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Because the Japanese have a gentle temperament, and project serenity and tranquility toward foreigners, foreigners tend to relate to the Japanese with politeness and respect. A Japanese diplomat would never raise his voice or speak rudely in the presence of foreigners, therefore foreigners relate to the Japanese with respect, despite their racism and discrimination against Muslims in the matter of immigration. A Japanese official who is presented with an embarrassing question regarding the way the Japanese relate to Muslims, will usually refrain from answering, because he knows that a truthful answer would arouse anger, and he is both unable and unwilling to give an answer that is not true. He will smile but not answer, and if pressed, he will ask for time so that his superiors can answer, while he knows that this answer will never come.

Japan manages to remain a country almost without a Muslim presence because Japan’s negative attitude toward Islam and Muslims pervades every level of the population, from the man in the street to organizations and companies to senior officialdom. In Japan, contrary to the situation in other countries, there are no “human rights” organizations to offer support to Muslims’ claims against the government’s position. In Japan no one illegally smuggles Muslims into the country to earn a few yen, and almost no one gives them the legal support they would  need in order to get permits for temporary or permanent residency or citizenship.

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Another thing that helps the Japanese keep Muslim immigration to their shores to a minimum is the Japanese attitude toward the employee and employment. Migrant workers are perceived negatively in Japan, because they take the place of Japanese workers. A Japanese employer feels obligated to employ Japanese workers even if it costs much more than it would to employ foreign workers. The traditional connection between an employee and employer in Japan is much stronger than in the West, and the employer and employee feel a mutual commitment to each other: an employer feels obligated to give his employee a livelihood, and the employee feels obligated to give the employer the fruit of his labor. This situation does not encourage the acceptance of foreign workers, whose commitment to the employers is low.

The fact that the public and the officials are united in their attitude against Muslim immigration has created a sort of iron wall around Japan that Muslims lack both the permission and the capability to overcome. This iron wall silences the world’s criticism of Japan in this matter, because the world understands that there is no point in criticizing the Japanese, since criticism will not convince them to open the gates of Japan to Muslim immigration.

Japan is teaching the whole world an interesting lesson: there is a direct correlation between national heritage and permission to immigrate: a people that has a solid and clear national heritage and identity will not allow the unemployed of the world to enter its country; and a people whose cultural heritage and national identity is weak and fragile, has no defense mechanisms to prevent a foreign culture from penetrating into its country and its land.

Originally published at Middle East and Terrorism under the title, A Country without Muslims. Translated into English by Sally Zahav.

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Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. He served for 25 years in IDF military intelligence specializing in Syria, Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups, and Israeli Arabs, and is an expert on the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups.
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