TOKYO (Reuters) – A former adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has praised apartheid as a model for how Japan could expand immigration, prompting the government’s top spokesman on Friday to emphasise that Japan’s immigration policy was based on equality.
Author Ayako Sono, considered part of Abe’s informal brain trust, set off a wave of online fury this week when she wrote in the conservative Sankei newspaper that South Africa’s former policies of racial separation had been good for whites, Asians and Africans.
Her comments could complicate Abe’s efforts to address a deepening labour shortage and his efforts to burnish the country’s image abroad, analysts say.
In a column entitled “Let Them In – But Keep a Distance”, Sono said Japan should open its doors to more foreign workers, especially to care for the growing numbers of elderly, but should make them live separately from Japanese.
“People can carry out business and research together, and socialise together, but they should live apart,” she wrote.