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Tsuruta’s Blog (September 2023)

"Hello everyone, how are you all doing? This summer has been quite hot, hasn't it? I've also noticed that the sound of cicadas in the park has been scarce lately. I wonder why there are so few of them now, especially the oil cicadas, which used to be common. Instead, the 'minmin cicadas' seem to be more prevalent.

Speaking of changes, Tokyo has seen a significant increase in the number of foreigners. It's hard to tell whether the economy is doing well or not, as in the past, economic conditions often mirrored the overall state of the nation. However, many small-scale businesses in the food and beverage industry are struggling due to a shortage of workers, and some are even closing down. It seems like Japan is entering an era where such businesses will be naturally selected.

Since the era of COVID-19, the way we do business has changed significantly. Japan is rapidly aging, and more women who used to stay at home are now joining the workforce. Communication with foreigners has become a challenge, and foreign children are facing difficulties in Japanese schools. However, in the future, foreigners may interact more in English, both for work and leisure, which could lead to fewer of them learning Japanese, as it's considered quite a challenging language.

The number of foreigners coming to Japan is expected to increase further, and if Japanese schools don't adapt well, we may face problems similar to those in France, Germany, the UK, Spain, and Portugal, where laborers from overseas are only employed for unpleasant tasks and then sent back to their home countries. Japan is surrounded by the sea, but this issue could become a significant concern in the future.

Looking back, the United Kingdom acquired the United States and eventually, the U.S. declared independence from the UK. France claimed Canada as its territory, but the Canadians didn't agree, and it is now an independent nation. Alaska was purchased by the U.S. from Russia and is now American territory. Japan also attempted to claim Korea, Taiwan, and China as its own during wartime but failed. Spain and Portugal had similar ambitions, but Europe and South America were too distant, and colonization couldn't be sustained.

Japan is now hosting people from Europe, the United States, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Coexisting harmoniously with such a diverse group of people might be challenging. However, not addressing this issue properly could lead to irreparable consequences. The United States once brought laborers from Africa using the slave system for cheap labor. Eventually, their descendants gained their human rights but faced significant challenges due to racial mixing. It's worrisome to think about the possible turmoil when African Americans start to influence politics as well.

Nevertheless, the United States has managed to govern a multitude of races, including Europeans, South Americans, Asians, the Middle Eastern, and Africans, quite effectively. Still, when we observe the Russia-Ukraine conflict, it raises doubts about whether the U.S. can continue to manage its diverse population without issues. The U.S. has a large number of extremely wealthy individuals, as well as many impoverished people. In the future, the poor might rise against the rich. It's quite perplexing that there are so many people struggling to make ends meet despite the severe labor shortage.

Looking ahead, it's hard to predict what Japan's future holds. The sudden changes we've seen are just the beginning. The coexistence of the 2.89 million foreigners with the Japanese population is a concern, and whether they'll adapt and coexist in Japan remains uncertain. It's possible that, instead of living according to Japan's school system, they might bypass it and interact more in English-speaking communities. Since COVID-19, our way of life, both domestically and internationally, has changed drastically. Already, around 1.34 million Japanese have emigrated overseas, and there are 557,000 foreign residents in Japan.

Business practices are evolving, and individuals are becoming more empowered to make choices about their careers. Even though the economy might take a downturn, there will be opportunities for those willing to explore new paths. Education is also changing, and it's essential to carefully consider the direction that suits you best. In the past, Japan has produced many Nobel Prize winners, but as the population ages, achieving this level of success may become increasingly difficult. Most Japanese Nobel laureates gained their knowledge in the United States, where they honed their skills in a free environment. There are few who achieved this level of success solely through education in Japan. It's important to adapt to change if Japan wants to thrive in the future.

The recent unexpected death of Mr. Precojin is quite mysterious. It's likely that he was allowed to swim freely for a while before being assassinated. Perhaps he was trying to gain a foothold in Africa's business interests. It's doubtful that Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB, would allow him to do so without surveillance. It's possible that his death was the result of capturing him involved in oil and precious metal activities in Africa. The insincere condolences to his family are quite hypocritical.

Kazushige Tsuruta