Friday, June 08, 2007

Foreign Workers in Japan

One of the funnier things we can read about or hear about is how Japan is going to use foreign workers to make up for the population decline due to the rapid aging of society. Wouldn't hold my breath for that. Some of the old retro-grouches would starve first. The only chance for it to happen would be to import low-skilled, poorly educated people and watch and control them carefully.

The Japan Times recently published an article about foreign scientists who came to Japan and actually believed that they were going to be treated as intelligent, professionals with valuable skills. AHAHAHAHA. Guess they sort of forgot to put their research skills to work on investigating Japan before coming. Or they believed what they were told by the employers. April Fool all year round.

...internationalization of the workforce is often linked to the notion of the erosion of national identity, a well-polished political foil tied emotionally to the fanciful idea of Japanese racial and genetic homogeneity... (This sounds racist or at least racialist. Couldn't happen in Japan, as there is no racism here.)

...The numbers of both female and foreign scientists employed at Japanese universities are "extremely low" relative to other member countries of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), the government admits (see ). However, despite the government's statements to the contrary, many government initiatives actively prevent the integration of foreign scientists into the Japanese research and university environments....

...The emphasis is on the short-term turnover of a small number of researchers, and there is no provision for long-term integration.... eminent senior Japanese scientist at Osaka City University acknowledges, "It is unfortunate for research and students that it is almost impossible to keep good foreign scientists in Japan."

...The only other employment option available to foreign scientists who persist in pursuing their research objectives after JSPS funding is withdrawn and who cannot find work at a university is to become an employee of a Japanese scientist who works at a college/university and can use "kakenhi" grants (Japanese government research funding) to provide a salary for the foreign scientist. Employed via this method, foreign scientists find that despite the fact that they might produce world-class research, they are outside established Japanese university bureaucratic procedures, excluded from university decision-making processes and are politically powerless within the university because of the position of subservience they must assume in order to be able to continue their research. This employment avenue is the road to inequality and discrimination... (In Japan? NOOOOoooooo!)

...Brian Budgell is a Canadian scientist, resident in Japan for the past 15 years and currently an associate professor at the School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine at Kyoto University. Here he recalls his introduction to the university five years ago.

"On my first meeting with the head of school and the head of my division, I was informed that I was 'not a doctor in Japan' and that I would be assigned to teaching English. I was told to forget about research. This was quite different from the position that I had been led to believe I would hold. However, for the sake of my children, I could not suddenly resign.

(My God! Was he lied to? Deceived? No, Japan is special. That stuff only happens in foreign countries.)

"In the intervening years, every request to the school for research support, and every request for 'kakenhi' (government grants) has been denied...

Pesky Japan-bashing baka gaijin. Causing trouble for pure Japan. Poor Japan, victim yet again.

FULL ARTICLE at Japan Times Online, by Peter Osborne. (Pesky foreign rabble-rouser.)

No comments:

Post a Comment