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Yoriko: Textile Worker from Peru
Waiting at the immigation for my visa consultation, I saw a young lady obviously of Southern American inclination.

With a bit of broken spanish, a dash of English and some Japanese, I asked her about herself. She was 20, she hailed from Peru, she was working in Japan. Between my poor language skills and an underdeveloped understanding of light industry, I didn't quite figure out exactly what she was doing - something involving textiles, television and Toshiba, near Fukiya.

How did she get a visa to work there? She explained it twice, I didn't quite get it - "apellida" she said. Name? I looked at her id - Yoriko - her "Abuela" (grandma) was Japanese, as it turned out. So her and her brother Julio had moved there for work.

Yoriko with her brother Julio

Did she like it in Japan? Not really she said, she would rather be at home, but there are no jobs there.

In his book Dogs and Demons, Alex Kerr writes about the status of foreigners in Japan:

"Japan maintains a tight immigration policy, accepting fewer Vietnamese or other regugees than any other developed country, for example, and making foreign spouses wait decades before they are granted permanent residence. Yet there is a need for unskilled labor, and the way to meet this is to welcome South American descendants of Japanese emigrants. The great increase in foreign residents in Japan has been in this group of nikkei, foreigners of Japanese descent, from Brazil and Peru (from 2,700 in 1986 to 275,000 in 1997)."
- Dogs and Demons, page 343 - the passage continues on to describe anti-immigrant sentiment that largely strands these folks to the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.

Foreigners | Japan | trip | life

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