Sunday, February 15, 2015

Apartheid suggestion by Ayako Sono cannot be accepted

Ayako Sono, a Japanese writer, ignited broad criticism for her suggesting apartheid in her column.

The issued column was published in Sankei Shimbun, a Japanese famous newspaper, on Feb 11th, 2015. In this column, she referred to the necessity to accept immigrants.

However, in the column, she insisted that the residential areas should be separated according to each race. She described an episode that water supply was exhausted in an apartment because some black tenancies began to live with many relatives. According to her, black people have a custom to live in a large family, against the common sense of white people. For this reason, she has been convinced that the accommodations should be distinguished in each culture.


In my opinion, she made three errors.

First, the episode she mentioned is no more persuasive. The tenancies could be cooperated with each other. Many people enjoy daily life with persons from different cultures. I cannot understand that she made her opinion based on merely one episode. If she had much more experiences to be involved in cultural shock, why did she dare mention this silly episode?

Second, it is estimated that this episode occurred in South Africa in 1990s. It is no doubt that many people made great efforts in order to the abolition of apartheid. In the process of the alteration, there might be not a few conflicts. Referring to only one episode occurred in a chaotic era, she trampled the efforts of the people endeavored to make a change in South Africa.

Third, there is lots of troubles to live with foreigners, indeed. It is obvious that living with those who are familiar to you is much more relaxing. However, living in such environment for a long time make you narrow-minded. I am afraid it is a serious disease of Japanese.

Not surprisingly, many foreign media criticized her opinion. As she was a member of Education Reform Panel in Japan government, Abe administration will also be blamed.

Wall Street Journal: Author Causes Row With Remarks on Immigration, Segregation

The Times: Japan PM aide calls for foreign workers to be segregated

Ayako Sono has a conservative ideology. I do not criticize this. But, her opinion was too naive to be accepted in the modern society. As far as reading the media report, Sono seems not be aware of her fatal error.

To be honest, I think not a few Japanese have prejudice against foreigners. Unconscious thought of discrimination, like Sono, is more troublesome than explicit hatred. Even I do not have enough knowledge and experience to understand the cultural gaps in some situations.

Therefore, Japan must be open to the world. Exclusive attitude to foreign countries is no more useful to protect Japan culture, on the contrary, will debilitate the power of Japan.


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