HEY remember this asshole? He ran for Governor of Tokyo this year and drew a significant number of votes, particularly from young people. That’s creepy because his views of Japanese militarism and World War II are, to put it mildly, “revisionist.”
He didn’t win, mind you, but he remains a visible member of Japan’s right-wing. And lately he told his 225,000 twitter followers that he is not happy with the amount of foreigners in Japan, speaking out against government initiatives to increase the number of foreign students and tourists.
Foreign students are bad because they might find jobs after graduation and decide to settle in Japan. Foreign tourists are bad because some of them will illegally stay in Japan. And if coming out against both legal and illegal immigration didn’t make his position clear, he flat-out says “I am strongly opposed to any plan to increase the number of ‘foreign-related people’ in Japan.” In fact, he says the current numbers of students and tourists are “too high” and should be reduced!
Everyone loves to trot out the word “xenophobic” when describing Japan’s insular views but let’s take this for what it is: this is racism. Naked, unambiguous racism. This is a guy who looks at Japan, a country which is 98% homogenous, and thinks there are too many foreign faces.
Is his position extreme? Yes. Not even the Prime Minister, a man whose view of World War II is highly suspect, would be so stubborn as to turn away foreign visitors and their cash. But Tamogami is not so extreme that he would not be welcome on any talk show or even run for office again. And when views this extreme go unchallenged, even welcomed in public, it makes moderate views (e.g. “we need immigrants to continue as a society”) seem far-fetched. Instead of right vs left it becomes right vs center or even far-right vs mostly-right.
ugh, Japanese politics are the worst. how does a society this polite allow these elements to flourish?