Ishihara comes out for more immigration

Despite being known for xenophobic remarks, Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara claims he welcomes an increase in foreign residents and says Japan should allow more immigrants to live here.

Japanese are not a homogeneous people, because their ancestors can be traced back to Korea, Mongolia, China, Melanesia and even what is now Bangladesh, Ishihara said.

“Since we are a mixed people, whether the number of foreigners increases or not in Japan is irrelevant. (The increase) is a very good thing,” he said in a recent interview, in which he also repeated his various hawkish positions, including that Japan should develop a nuclear arsenal.

“Japanese must enact a new immigration law so it will allow us to bring in many immigrants,” said Ishihara, 78, referring to forecasts of labor shortages as society rapidly ages.

But he said he “absolutely” opposes giving long-term foreign residents the right to vote in local elections. “Such a thing is impossible, must not happen and is dangerous because regional issues influence the state,” he said.

If foreign residents want to participate in local politics, they should become naturalized Japanese citizens, he said.