NILS Fukuoka Times

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What’s Happening Now in Fukuoka & Japan in August 2019


27% of municipalities concerned over surge in foreign visitors in Japan: survey – Nationwide

More than one-fourth of Japanese municipalities have expressed concerns about possible future problems resulting from a surge in the number of foreign visitors to the country, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday.

While the central government has seen the tourism boom in recent years as a catalyst for economic growth, the survey underscored confusion among local governments and people unfamiliar with treating guests from abroad. In the poll, 465 municipalities, or 27 percent of the total, said they worry that problems may occur in the future, such as traffic jams, noise issues and trespassing on private property. More than half of them attributed their concerns to the lack of personnel who speak foreign languages.

The city of Fukui said it has yet to establish measures to contact foreigners traveling there in case of emergencies. Ninety-three municipalities, or 5 percent, said they have already faced problems due to foreign tourists. Many of them are located in areas where cruise ships arrive from abroad, including Tokyo and some prefectures in western and southwestern Japan. Miyako Island in Okinawa Prefecture is one of them. With a growing number of cruise ships making port calls, the island government is struggling to address such issues as the lack of taxis and buses.

The number of affected cities, towns and villages could increase next year when Japan sees an influx of foreign visitors for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Meanwhile, 860 municipalities, or 50 percent, said they do not believe they will have problems, with many of them citing a relatively small number of foreign visitors.

The survey was conducted between May and July, covering 1,741 municipalities nationwide, 99 percent of which responded.

Record 832 foreigners in Japan lose residency status in 2018 – Nationwide

A record 832 foreigners living in Japan were stripped of their residency status in 2018, more than double from the year before as the government tightens immigration regulations, authorities said Wednesday. Almost 70 percent of the total consisted of “students” or “technical trainees” who ran afoul of the law by not following the requirements to retain their legal status, the Immigration Services Agency said. Those who had their student status rescinded numbered 412, an increase from 172 in 2017, while 153 individuals had their technical trainee status revoked, up from eight in the year before. There were 80 cases in which the spouse or child of Japanese nationals were deprived of their family member visas, including those who had received them through fake marriages.

In order of magnitude, half of those who lost their residency status were Vietnamese citizens. They were followed by 152 Chinese nationals, 62 Nepalese and 43 Filipinos. While the Japanese government widened its doors to foreign workers in certain sectors by launching a new visa system in April, it has been trying to crack down on cases involving foreign students and technical trainees who disappeared to pursue activities other than originally stated. The government revoked the status of student for those who had left school but remained working in Japan, according to the agency under the Justice Ministry. Others included cases of foreign nationals who obtained their status under government-sponsored technical training programs but vanished from their registered workplace to work at another company.

The agency is also looking to clamp down on schools that register students on their roster despite knowing they are working, as well as recruiters and companies that mistreat technical trainees. If stripped of their residency status, foreign nationals face deportation and can be detained at immigration facilities in Japan.
Companies having hard time letting go of heels: poll – Nationwide
A majority of companies where in-person customer service plays a major role in its business, such as banks and airline companies, have dress codes enforcing women to wear high heels, a Kyodo News poll found Monday.

While the sample size is small at 28 companies, the poll illustrates how entrenched high heels are as part of a woman’s professional attire. This comes as more women are raising their voices against company dress codes, most notably expressed by the #KuToo movement – an amalgam of “#MeToo,” and the Japanese words for shoes, “kutsu,” and pain, “kutsuu.” More women are demanding to be able to choose their work shoes, preferring to discard heels for more comfortable shoes, as high heels can cause lower back pain and bunions.

Kyodo News reached out in July to a group of 32 companies that included airplane companies, banks and insurance companies, department stores, hotels and cellphone companies. Of the 28 that responded, 20 said they either have rules making high heels mandatory or encourage female employees to wear them. Three companies said they did not have mandatory rules but have “guidelines” of professional attire that includes heels. Some of them said they enforce or encourage female employees to wear heels in order to “preserve the (professional) look of the uniform”, or to “avoid making customers feel uncomfortable.”

Among those 20 firms, only two companies said that they would reconsider their rules toward heels. Of the 16 airplane companies that responded, 15 specified the height and width of the heels worn by female flight attendants. Japan Airlines Co. requires them to be 3 to 4.5 centimeters wide and 3 to 4 cm tall. All Nippon Airways Co says the heel must be between 3 and 5 cm in height and width.

Japan Airlines’ new low-cost carrier Zipair Tokyo, which will launch its services in 2020, says it plans for its flight attendants to wear sneakers, finding them more durable, easier to move in, and likelier to reduce exhaustion.


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