic group or another leave your country is not the answer to the country’s economic woes. I think one of the immigrant workers from Japan quoted in the article who took the money got it right in saying, “We worked hard; we tried to fit in. Yet they’re so quick to kick us out. I’m happy to leave a country like this.”
Share To:

Nick Haneiko

Post A Comment:

0 comments so far,add yours