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Adding a language requirement to the visa application

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RE: Adding a language requirement to the visa application

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 01.16.2008 8:36 pm

Constitutional amendments to make English the official language have been tried, but people in the US tend to be extremely reluctant to pass amendments to the Constitution, no matter what the subject. It's a very hard thing to do.

EDIT: Especially this kind of amendment -- making English the official language is generally associated with conservative Republicans, xenophobia, and anti-immigration. Obviously this is a simplistic and at least partially incorrect association, but it's strong enough to be a deciding force against the passage of such an amendment.
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RE: Adding a language requirement to the visa application

Postby TrashTreasurer » Wed 01.16.2008 9:11 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
Constitutional amendments to make English the official language have been tried, but people in the US tend to be extremely reluctant to pass amendments to the Constitution, no matter what the subject. It's a very hard thing to do.

EDIT: Especially this kind of amendment -- making English the official language is generally associated with conservative Republicans, xenophobia, and anti-immigration. Obviously this is a simplistic and at least partially incorrect association, but it's strong enough to be a deciding force against the passage of such an amendment.


It pains me how what you said about the reluctance to pass amendments is completely true, while so many are completely hell-bent on having the CONSTITUTION define what exactly "marriage" is supposed to mean. I guess that means your comment about conservatives and xenophobes holds true in that case. Oh, and coco-san, your English is great and very understandable, certainly nothing to apologize about.
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RE: Adding a language requirement to the visa application

Postby Ken Pro » Wed 01.16.2008 9:12 pm

Harisenbon wrote:
Ken Pro wrote:
However, I am disturbed by the second part, which asserts that knowing Japanese is "necessary for Japanese society as a whole."

Who gets to say what is "necessary" for Japanese society, in cultural terms? Neo-conservatives, that's who. They always know what's best for the nation.


Are you saying that knowing Japanese is not necessary for Japanese society? I really have no idea why you're so put off by this. If you live in Japan and cannot speak enough Japanesse to survive there, then you are causing a problem both for yourself and those that must then go out of their way to accomidate you and your laziness.


What I am saying is that mandating language proficiency from above is dangerous nationalist policy.

For one, it invents a new bureaucracy adjunct to "security" measures.

For another, it denies the very significant contributions that non-Japanese speakers make to Japan's economy from within Japan. I'm talking about multi-million-dollar deals. What this policy says is "we don't want you," and these people are sure to move their business to a place that has a broader welcome mat (e.g., China).

#3, a stated reason for the policy (anti-terrorism) is ludicrous.

#4. And this answers those comparing Japan's situation with the U.S. vis-a-vis Latinos. A recent statistic showed that 88% of second-generation Latinos in the U.S. speak fluent English. Only 23% of first-generation Latinos could speak fluent English. Roughly half the Latino population increased its English proficiency from one migrated generation to the next. An even more interesting stat is that only 56% of second-generation Latinos say they speak fluent Spanish. While Japan is not the U.S., these statistics suggest that a policy that would have turned away 77% of Latinos wishing to enter the U.S. would have resulted in a net loss of English-speaking Latino immigrants, and who knows what negative effect that loss would have on, not just society, but the economy and culture of the U.S.

What this policy will do is 1) turn Japan into more of a police state, 2) erode Japan's economy even further, 3) make no change in the terrorist threat level, and 4) foreclose the cultural mix it currently enjoys.

All for the sake of "what's right for society."
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RE: Adding a language requirement to the visa application

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 01.16.2008 10:40 pm

while so many are completely hell-bent on having the CONSTITUTION define what exactly "marriage" is supposed to mean.


But notice that this amendment failed too. Amendments on any topic are hard to pass. One problem is that a good portion of the conservative base still believes strongly in states' rights and doesn't want amendments passed to the federal constitution. It's not a coincidence that a high number of the amendments passed in the country's history have to do with issues related to the election system or the national Congress or presidency.
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RE: Adding a language requirement to the visa application

Postby chikara » Wed 01.16.2008 10:52 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
.... Amendments on any topic are hard to pass. ....

I guess the one about the right to wear sleeveless shirts was an exception :D



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RE: Adding a language requirement to the visa application

Postby Wakannai » Thu 01.17.2008 12:18 am

What I am saying is that mandating language proficiency from above is dangerous nationalist policy.

For one, it invents a new bureaucracy adjunct to "security" measures.


Overreact much? Language testing is already established and this hardly calls for some specially trained "language cop" to go around arresting people.
For another, it denies the very significant contributions that non-Japanese speakers make to Japan's economy from within Japan. I'm talking about multi-million-dollar deals.


the Japanese economy is not measured in millions, so if the contribution is only in millions, this is not a significant amount.
#3, a stated reason for the policy (anti-terrorism) is ludicrous.


If you are not going to justify your opinion, then it is useless. Since a large percentage of terrorists never bother to learn the language properly, the argument is perfectly valid.

1) turn Japan into more of a police state,


overreact much? Justify.

2) erode Japan's economy even further,


Not a significant amount.

3) make no change in the terrorist threat level


not a relevant argument since it was never proported to change it.

4) foreclose the cultural mix it currently enjoys.


again, overreact much?
Only 23% of first-generation Latinos could speak fluent English.


You bolded the wrong sentence. 23% means 77% of first generation Latinos are a burden on society.

English-speaking Latino immigrants, and who knows what negative effect that loss would have on, not just society, but the economy and culture of the U.S.


Who knows what positive effect that loss would have on not just society but the economy and culture of the U.S.

People that can't speak the language well cannot hold skilled jobs. A large percentage of the jobs they do hold are under-the-table jobs, that avoid paying taxes. Then there are all of the BILLIONS of dollars, according to a newspaper article I read, in reduced infrastructure costs.

As for culture. We don't have a culture, not really. The only way we can develop a culture is to stop immigration to the point where it stops diluting what little we have before it can develop into something truly cohesive. Right now it's really just a Mixture.
Last edited by Wakannai on Thu 01.17.2008 12:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Adding a language requirement to the visa application

Postby chikara » Thu 01.17.2008 1:02 am

Wakannai wrote:
.... Since a large percentage of terrorists never bother to learn the language properly, the argument is perfectly valid. .....

Source?

Ikuo Hayashi, Kenichi Hirose, Toru Toyoda, Tomomitsu Niimi, Kiyotaka Tonozaki, Yasuo Hayashi, Shigeo Sugimoto, Masato Yokoyama and Kiyotaka Tonozaki probably never bothered to learn Japanese properly.

My understanding is that the majority, if not all, of the 11 September 2000 terrorists had quite passable English.

Wakannai wrote:
I had that very problem this morning.

I was at mcdonalds. I ordered a #1 OJ instead of coffee....

I was staying at a Sofitel in Minneapolis and I asked the waiter if they had any "fresh fruit".

"Of course we have French food sir, this is a French restaurant."
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RE: Adding a language requirement to the visa application

Postby Ken Pro » Thu 01.17.2008 2:00 am

Wakannai wrote:

Since a large percentage of terrorists never bother to learn the language properly, the argument is perfectly valid.


Aum Shinrikyo seemed to know Japanese fairly well. They graduated from top Japanese universities, after all.

Wakannai wrote:
77% of first generation Latinos are a burden on society.


Be sure to say that out loud, in public, next time you see one.
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RE: Adding a language requirement to the visa application

Postby arbalest71 » Thu 01.17.2008 2:00 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:

The claim that this is being done to benefit immigrants I personally find to be highly dubious; obviously the fact that this issue is coming up at all means that immigrants are managing to live successfully in Japan without Japanese ability.


I couldn't agree more with this. I lived in a section of Brooklyn where native English speakers might have been the largest linguistic group, but in which they definitely did not not constitute a plurality. I don't think that the Guatemalan woman who worked at the convenience store next to my house would have been happy to be deported because she spoke no English, so it's hard for me to think that such a law would have been to her benefit. The same could be said of the FOB delivery-girl who brought me a botched order from down the street- I don't know how we would have worked that out if I hadn't spoken (barely) enough Chinese to be able to explain it to her, but I'm pretty sure she preferred that dilemma to those she left- if she didn't, she could go back.

But I guess we're not supposed to discuss politics here.


Well, the barn door has been open overnight in this thread. As far as US policy goes I would not want to see the state mandate English in that way, but I'd also not like to see the state make too many concessions to non-English speakers... of course you can't try someone criminally without providing adequate translation services gratis, but short of that... I'd rather not pay taxes for paperwork in 15 languages for every trivial function of local government. People respond to incentives.

Japan is a different case. The US is not homogenous- to say that someone is American says nothing about their ethnicity or cultural background. To say that someone is Japanese does. I can't blame the Japanese for wanting to keep Japan Japanese, but... if they don't start having a few more babies the point will become moot anyway- I think that this measure has a whiff of displaced hysteria about it, due to demographic decline.
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RE: Adding a language requirement to the visa application

Postby Ken Pro » Thu 01.17.2008 2:37 am

arbalest71 wrote:
I can't blame the Japanese for wanting to keep Japan Japanese, but... if they don't start having a few more babies the point will become moot anyway- I think that this measure has a whiff of displaced hysteria about it, due to demographic decline.


That's a really good point. With the population shrinking in Japan, it's going to need an influx of migrant labor to help manufacturing and service. I would think they'd want to be more inclusive at this stage, to improve their economy and take care of their rapidly growing elderly population.

[EDITED TO REMOVE LOTS OF OVER-THE-TOP POLITICAL STUFF]
Last edited by Ken Pro on Thu 01.17.2008 2:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Adding a language requirement to the visa application

Postby Harisenbon » Thu 01.17.2008 2:44 am

chikara wrote:
I was staying at a Sofitel in Minneapolis and I asked the waiter if they had any "fresh fruit".
"Of course we have French food sir, this is a French restaurant."


See, that's what I'm saying? Aussies should be required to take an English test before coming to America! ;) It would relieve so many burdens on the poor waiters and waitresses.
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RE: Adding a language requirement to the visa application

Postby chikara » Thu 01.17.2008 3:04 am

You mean an "American test" :D

The biggest problem is all these people want to listen to us speak, "I just looooove your accent", but they hardly understand a word we say :(
Last edited by chikara on Thu 01.17.2008 3:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Adding a language requirement to the visa application

Postby coco » Thu 01.17.2008 7:07 am

RpgN wrote:
I wonder how strict they are going to be. Is it good enough to speak the language but not as a native speaker? And how about reading and writing?

Details are not decided yet.
Commonly, this kind of issue takes at least 2 years from the start of the committee to the enforcement law.

In my opinion, JLPT3 level would be fit this requirement since it " has the ability to take part in everyday conversation and to read and write simple sentences".

Ken Pro wrote:
What this policy will do is 1) turn Japan into more of a police state, 2) erode Japan's economy even further, 3) make no change in the terrorist threat level, and 4) foreclose the cultural mix it currently enjoys.

All for the sake of "what's right for society."

Thanks for your concern with Japanese economy and Japan's reputation.
Of course these negative factors are going to be discussed on the committee.
( I didn't see why you mentioned about terrorist, though. )
But we need to have measures against our detriment which are brought by foreign residents who don't try to communicate with local society in local language. 

Do you think Japanese society should pay for hiring of interpreters to explain every social systems and rules, and have to accommodate quarrels, which caused by a lack of language ability, between they and local people?

Our national language is Japanese. 
Discommunication between local society and non-Japanese-speaking people brings serious frictions. Some of them start to make their own society inside of Japanese society. The rules and regulations that should be respected are disregarded. Then Japanese people are forced to get away from there.

Should Japanese people, instead of them, learn their native language to communicate with them?

I don't think most Japanese people gladly accept the people as neighbors, if they say "I want to live in Japan, but don't need to communicate with local people in local language."

turn Japan into more of a police state,

I don't think so. But if the requirement of language ability for a foreigner who wants to stay long-term meant to be a "police state", to become a police state doesn't seem so bad to me. You already believe that Japan is a police state, regardless of this issue, don't you?

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Last edited by coco on Thu 01.17.2008 7:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Adding a language requirement to the visa application

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 01.17.2008 9:26 am

Discommunication between local society and non-Japanese-speaking people brings serious frictions. Some of them start to make their own society inside of Japanese society. The rules and regulations that should be respected are disregarded. Then Japanese people are forced to get away from there.


Usually what happens in these cases is that the second-generation immigrants are able to learn the language and assimilate more into the culture. But this is a general "problem" (if you want to call it that) with immigration in general, not just immigrants without Japanese ability. I think that even if someone can speak Japanese, they may still make their own society within Japan if there are enough foreigners like them. This is what has happened in the US.
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RE: Adding a language requirement to the visa application

Postby Mike Cash » Thu 01.17.2008 9:30 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
I think that even if someone can speak Japanese, they may still make their own society within Japan if there are enough foreigners like them. This is what has happened in the US.


It is happening in Japan as well. There are towns around me which years ago looked like Japanese towns with a small Brazilian presence. Now (parts of) those towns look like Brazilian towns with a Japanese presence.
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