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Japan has the same issues as the U.S.

DISCUSSIONS | May 31, 2006

Satoshi Yoshida, Kyoto

1978 Nieman fellow; chief editor, economic news, Kyodo News

I think Japan is the one of a few countries that understands and supports U.S policy. By U.S. policy, I mean the policy of Bush Administration.

People in Japan can share the fears of the threat of terrorism. The main reason is that Japanese experienced chemical terrorism in 1995 when an occult religious group spread the chemical Sarin in the Tokyo subways, killing 12 persons and injuring 5,510.

The second reason is that Japan, as other industrial countries, has same issues. It is facing a big increase of immigrants and workers, especially from China, South America or Middle-Eastern countries, such as Iran. 

Through experiencing crime and violence by these foreigners, Japanese people have begun to feel the lack of social security or safety, which the U.S. had experienced during the twentieth century.

The third reason is that as China is emerging as a giant trade nation, people in Japan, particularly among the younger generation, are getting more nationalistic to compete against their neighbors.

The fourth is perhaps that most Japanese lack familiarity with Islamic values. Most people think Islamism is the opposite value to Japanese traditional thinking, which is based on Buddhism.

Although Japan seems to be getting more nationalistic, like the U.S.A after 9/11, I am personally concerned about these unilateral trends. People don’t want the U.S. to abandon its own attractive history. As a great experimental nation, the U.S.A has been admired and appreciated for her generosity, plurality, kindness and transparency. I hope it can keep these universal good traditions…Or am I too much an old timer?

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