Friday, January 22, 2010

Should Gaijins vote  外国人に参政権をあげるべきですか?

Recently, there has been some talk of giving foreigners with permanent residence the right to vote in local elections.


I must say that I am totally against this plan. I know too many foreigners with permanent residence that are very strange people. They do not speak Japanese, and of course cannot read or write in Japanese.


So how can they make a decision on who to vote for? How can they understand a candidate's position, and the needs of their community? This whole concept is a farce.


In fact, I think that fluency in the Japanese language should be a requirement for permanent residency. Permanent residents have the right to apply for welfare. I know too many English teacher type Gaijins who have permanent residency, but cannot find work in Japan.


The English teaching boom is over, we don't need so many foreign teachers. Permanent residence allows a Gaijin to perform any job in Japan. So it should only be given to those who have the language skills to perform any job.


And yes, I understand the situation of special permanent residents, such as Koreans born and grown up in Japan. But even though their ancestors came from Korea, they are born and grown up in Japan, for all practical purposes they are Japanese. They should take Japanese nationality.


As for myself, I consider myself a German. Germany is my ancestral land. But I have never been to Germany. I was born and grew up in the United States, and English is my first language. My passport is American.


And although I live in Japan, I vote in American elections by absentee ballot. In a year or two, I will apply for Japanese nationality, and then I will vote in Japan.


But I strongly believe that voting rights should only come with citizenship.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

America enters 2010 アメリカは2010年に成りました。

In the town of Moberly, in the state of Missouri in America, there is an elementary school. There is something going on in this school. Every friday afternoon, 106 backpacks are placed in a certain location. And every one is taken by a child.


The backpacks are filled with food. The situation is, the school serves the children breakfast and lunch on schooldays. But for many children, that is all the food that eat. They have nothing at night, and nothing on Saturdays and Sundays.


Since many children live in single parent homes, and the parent must work, there may not be someone to prepare the food. So the backpacks are filled with simple things a child can do by themselves. Cans of soup, fruit, and pasta, cereal bars and cans of juice.


The fact is, their parents simply cannot afford to buy enough food. When I wrote the first paragraph for this article, I wanted to use the words rare, or perhaps unusual in describing this. But that sad fact is that many schools across America have programs like this.


Official American statistics show that in 2008 12% of Americans did not have enough to eat. In 2009 the figure has risen to 16%.


At the end of 2009, many of the executives of the investment Goldman Sachs applied for gun permits. They were afraid that once their extremely high bonus figures were published in the media, they might face public anger, and have to defend themselves.


In the last few decades, there has been a massive transfer of wealth in America. The top 1% of the population has become much richer. The status of the other 99% has stayed the same or fallen. And the numbers of people whose income is dropping is increasing.


A large part of this is due to financial companies like Goldman Sachs. The trades these companies conducted were complex, many average people were duped, or simply cheated. And their collapse in the fall of 2008 threatened the world economy. Yet the US government bailed them out with taxpayer money, and they have merrily continued their dangerous financial trades.


While we cannot predict the future with certainty, it is my guess that in 2010 the gap between the very few rich and the rest of Americans will continue to widen. And that the numbers of truly desperate people will continue to grow.


This cannot mean a healthy America.