[KS] voting rights [was: Koreans in Japan]
k u s h i b o
jdh95 at hitel.net
Sun Sep 3 17:37:22 EDT 2000
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Dr. John Caruso Jr. wrote:
> This report is from March 2000 - does anyone know if the Japanese diet
> approved letting Koreans vote in local elections?
> More political rights for Koreans in Japan
> Ethnic Koreans who gained permanent residency status in Japan will enjoy
> more political rights, including the right to vote during local elections.
> This is what visiting Japanese foreign minister Yohei Kono told the Korean
> foreign minister during his visit to Korea. The right to vote has been
> incorporated in a bill which the Japanese parliament will most likely pass
> in May. The visiting Japanese foreign minister also visited an apartment
> complex outside Seoul occupied by hundreds of ethnic Koreans who moved into
> South Korea from the Russian island of Sakhalin. The Japanese brought
> 43,000 of them there to work in coalmines and airstrips during World War II.
> The Seoul government began accepting them as citizens in 1992.
I often have CNN-I playing in the background at my home, and while coming
out of the shower a couple days ago, I thought I heard them mention
something significant having been done in relation to the bill. But alas, I
could find nothing about it on-line.
Given that, according to the *chaeil kyopo* that I know, becoming
"naturalized" as a Japanese citizen isn't particularly difficult for the
majority of Japanese-born Korean passport-holders, this situation with the
Korean citizens in Japan is rather interesting.
I am not for a moment denying that there is systemic discrimination against
ethnic Koreans, Taiwanese, and Okinawans, or that obtaining Japanese
citizenship eliminates all discrimination. But, one must put this into some
perspective. Even in the US, the rough equivalent (i.e., green card holders)
don't share all the rights and privileges of those with full citizenship.
For example, while in college I've held several jobs from which a green card
holder would likely have been barred (summer jobs in the defense industry
that required security passes), or so I was told. Granted, though, the
restrictions on "foreigners" in Japan are far more extensive, and involve
far wider portions of the economic spectrum.
But consider this voting issue. Could you imagine allowing green card
holders in the US to vote for mayors, city council members, county
supervisors, state representatives, or governors? (I'm not sure how far up
these proposed voting rights would go in Japan). Personally, I don't see
anything wrong with it. After all, such people (i.e., green card holders in
the US and ethnic Koreans in Japan without Japanese citizenship) do
contribute to the local economy and they pay into the local tax base, so
they ought to have some say as to what kind of policies are put forth to
spend their tax dollars and tax yen, and any other policy that affects their
But I don't think it would play in Peoria. I'm from a state where one side
of the political spectrum frequently uses immigrant phobia to try to whip
the native-born public up into a frenzy, and I just don't see this kind of
thing happening there. But I do see the offering of such rights as a way to
prevent immigrant-bashing, so it would be a nice step in the evolution of
Voting rights for rich, White, male citizens.
Voting rights for White, male citizens.
Voting rights for male citizens.
Voting rights for citizens.
Voting rights for citizens and permanent residents.
Just some early morning thoughts.
K U S H I B O
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