By Akira Lawson
Want to know why Japan has never endured a terrorist attack? Simple, Sakoku (鎖国), a term commonly known by Japanese people and those who study Japanese culture and history. The term denotes the immigration policy enacted by the Tokugawa Shogunate, which dictates that no foreigner could immigrate to Japan, nor a Japanese person could leave Japan, or else it would be ‘off with the head’ for either party. Having no official coinage in the Japanese language till the 19th century, the closed-door policy itself, is situated at the core of Japanese ideology and continues to be the root reason to why Japan is a homogenous society; one of the very few in the developed world. Although Japan’s national isolation or seclusion came to a halt with the establishment of trade/diplomatic relations with the West, especially with the arrival of Commodore Perry with his Black Ships (kurofune) at the Bay of Edo (Tokyo), the policy continues today to be the foundation and contributing pillar in policy making, specifically in the areas of immigration.
As of this year, ethnic minorities (Chinese, Korean, Filipinos, and many more) only account for 1.5% of the demographics of Japan with Christianity at 2.3% and people who identify themselves as non-religious at 7%. Religions such as Islam only account for less than 100,000 people in Japan with about 2,000 Jews, plus or minus. In comparison with France, France has approximately 8.5% of their population who identify themselves as Muslim and the religious distribution of the immigrant population in France is well over 3,000,000 Muslims. With the recent Islamic terror attacks in Paris killing over 120 people (still to increase), compounding that with the Charlie Hebdo shooting, Sydney siege, Parramatta shooting, Curtiss Culwell Center shooting; the rise of Islamic terrorism seems to flourish in the Western world as apathy, altruism and left-wing rhetoric seems to silence anti-immigration politicians with contextually infelicitous labelling such as “Islamophobe”, “racist”, “fascist”, or “Nazi”. The unpopular truth is that once you increase the influx of Muslims or introduce Muslims into a non-Islamic society, the probability of having Islamic homegrown terrorism also intensifies.
Nevertheless, the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria also demonstrates areas where unwilling acculturation and assimilation of the host nation’s culture by Muslim migrants and residents are also signs of the increasing nature of the threat that Islam is manifesting. None of which Japan is producing, i.e. foreign fighters. It would be cultural suicide or self-inflicted genocide to suggest increasing the number of Islamic migrants or refugees to Australia for example. What do you think would happen in Australia if the constituency of Muslims in all electorates reached near or over 50%? Well, you can expect them to elect Islamic political parties who will press for Sharia Law to be enforced, losing all forms of freedom and democracy. You can also say good bye to same-sex marriage, as being a homosexual is punishable by death. In addition, you will also see the number of wife-beating, Female-Genital Mutilation (FGM) and rape cases increase.
To finish off, not one single form of Islamic terrorism has been recorded in Japan and will hopefully continue to do so as Shinzo Abe (Prime Minister of Japan and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan – LDP) has rightfully opposed increasing the total number of immigrants and permanent residents, as an ageing population and declining birth rate threatens the stability of a homogenous society if the number of immigrants increases. Even if the population stabilises in Japan and the political centre of gravity shifts from right to left, the likelihood of increasing the immigrant count would be highly unlikely as ideological foundations such as Sakoku are deeply entrenched in Japanese philosophy and thought. That said, Japan may have to sacrifice its economic standing in the future as a result of its inability to suffice its shrinking labour force, though, it will do so knowing that it doesn’t have to worry about Islamic homegrown terrorism.
Photograph: Carving by Yoshitoshi depicts the shoguns in the Edo Shogunate.