Following the election of President Trump last November, the political and cultural climate of the United States shaped a new era in world history. With the astonishment of the voting cycle coming to a close, fervor opposition towards the current administration remains high. With social media booming with hashtags of #notmypresident and dozens of cultural icons explicitly denouncing the Commander-in-Chief, it’s as if Trump has little to no support from the American populace.
However, the alt-right emerged to the forefront, bringing attention to other issues involving American and global policy. Several ideas compose the relationship between the alt-right and Japan, encompassing a list of several components that contribute to the support of the Tokyo political spectrum.
1. Refugees in Japan
Citing controversial cases such as Germany or Sweden, adhering to refugee policies holds adverse consequences within the alt-right. Hence, when Japan accepted only a handful of refugees during the height of the Syrian crisis and beyond, ideologues commended the country for having stern resolve.
Some members of the alt-right openly expressed appreciation for Japanese immigration policy, stating that the state is merely protecting itself, while some made extreme claims that the country is trying to preserve its “purity” in the form of ethnocentrism. This idea coincides with the Abe administration and its connection with Nippon Kaigi, which seeks to maintain the sanctity of the Japanese state.
What’s certain is that if you’re a foreigner with a particular level of skill, finding work in the country is a matter of filling out some paperwork and getting sponsorship. Despite ramblings from critics, Japan isn’t as “exclusive” as they would have you believe.
Furthermore, although the country does not openly support alt-right rhetoric, is it not understandable why Tokyo would be rather stringent with refugee policies when countries that implement more egalitarian ideals undergo more levels of violence and conflict.
The Western world has yet to show how to incorporate better assimilation clauses that show the economic and social attractiveness of supporting refugees. Alt-groups continue to grow in number within the countries where problems of cultural assimilation arise. Refusing to acknowledge the elephant in the room proves that Western leadership exists in a sort of echo chamber, unaware of the cultural malaise plaguing the moral fabric of their respective countries.
2. Crime-rates and homogeneity
Another talking point among alt-right circles is the crime rate in Japan. Ideologues often like to mention the low crime rates in the country as a measure of success, insinuating the idea that such situations occur due to the lack of diversity in the country. Contrasting the crime numbers between the Western nations and Japan, it would seem as if both parts of the world are drastically different.
Still, population size, cultural distinction, as well as other factors that contribute rates of criminality, need to be taken into account before suggesting that the mere lack of multiculturalism is a catalyst for success.
Besides, is Japan a homogenous culture? While Japan still maintains a high level of Japanese, other groups have been in the country for generations, weaving a unique pattern in the concept of homogeneity. This issue lies in term “multicultural,” as Japan has had a concentration of different groups throughout its history.
Despite having distinct dissimilarities between more “mainstream” Japanese, these groups influenced the contemporary fabric of the country, sharing distinguishable customs and ideas. Therefore, how is it that crime rates are still low? Many factor contribute to this, but researching average IQ levels, the conviction rates of the country, as well as the lack of bleeding heart ideologies of allowing “misfortunates” in without recourse is a step towards understanding that.
3. Nationalist significance
Although Japan plays a significant part in the influence of world affairs, determining the political shift of the country is one that is open to various interpretations. As a prominent leader in East Asia and the international community, perhaps Japan has to look towards more globalist ideas, especially since the country still relies on a considerable amount of U.S. support.
Outside of the peacekeeping efforts in Africa, and a few supporting roles in Western conflicts, Japan remains on the outside of the international arena. In order to ensure constitutional reform, the right balance of negotiation with globalist supporters is paramount to achieving those objectives.
As much as some wish Japan to go rogue, the country isn’t in a position to politically do that. Therefore, maintaining a public face of supporting globalist regimes, while inwardly pushing forward national agendas is a way Japan can achieve its objectives.
Opponents claim that Japan hasn’t fully let go of its imperialist past, using the lack of playing globalist ball as one of the reasons why Tokyo isn’t necessarily prepared to be a major voice on the international stage. The geopolitical motions of the current government understand this, looking to share more of the international burden of world policing with allied states to cool criticisms of xenophobic overtones.
If Japan continues on this path of playing both sides, the country may see their goals eventually materialize. This ties in with alt-right views of nationalism, as Japan seems to be putting the needs of its own citizens over than of the world community.
Still, the game of international politics is one that requires a level of subtlety and deception. Despite maintaining an arms-length approach to refugee reforms, greasing the palms of the elites through appealing to globalist ideals is a way for Tokyo to swing the negotiations in their favor.
Make Japan great again?
Ultimately, Japanese policymaking continues to be a model system for alt-right and right wing advocates wishing to have similar laws in their countries. By looking at the low rate of accepted refugees and the lack of extensive crime rates, alt-right groups continue to support Japan and see the nation as an ideological ally.
While Tokyo cannot directly influence these groups, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when detractors use such talking points to promote why Japan shouldn’t receive a more prominent role in global affairs.
Adhering to current political procedures is effective in terms of allowing Japan to participate in more international affairs. Despite the critics in East Asian political circles, linking Japan to the alt-right is an intellectually clutching at straws, lacking concrete evidence to support these claims.
Although alt-right groups look at Japanese policies as a sort of model system, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if the country itself doesn’t reciprocate the praise.