I think every expat has this question run through his or her head during their time here.
Of course the answer is both. And so in a sense, neither. But still both.
I was going over with a friend on the phone the number of ways you get ripped off in Japan if you choose to stay here for any length of time. And I think this is different from what the Japanese experience themselves (the ordinarily ripping off that goes on in any population—including America.)
This past week, we’ve discussed here just one rip-off that the Japanese allow: the selling of American gap insurance as “real” comprehensive coverage. And the whole web of lies and untruths that are spun around that.
People–mostly young expats here—get ripped off for hundreds of dollars in the end. Maybe over a thousand, if they are around and have to back pay into the approved Japanese health insurance systems.
But if you’re longer-term here, the ripping-off goes into the thousands or tens of thousands. And usually involving labor and contract issues.
I sometimes wonder if all the money that the Japanese government cries about having to pay into America for mutual defense isn’t somehow sought to be squeezed out of expat Americans passing through. So in effect, Japan totally free-rides on defense while we protect them from whatever the Chinese or Koreans would love to do to them.
If I can get it together, in the next couple days, I’d like to talk about one each of labor and housing contract matters where the Japanese government seems to promote this idea of sleazy and corrupt. It’s like they almost bend over backwards to give the impression.
On labor law, the stubborn inability to accord and recognize sei shai’in (regular employee) status on an employee who is not an ethic Japanese.
On contract law, the inability to stick to a contract. In one case, the insistence of disregarding Housing Law in Japan whenever it relates to Non-Japanese, particularly confusing the Housing Law with basically, a hotel contract.