No local suffrage for foreigners in japan- Shibuya protest

Protestor holding shocking photoshoped poster comparing Mr Ozawa and Mr Hatoyama to Hitler and the Nazis

(Protestor holding a banner with Ichiro Ozawa(secretary-general of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan) and Yukio Hatoyama’s (Current Prime minister of Japan) faces added to Nazi propaganda poster declaring that- “My rights and rule are foremost” , “What is government rule, corruption?” ,”Mama can I have some more child allowance”)

Over on “Magnesium” I have just posted a new piece about a protest I witnessed yesterday in Shibuya against the DPJ governments intention to grant local voting rights to permanent foreign residents in Japan.

(See the full piece with lots more photos over on Magnesium:- HERE)

From the Magnesium piece:-

Around 300 people gathered in Shibuya to protest the DPJ governments intention to grant local voting rights to permanent foreign residents in Japan.

More than 40 countries worldwide have granted varying degrees of suffrage to their foreign residents, including New Zealand and Uruguay which grant full national voting rites.
Among those countries which grant full or partial suffrage are Denmark, Finland , Norway, Spain and the The United Kingdom.

Opponents here in Japan have increasingly expressed concerns that a large number of foreigners could use their voting rights for purposes that might put national security at risk, although they have failed to show how local suffrage would allow this to happen as only ethnic Japanese or nationalised Japanese can run for or hold public office in Japan.
Some right wing groups have even claimed that local suffrage would allow foreigners to “take over the country”.

Recently several prefectural assemblies have reversed their support for local suffrage for permanent foreign residents in Japan saying that in the past they had shown support for the move because it was unlikely to happen.

One thing that I couldn’t say over on Magnesium, but I will say here is, The photo that heads this and the Magnesium piece is truly shocking to me even now after all this time in Japan and being only too aware of the extreme right wing tendancies of a really scary percentage of the Japanese public.
To compare Mr Ozawa and Mr Hatoyama to Hitler and the Nazis is breathtakingly misguided and shocking to us Europeans in a way I think Japanese people fail to grasp. To photoshop their faces onto pictures of Hitler and the Nazis is unthinkable outside of Japan, and would be illegal to display in public in many countries.
For most Westerners, even those born long after the end of World War II, the Nazis represent something in our collective unconscious that is so dark, so evil, that most us dare not go there.

Once again my adopted homeland and so many of its people disappoint and depress me.

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1 comment for “No local suffrage for foreigners in japan- Shibuya protest

  1. shumidori
    January 25, 2010 at 1:55 am

    As you mentioned, there is a lot of people in Japan who fear of changing and whose way of thinking is far from the global standard of common sence, unfortunately. It’s such a shame. But the global movement is certainly shifting toward borderless. And it seems accelerating. I do not think they will be able to swim against the tide soon anyway.

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