An Open Letter to Expats in Japan

Dear Fellow Expats,

I know many of us see Japan as our personal playground and that we wish to have no one and nothing come between us and that idea.  This must change and must change quickly.

There is far too much targeting of Expats in Japan of racism, discrimination, and even violence.  It is time we begin to form an actual community.  I want to explain what I mean.

The rape of a Peruvian girl by 5 classmates in Fujinomiya, Shizuoka highlights the targeting of foreign children and even half children here in Japan.  We can longer see as having the luxury of simply turning our heads and pretending this does not exist - it does exist and has existed.  

Look at the past cases of Lucy Blackman, Lindsay Hawker, and even the anger Japan shows when the truth is tried to be told to the outside world.

We also have to stop playing apologists and being blinded by the cherry blossoms as Henry Scott Stokes and Tony Murano are.  We must begin to see that these attitudes are counter productive to ending the blantant racism and legal discrimination we face in Japan. 

To form a community we must begin to part of the community.  We can do this by feeding the homeless in Japan's cities.  My wife and I do so in Nagoya each Sunday, want to help then send me a comment on this post.  By getting our friends together to clean up a park or picking up trash as a group around a station. 

Anything that shows we are here to do more than get drunk, pick up Japanese women, or just crap on Japan and then leave.  Far too often this has been the MO of expats in Japan and it needs to stop, we long term expats need to start calling out and shaming when we see it.

If we want a change in our treatment then we need to change ourselves and we need to start being united.  I will be honest, Japan's expat community is the weakest united of any country I have lived in.  In Saudi Arabia we held cookouts in parks, in Mexico we worked with locals to keep neighborhoods clean, and in Kenya we helped school kids with their homework.  All of this kept the expat community united and also showed the native population we actually cared about where we lived.

Here in Japan the expats seem to believe that the problems we have are just to be accepted and shrug and play the shoganai game like the locals.  The problem is the locals have the law on their side and we do not.

We need to start speaking out, standing up, and standing united.  We also need to put back into the community in which we live and work and raise our families in.  As a bishop in Japan I would be neglecting my duty if I failed to address this.


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