The big five people issues between America and Japan.

I was asked about this the other day–what are the issues between Japan and America, the ones that never seem to get resolved, but that could present big problems sometime in the future.

I hoped to offer five. I can only come up with four off the top of my head.

1) Futenma Air base and America’s image on Okinawa. America is there to show support for Japan, yet we’re made out to be bullies, even while we are chipping in serious money on hardware.

2) Child kidnapping issue / intercultural marriages. Thanks to Paul Toland, Chris Savoie, and others who decided not to shut up and be ignored victims, this issue has a broader following than it would have otherwise. Congressman Smith is 100% behind it, and it isn’t going away. I read on Debito that Hawaii arrested a Japanese female who attempted to renew her American Green Card, while keeping her son (abducted from Wisconsin) back in Japan.

3) Employment/equal protection issue, immigration. One close to my heart. There is a set of rules for Japanese who come to America; another for Americans who go to Japan. Time to update for the 21st century, and assure equal protection under the law for citizens of both countries.

4) Social security totalization. Another one on my radar, and virtually no one else. America cuts a $6 million check to Japanese retirees who had paid in to U.S. social security, but didn’t have the 10 years. (Even more, for those who had 10 or more years.) Japan, through policy, does its best to prevent Americans from having pension coverage while in Japan. How is it going to look, in the future, when Japan’s money number is even bigger?

These are not exactly the trade war matters of the 1980’s, because nowadays the U.S. and Japan are both being sucked dry by emerging market countries. But they are fairly significant topics that are “ageless”. If left unfixed, they will still be issues in the future.

[More if it comes to me.]