Friday, February 25, 2011

Japan is Run By Racist Idiots Who Prefer Robots to Brown People

Nursing robot 'Ri-Man'

Sometimes you just have to call 'em like you see 'em.  In this case, the strike zone is pretty wide.

On the one hand, you have the billions of yen over the years poured into programs to develop home-care robots.  I would be shocked to find that any remotely responsible health care expert could have thought this was a good idea even at its earliest stages.  Health care is not just about lifting and moving people - the CARE is right there in the name, and we're still quite a distance from developing any robot with that capability.

On the other hand, you have the intentional sabotage of a program intended to extend residency to highly-trained and carefully vetted nurses from the Phillipines and Indonesia.  This is reflective of a much wider resistance to any formal immigration liberalization.  Equally pathetic is the recent celebration of the arrival of a handful of individual and families from Myanmar as part of a U.N. resettlement program.  The latter is a more purely moral failure, where the former shows an inability even to act in rational self-interest.  I'm speculating a bit here, but I would bet short odds that the root cause of these ridiculous and shameful policy failures is the deep racism of a relatively small but powerful segment of the Japanese right wing.

I've been watching Treme, and in the second episode there's a moment where a lawyer who is trying to navigate the insanity of post-Katrina police bureaucracy simply loses her shit and starts screaming curse words into a pillow.  I can think of few more correct responses to such a patently ridiculous situation as this one.

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