A precious help in Tokyo

With the phenomenon of globalization, a good number of countries experience a rise in migration due to wars or a search for better life. Japan is no exception. Once known for being politically isolated, Japan is opening-up and is among those countries who receive immigrants. Two MIC Sisters are preoccupied of their fate; they give us their testimony. Among the countries of Asia, Japan is positioned furthest to the east; thus, for centuries it was self-sufficient and had little contact with the outside world. From the early 17th century, Christianity was forbidden in Japan and the door was completely shut to contact with any foreign country. Toward the end of the 19th century, Japan began to be somewhat more open. In order to understand what kind of problems Japan is now facing as a “host country”, one must remember that not so long ago, it was in the exact opposite position than it is today. Japan itself sent out many emigrants to foreign countries who welcomed them well. The Japanese economy riding a wave of technological innovations, from around 1966, accomplished a sudden high rate of growth. This resulted in the deterioration of the large family system in Japanese society which changed very rapidly into nuclear families and digressed to the point where people were having very few children. This phenomenon continues unabated to the present time; with this reality comes the serious worry about an eventual shortage of youth for the work force. The Japanese government and business world are interested in cheap labour: the immigrant workers. Since the ‘80s their number keeps increasing rapidly. Unfortunately, the government has been dealing with the immigrants without any laws in place to protect and guarantee their rights. Everything is done very haphazardly; as a result, immigrant workers are faced with very difficult working conditions and a precarious living environment. At the government level, “Refugees Recognition Law” and the “Emigration, Immigration Management Law” are joined together as one unit and managed by the same Bureau; this brings about misunderstanding for the refugees who are often ill treated. According to the 2006 statistics, there are 8,107,963 foreigners living in Japan. In this migration context, two MIC Sisters: Keiko Hasegawa (Japanese) and Ana Alvarado (Peruvian) work with the new-comers to alleviate some of their anxieties. The following are their testimonies.
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A Prayer for November

The changing of the seasons. The coming of winter. The calendar year ending. The church year beginning. We remember the saints as November begins. We give thanks and we remember that Jesus has called us all to be saints. November gives us that day of gratitude. When we feast and welcome friends and family to the table. When we remember who first fed us at the table. When we count our blessings and remember those who we can bless.
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When Fiction Becomes Reality

For a long period of time, the Quebec society lived isolated. However, the arrival of millions of immigrants is an invitation to openness, to mutually welcome the other, thus assuring the harmonious development of the society and benefiting all citizens. The Quebecers’ attitude toward immigrants is a question that has interested me for a long time. Coming from a rural area and a culturally homogeneous neighbourhood, I grew up with the impression that I lived very far. World geography taught me that there are other places besides my village, my region, my province, my country, my religion, my language. What a revelation! I am not at the centre stage of it all. Luckily!
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