- 14 Mar 2002
- Reaction score
Under a national government proposal to slash bureaucratic red tape, Kikuchi Municipal Government applied for South Koreans to be permitted to enter Japan without a visa provided they came into the country through Kyushu. But hundreds of protestors swamped the local government with complaints, some saying that allowing foreigners to enter the country without a visa would worsen an already alarming rise in the crime rate and others arguing that Kyushu should be shut off to anybody non-Japanese. Kikuchi Mayor Mitsuo Fukumura, known for his strong affection for South Korea and the driving force behind the proposal, was shattered by the public response.
"I made the proposal to promote friendship between Japan and South Korea, but am shocked by the totally unexpected criticism that it drew," Fukumura said. "I want people to understand why I made the proposal." Foreign Ministry officials have already vetoed Fukumura's plan to have Kyushu recognized as the "Doorway to Asia," saying that it did not meet the guidelines set out under the deregulation plan proposed by the prime minister and hinting that the chances of South Koreans ever being able to enter Japan without a visa are extremely slim.
Some of the protests have been downright racist. Examples include: "Foreigners are already responsible for Japan's rising crime rate. Easing immigration regulations will only make the situation worse; we can't overlook the fact that letting people in without restrictions will only serve to make Kyushu a less safe place to live in"; and, "Kyushu should be closed off to the rest of the world."
Sounds like a carnival joke to me.