Each party’s manifesto on foreigner issues

I found this page linked to everyone’s manifesto (the Happiness Realisation Party doesn’t have a link – I suspect that means if you have to ask you won’t want to vote for them), so I decided to try to find how each stands on immigration and the like.

Democratic Party of Japan

The only mention of foreigners directly is in increasing the number of visitors to Japan to 18 million by 2016, by promoting eco-tourism, easing visa restrictions, Cool Japan TV programs to promote Japanese culture, etc. However, in the human rights section there is vague wording about ratifying international protocols, which could include the Hague Convention on Child Abduction, and explicitly mentions the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Incidentally, 9 out of 10 for their web presence. A rather dull front page, but it has links to the PDF (with full searchable text), a text version, and an audio version.

Liberal Democratic Party

On their rather over-designed manifesto page there is talk of introducing a lecturer internship program to train (Japanese) global leaders, which perhaps might imply more temporary foreign lecturers? However, apart from some Cool Japan nonsense, barely a thing on internationalisation in any form.

2 out of 10 for their web presence. A CSS/HTML 5 flashy presentation, but all graphical and not searchable, then a tiny link to the PDF, which has no searchable text either.

Nippon Future Party

They are pro joint custody for children of divorcees, and they explicitly mention they wish to rid Japan of the image of being a Nation of Abductors by rapidly ratifying the Hague Convention, and also forbidding domestic abduction.

1 out of 10 for their web presence. A single page that looks hacked up in a basic page builder, and their manifesto is one enormous GIF!

New Komeito

They target 25 million tourists by 2020, with the usual Cool Japan, easing of visa restrictions, etc. Regarding education, they will offer financial support for high school and university students to study overseas, and support job-seeking activities by foreigners who graduate from Japanese universities. Furthermore, they will support foreign kids who wish to enter the Japanese school system.

7 out of 10 for their web presence. Nothing flashy, nor Flash-y, but it does the job and is all lovely searchable text.

Japan Communist Party

Surprisingly, about the only mention of foreigners was regarding making all international schools (that means the North Korean ones especially) free.

5 out of 10 for their web presence. Very basic and plain presentation, but everything is text searchable. I was tempted to take a point off for the downright creepy photo of the party leader on their manifesto cover.

Your Party

One interesting international issue was to make it mandatory for ministers and the prime minister to attend international conferences and not use attendance at the Diet as an excuse for not attending them. They also wish to test Japanese teachers of English against TOEFL, etc, although they don’t say what they will do with people who don’t come up to scratch. They also wish to increase foreign university students from the current 140,000 to 300,000. Regarding the TPP, they are very much for it, and as part of that they want to improve working conditions and visa regulations to make it easier for foreigners to work here, but while cracking down on illegal immigrants; they also want to crack down on Yakuza and foreign gangs. They also wish to urgently increase the number of foreign nurses and caregivers. Foreigners will not get the vote; they should naturalise.

4 out of 10 for their web presence. Very basic and plain presentation, but everything is text searchable. One point off for the party leader doing a duck face on their manifesto cover.

Social Democratic Party

As befitting social democrats, they mention foreigners often in their manifesto, as they wish to give them equal access to services as citizens. They particularly single out Kawasaki City Representative Assembly for Foreign Residents as a model for the rest of the country.

2 out of 10 for their web presence. There is no web site, just a straight link to the PDF, 62 pages of densely-packed text.

Japan Restoration Party

Not a single word about anything foreign, except for China and the Senkaku islands.

3 out of 10 for their web presence. No web site here either, but an easily-digestible 10 page summary of their policies.

People’s New Party

Not a single word about foreigners.

2 out of 10 for their web presence. Exceptionally basic web site that links to an unsearchable PDF.

New Party Daichi

As befits a one-man party from Hokkaido, his very brief policy statement includes the elimination of discrimination against the Ainu (Hokkaido’s aboriginal people) and other minorities.

3 out of 10 for their web presence. At least the manifesto is short (one page) and to the point.

New Party Nippon

Not a single word about foreigners.

0 out of 10 for the web presence. It looks like the party leader’s 10 year old kid designed the PDF.

New Renaissance Party

They want to double the number of foreign university students coming to Japan.

2 out of 10 for the web presence. A rather text-dense PDF, but at least it is searchable.

Leave a comment

33 Comments.

  1. Thinking realistically about this, I don’t expect any party to mention anything about internationalization or foreign resident welfare, because that’s not what is going to win them votes. They’re sticking to the talking points that are going to motivate grandma and grandpa to come to the polls, so I get it.

    The only issue that the average voter would even recognize would likely be the training of foreign nurses and medical staff — at least that gets on the news. But even then, the goal isn’t “creating new opportunities for immigrants”, it’s “who’s going to take care of our elderly?”

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  2. I will say this for the DPJ, however — they have an English web site.

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  3. The link prominently displayed, I mean.

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  4. I’m being totally serious when I ask: Does ‘Cool Japan’ exist anymore? I generally try to keep up with all the current trends, but it seems like the heyday for cashing in on this phenomenon was at least a couple of years ago. Anime isn’t pulling the same crowds anymore, Japanese games are all but dying overseas, and Fukushima really put a damper on the entire tourism industry (I’m still seeing Facebook posts from SE Asia — mainly Singapore — with people saying you need to avoid Japan or you won’t be able to have kids for 10 years).

    J-pop and Visual-kei music are also slowly getting replaced by K-pop as evidenced by the massive popularity of Psy and Girl’s Generation, and it seems to a certain extent that Korea is sharing some of the ‘Cool’ spotlight.

    I will include the disclaimer that I’m well into my 30s now, so it could be that I’m just not interested in the ‘Cool’ aspect of Japan. It just seems to me that it was a product of the 80s and can’t really be relied on anymore to generate the kind of tourism numbers they are looking for; especially considering the exchange rate.

    Great post, btw. Glad to have all this info in once place.

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  5. @George
    if you rely on facebook posts as a source for tourism trends, that all but throws out any credibility you may have. Actually, the Fukushima accident seems to be having less an effect on tourism numbers than the yen exchange rate and the Senkaku issue. Tourism from Taiwan and SE Asia have actually risen since pre-earthqauke levels:
    http://ajw.asahi.com/article/economy/business/AJ201211170031

    http://www.tourism.jp/english/statistics/inbound.php

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  6. @Andrew in Ezo:

    Ha ha, I never said I had any credibility. I’m simply speaking of ‘Cool Japan’ in anecdotal terms. And ‘Cool Japan’ relies on Japan being cool, so with wild rumors floating about I (mistakenly) thought it could be affecting tourism numbers from those regions.

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  7. For those of you who can vote, just remember – a vote for anyone other than the DPJ is a vote for the LDP.

    Want to vote for that SDP whiney hag with the Queen Amidala collars on her suits? Congratulations – you’ve just put one in the ballot box for Abe.

    Want to vote for Uncle Fester of the JCP? Abe Shinzo says “Thanks for voting for me!”

    Think the way to get change is to vote for a senile 80-year-old and his rebel-without-a-clue-who-has-a-cosplay-fetish sidekick? Your honorary LDP membership card will be hand-delivered to you by Ishiba himself!

    And no, I am NOT going to tell you which eye of his you should look at when talking to him. ‘Cause I don’t know either.

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  8. @George:

    I can’t find the study right now, but in income terms, Japanese cultural exports have apparently been shooting up in the past fifteen years. Manga is probably more widespread globally than ever before, and a lot of exports are kind of invisible or have the “Japan” elements removed: there’s a lot of re-makes of Japanese dramas in other parts of Asia, for example. So even if the “Japan” cultural brand is weaker, what’s being made in Japan is selling better than ever.

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  9. I don’t know about anyone else, but the problems I face in Japan (that politicians can address) have nothing to do with me being a foreigner. I want better childcare provision and protection for working mothers, investment in schools, a proper energy policy, a healthier economy…

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  10. @No-way-da:

    Could you please explain your logic? Because your comment seems to be at odds with how parliamentary democracies actually work.

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  11. @Nana Shi:

    Quite simple. Say you vote for the Communists.

    Are they going to win? No.

    Even if they did win, are they going to enter into a coalition with either of the two parties who are capable of forming a majority coalition (the DPJ and LDP)? Again, no.

    So in terms of having an impact on national governance, that vote for the JCP (or SDP or Minna no Tou or anyone aside from the DPJ and LDP) might as well not have been cast. It is meaningless.

    The one exception to this rule being a vote for Komeito, but honestly, one should just cut the middleman and vote directly for the LDP if one supports Komeito. A bunch of evangelical schizoids who want to be in the LDP without being in the LDP, the whole lot of them.

    Now, since a vote for any of the umpteen “other” parties is not going to help anyone, the question becomes “who gets hurt”. To answer that you ust have to think “what do all these little parties have in common?” The answer: “They all hate the LDP.” That would apply to the people who vote for them as well. Yes, there are people out there who would align themselves philosophically with the LDP but would vote for an LDP alternative if it existed. These people are called “Soka Gakkai members”, and they vote for Komeito.

    But everyone else is basically sick of the LDP and is voting in opposition to them when they vote for another party. Which means they are splitting the anti-LDP vote and in a very real way ensuring that the LDP gets back in power. They have done this for decades. The LDP used to “win” elections with only 40-some percent of the vote. The other 50+ percent was split over all these other parties who would never, ever shake hands and work with all the other guys on “their side” of the aisle. Perhaps that happens in other countries, but it has never, and almost certainly will never, happen here.

    That means that if you don’t want to see Prime Minister Abe Redux (or reflux), you damn well better vote for the DPJ.

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  12. @VK:

    VK, I certainly understand that if you look at a span of 15 years you’re going to see huge increases. But when you narrow that amount of time down to about the past 5 years, at least in terms of games, the backbone of the Cool Japan industry is doing pretty terrible:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/video-games-sales-slump-continues-132931552.html

    Sales of manga, at least in the US, have dropped by 43% since 2007:
    http://io9.com/5874951/why-manga-publishing-is-dying-and-how-it-could-get-better

    It’s hard to gather worldwide data, but the general trends from what I’ve seen are down all over the place. It just seems as though the whole Cool Japan or soft power trend is in decline. I’m not sure political parties should be focusing on something like this anymore.

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  13. @VK:
    Pretty much the same boat I’m in. The issues that affect me and my family affect everyone in Japan. ‘Foreigner Issues’ just aren’t a contributing factor.

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  14. The games ‘slump’ is not just Japanese games; and I don’t think it reflects on Cool Japan at all. The numbers are a function of the tail-end of one console cycle and transition to the next one – but they’re also indicative (as the article points out) of a shift away from physical product and old pay-per-download models towards free-to-play social game styles (or maybe a ‘broadening out’ is a better way of putting it than ‘shift away’). In any case, Japanese companies continue to be at the forefront of that transition – DeNA/Mobage has launched several successful games in the US and west recently, and companies like Konami, Sega, Square Enix etc. are all only starting to focus their attentions on exporting their expertise in social gaming to the west.

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  15. (And, of course, in terms of ‘cool’ – ie. non-mainstream, culturally significant games – Japanese companies continue to be at the forefront anyway, eg. individuals like Suda 51 and games like Resident Evil 6 and the new Platinum Metal Gear game…)

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  16. beneaththewheel

    @No-way-da:

    I dislike that attitude. There’s more to voting than the winner of this one election. There’s building a party base, and media attention for future elections, as well as potential parties that will have a strong voice in a coalition. Both LDP and DPJ need to shrivel up and die.

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  17. @beneaththewheel:

    Tactical voting doesn’t have to be cynical. It’s practical.

    The problem is, proper political parties capable of dominating don’t just appear overnight. At the moment there are a whole bunch of parties that are little more than vehicles for egoistical individuals. They don’t really stand for anything (wtf are “Minna no to” or “Mirai no to” apart from that?). I suspect they will likely fold/be absorbed when the leaders go off and do something else, with the exception of Komeito, the LDP, the Communists and possibly the DPJ and SDP.

    An anti-LDP vote, if spread among several parties, many of whom are former/semi-detached LDP members, will lead to the LDP being stronger, and all these parties being weak. Meaning that no effective counterbalance to the LDP remains. The electoral system is not perfectly proportional: it is biased towards parties with bigger shares: in 2009, the DPJ won around 45% of the popular vote, and got 65% of the seats in the lower house.

    And personally speaking, unless there’s a party you feel passionate about or loyal to, I can’t see what’s wrong with tactical voting. Thinking about the best use of your vote if one of your main priorities is preventing another specific party gaining power, is not cynical or unreasonable.

    I suspect that the DPJ will slowly go up in the polls before election day because it’s the clearest, most familiar alternative to LDP and Ishin. At least some of the population are going to vote tactically.

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  18. @beneaththewheel

    “I dislike that attitude.”

    Personally I prefer an attitude of “vote for a clear winner who you agree with” but when faced with a choice between “undesirable but tolerable” and “dear lord no” what do you recommend?

    “There’s more to voting than the winner of this one election.”

    No, there isn’t, really. Not with the players Japan has on the court.

    “There’s building a party base,”

    Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but aside from the SDP, JCP and Komeito, all of whom already have their base, have had it for decades, and still can’t win, there is no party to build a base for. Everything else is a vanity party. One (or two…) man shows who as often as not show that they hold most of the electorate in contempt.

    “and media attention for future elections,”

    Please don’t give that Osaka attention whore and his geriatric Tourrette’s-suffering partner any ideas…

    “as well as potential parties that will have a strong voice in a coalition.”

    But that’s exactly the point – none of the “other” parties would form a coalition anyway! Or even if they did, it would blow up in spectacular fashion in short order, and then we’re back to square one.

    “Both LDP and DPJ need to shrivel up and die.”

    I don’t disagree – or at least, both parties in their current forms need to shrivel up and die. We need an major party that stands for something other than “We’re not the LDP” (or: “We’re not the DPJ – now put us back in control already!” However, here and now, one of those two parties is going to take control on December 16. Has to. There isn’t much to choose from between them, but I know which one is the lesser of two evils.

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  19. @VK: Your Party have actually got just about the best thought-out manifesto of the lot, so I wouldn’t dismiss them as just a vanity party.

    I would dismiss Japan Future Party, because of this:

    http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/politics/news/CK2012112902000106.html

    「再稼働あり得ない」”I cannot imagine nuclear restarts”

    Two days later:

    http://mainichi.jp/select/news/20121201k0000e010199000c.html

    「政府の判断あれば」”If the government decides, we can restart”

    :facepalm:

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  20. @Ken Y-N:

    My point is that if Watanabe dropped dead tomorrow, Minna no to would collapse. Before any manifesto, the party is Watanabe. You’d be voting for him as a politician far more than any platform he’s put forward.

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  21. beneaththewheel

    Just a quick note that I find the current talk about a Japanese person writing about the horrors of America on that site is very ironic.

    Yes, she is focusing only on the negatives of a foreign country, and completely ignoring the negatives of her own country. How annoying that must be for citizens of that foreign country.

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  22. beneaththewheel

    As for people’s replies to me (VK No-way-da), for the most part all I can say is “I stand corrected”. The only truly ideological parties are perhaps the JCP and SDP, and while I kind of like the latter, their current standing at 0.5% them near the very bottom.

    VK’s point about the parties folding without the leader I found especially breaking to my argument. :oops:

    I’m now hypothetically voting for Noda, but still feel completely overwhelmed by the election this time. :shock:

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  23. I’m hypothetically voting for this dude.

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  24. FWIW, the Happiness Realization Party’s policy page is here.

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  25. @the 2-Belo
    Exodus 15:3

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  26. @The 2-Belo: :lol:

    OK, this guy gets all the hypothetical votes I can muster!

    The Japanese page is even more revealing. He wants various politicians to commit seppuku, but since the United States doesn’t have that tradition, he’s willing to let George W. Bush stick his head in a guillotine instead. (You’d think Hollande and Sarkozy would be at the head of that line…)

    :lol:

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  27. I can’t vote, but if I could I’d choose the DPJ for the following reasons:
    * Noda’s policies are decent and responsible.
    * The DPJ has rid itself of Ozawa and Hatoyama.
    * The LDP is going to greatly increase regional tensions by removing Article 9 of the constitution, celebrating a Takeshima Day and rewriting school textbooks.
    * Isshin no kai is even more right wing than the LDP. Ishihara created this recent battle with China.
    * Mirai no To’s policies would bankrupt the country by almost tripling the child care allowance, refusing to increase the consumption tax and removing nuclear power plants within 10 years.

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  28. @Tony Bruin:

    The LDP, or any other party, can’t unilaterally amend or modify the Constitution. They can try, but you still need a >66% majority vote of BOTH the House of Councillors & the House of Representatives, and THEN it must be ratified by a >50% vote by all voting citizens.

    They can talk, the can propose, they can try, but they can’t do it by themselves, even if they are the majority party.

    There’s a reason why the Japanese Constitution has never been amended. It’s hard — on purpose — to prevent reactionary moves like this.

    See Article 96:

    http://www.ndl.go.jp/constitution/e/etc/c01.html#s9

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  29. @havill: Thanks for pointing that out – a lot of people seem to have the amending of the constitution as a foregone conclusion.

    By the way, that’s a simple majority of those who turn out, isn’t it. I read your comment as 50% of the total electorate. :???:

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  30. Very helpful info. Havill.
    Thanks :smile:

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  31. My better half is going through a process of elimination, in roughly this order: Not LDP (no way on God’s earth). Not Komeito. Not JCP. Not Ishin. Not Mirai or YP. Not SDP…

    I suspect she’s not alone in choosing like this.

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  32. @Tony Bruin:

    “Ishihara created this recent battle with China.”

    China created this recent battle with China.

    FTFY. :wink:

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  33. Does anyone know if there is a link somewhere on-line to an English-language version of the LDP part manifesto that they released on Nov. 21, 2012? I would greatly appreciate it, thanks!!

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