This picture is not sumo related. I just found this amusing. It’s from a great article in today’s FT about “Brexit.” In an effort to make this somewhat sumo related, I will discuss immigration.
Obviously, immigration is a huge issue worldwide, including Japan. When politicians are too afraid to address the issue, voters turn to extreme solutions. In the UK, this is Brexit. In the US, it’s Donald Trump. Japan is no different. Sumo wrestlers are an interesting model where competitors from other countries are able to compete in Japan and frequently pursue Japanese citizenship.
I think immigration serves as the best indicator of economic and social success. If your society is successful, people are attracted to it and come. Conversely, failed states lead to mass exodus, like Syria. It’s not easy to completely uproot oneself from their home, friends, and family. Home continually calls you back and returning is an option when difficulties arise – as we’ve seen with foreign sumo wrestlers.
Politicians need to come up with real solutions. People do not like illegal immigration but illegal immigration arises when the processes and the system fails to meet demand. Walls will not work. I like the working holiday visa arrangements many countries have and I’d like to see those programs expanded to formalize illegal workers and help them assimilate into the target society. Unfortunately those are usually targeted to young college graduates. It would be interesting to see what would happen if older professionals were eligible.