Tuesday, May 10, 2005


In Japan it seems, once a foreigner, eternally a foreigner. There are cultural pioneers from abroad who have been permanent residents of Tokyo for well over a hundred years now, but their visas are no good. Many were here soon after Japan peeked out the gates after 300 years of isolation from foreign influence.

The foreigners in question reside in graves in the Gaijin bochi (foreign section) of Aoyama Cemetery (and others) in Tokyo. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government wants them out of there, to make a park amidst the Japanese graves. They say its simply because the foreigners’ grave fees haven't been paid, as required by law; after a certain date, control of the plots reverts to the TMG.

But a curious codicil to the law says that only relatives can pay the fees! As long-ago foreign residents, it’s unlikely that they'd have living relatives in the vicinity. Very convenient for mass deportation.

My own Permanent Residency was hard enough to get; may not be worth it, in the really long run…



Foreign Section Trust

[Also posted at Blogcritics]

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