Considering the pros and cons of being an immigrant to Japan, it’s interesting to see how other countries are handling my peers.
Expats in Italy are required to prove basic language skills for their work visa. I would think it’s common sense to want to learn the language of the country you’re living in, and to respect the right of said country to verify that you have said skills. If Japan expected me to be able to read all the thousands of kanji after only three years I might protest. I didn’t have to speak a word to get my visa or my job, but I’ve been studying voraciously because I love the language, and want to read and communicate as best I can. If I wasn’t making that effort, then I wouldn’t say I had the right to feel insulted.
Expats in Spain, meanwhile, attempts to pay immigrants to go back to their home countries. It doesn’t sound like it’s working for either the government or the immigrants who participate. I’ve heard of Japan offering a similar deal to the many Brazilians working here – except with the strict condition that they could never come back. Personally I wouldn’t take the money to leave (well, maybe if it was a seriously huge amount of money) – but then I didn’t come to Japan for the money.
And to clear out some other interesting links from before the deluge: