Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Comment On The Number Of Permanent Residents

Found a mistake in Yuka Hayashi's report on the xenophobes making life miserable for the residents of Shin-Okubo:
Anti-Korean Voices Grow in Japan
The Wall Street Journal

As Japanese nationalism is fueled by friction with neighbors over territories and World War II legacy issues, hostile demonstrations against the country's Korean residents are gathering steam, raising concerns among political leaders and setting off soul-searching among Japan's largely homogeneous population.

While attendance at the rallies is small and such extreme actions are far from entering the mainstream of Japanese politics, the demonstrations of nationalist activists using hate speech and intimidation have grown in size and frequency in recent months. One target has been the central Tokyo neighborhood of Shin-Okubo, known for Korean restaurants and shops selling South Korean pop-culture goods. Starting in February, groups of 200 or so demonstrators have descended on its busy weekend streets, waving Japanese flags and carrying signs that read "Roaches" and "Go Back to Korea." They shouted in unison: "Let's Kill Koreans," language that passersby told local television they found shocking.


Many of the virulent rallies are organized by a conservative group called Zaitokukai and organizations that are sympathetic to it. The group was formed in 2006 to protest against "special privileges," such as welfare payments, that it says are abused by ethnic Koreans, who make up 99% of foreign permanent residents in Japan. Its membership has grown to 13,000 from 10,000 two years ago, according to its website. Unlike Japan's traditional right-wing organizations that have gathered members through grass-root groups, Zaitokukai relies on the Internet to attract members. Videos of its rallies and speeches are made available on YouTube and used as a recruitment tool...

In 2011, which is the most recent year for which there are comprehensive figures, Japan had 2,078,508 non-Japanese residents. Of these, 987,525 had permanent residence status. Of these, 598,440 were "permanent residents" and another 389,085 were "special permanent residents."

Of the "permanent residents" 60,262 were citizens of either the Republic of Korea or the Democratic Republic of Korea. Of the "special permanent residents" 385,232 were either ROK or DPRK passport holders.

So it is not true that ethnic Koreans "make up 99% of foreign permanent residents in Japan."

What is true is that 99% of the holders of special permanent resident status are ethnic Koreans -- many of whom cannot speak Korean and who lost their Japanese citizenship in 1945 or are the children or grandchildren or great-grand children of such persons.

But then, being an ethnic Korean who lost Japanese citizenship or whose ancestors lost their Japanese citizenship is ostensibly what "special permanent resident" status means.

The total number of Koreans (ROK+DPRK) of all statuses living in Japan in 2011 was 545,401. This puts Koreans in second place among nationalities, below the Chinese at 674,879 and way ahead of the Brazilians at 210,032 (who themselves just barely pipped the Filipinos, who numbered 209,376 in 2011 and who likely have since passed the Brazilians to take over the #3 spot).

I suspect that an editor's zeal was involved in the error.

Then again, if not for the error, I would not have looked up the official figures. And I would have remained ignorant as to the most recent statistics on foreign residents.

So it is all to the good.

No comments: