"You are a Member of Japanese Society"
Monday, September 26, 2005 Posted: 02:48 PM JST
All over Japan people are ringing doorbells to collect information for the 2005 population census. Everyone living in Japan, regardless of nationality, must fill out the census form. Announcements for the census are headlined "You are a Member of Japanese Society".
A member of Japanese society? If I truly am, why don't I have voting rights? I have lived in Japan for more than 23 years, yet don't have the same right that a 20 year old Japanese citizen has. I lack one of the basic rights of modern civilization: representation. Upsetting, right? So why not refuse to participate in the census?
Well, better think about that twice. If you refuse to answer, give a false answer, obstruct answering, neglect submitting the forms or submit false forms, you "shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand yen."
Still, it makes you think. Well-organized, a refusal to participate in the census by a majority of foreign residents in Japan, would be the most powerful act of civil disobedience available to us foreign residents to protest the lack of the right of representation. But it would require an organization with a backbone and funds to assist people in paying possible fines.
Just a thought...
(Statistics Bureau, Concerning the 2005 Census: The government of Japan will conduct a Population Census as of October 1, 2005. The Population Census is a statistical survey conducted according to Japanese law. Everyone living in Japan, regardless of nationality, must fill out the Census form. The information obtained from the Census will be used only for statistical purposes. It will never be used for immigration control, taxation or policing. A Census enumerator will call on you sometime between late September and early October for distribution and collection of the questionnaire form.)
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