The latest article:Japanese women moving out of the country in search of a Plan B

In an article I wrote, I reflect on the concept of a “Plan B” in life, a topic that emerged during a discussion with a multilingual friend from Israel in Lisbon, Portugal, back in March 2023.

Article Summary

My own “Plan B” consisted of studying abroad to develop skills that could be utilized outside of Japan, and my Israeli friend concurred, highlighting the importance of considering an alternative plan given Japan’s geopolitical position and the current volatile global situation. This friend, residing in Israel during a period of unprecedented political upheaval and societal division, had her own “Plan B” – acquiring Portuguese citizenship.

Her decision to seek citizenship in Portugal was spurred not merely by personal circumstances but by a Portuguese law that grants citizenship to descendants of Portuguese Jews who were expelled over 500 years ago. She capitalized on this opportunity to secure dual citizenship, thereby gaining access to broader opportunities within the European Union. After a two-year application process, she was finally ready to collect her passport and documentation in Portugal.

This story illustrates a broader trend of individuals and families seeking greater opportunities abroad for both economic reasons and personal development. For instance, an increasing number of Japanese women are considering moving overseas, with Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reporting a record number of Japanese residents living abroad in October 2022.

In conclusion, I suggest in my article that amid future challenges such as declining birth rates and an aging population, it may be time for people in Japan to consider their own “Plan B” – a strategy for a prosperous future beyond their current circumstances.

The background of the article

The background of the article is as follows:

Japan is surrounded by powerful nations like China and Russia, with whom tensions continue, and is in the firing line of repeated missile attacks from North Korea. Added to this, Japan faces its own natural risks, such as earthquakes. However, many people unswervingly believe in the myth of “absolute safety.”

Indeed, Japan is a remarkably convenient society, including its infrastructure, but on the flip side, convenience can lead to complacency. I question whether individuals who only speak Japanese and simply work for a company after gaining their bachelor’s degree at university will survive in the upcoming VUCA world if something were to happen.

More than ever, this era demands a mentality of always being prepared for risk. The Jewish people have a strong crisis management ability due to their historical background, and I’ve learned a lot from my friends. In Japan, some young people accept the status quo, resigning themselves to “hoping for a better next life.”

I was deeply saddened when I met a male peer who said that his life was over once he had a child, and from then on, it was about “hoping for a better next life.” I wondered how he intended to live nearly 50 years until the age of 80, considered one’s lifespan. I also wondered if such a mindset could survive in the upcoming turbulent times.

On the other hand, I feel that we can have hope for women who are despairing over the unchanged Japanese society and current situation and are leaving the country in order not to give up on life.
Since Japan is an aging society, it is difficult for the voices of young people to be heard. In particular, the situation for women is not comfortable, as they rank 116th in the gender gap.
The all-male politicians should have a sense of crisis about this situation.

The world is much more severe.

I wrote this article because I wanted to introduce the voices of my peers abroad who hold hope for the future and are not afraid to work hard for a “better tomorrow.”

Why I write articles

Click here to read my other Business Insider writings.

I primarily write articles focusing on social issues in Japan such as “gender inequality” (as indicated by Japan’s ranking of 116th out of 146 countries in the 2022 Gender Gap Index released by the World Economic Forum) and the “lack of diversity” (with particular reference to the limited understanding towards immigrants).

During my time studying in Belgium, I enrolled in an Advanced Master’s course where I delved into European politics and business. My writing largely revolves around my observations and learnings from comparing policies between Japan and Belgium, as well as the broader EU.

My article on inflation in New York, which I visited for the first time in a decade during Easter, achieved 40,000 page views.

Another piece, which compared elites in Europe and Japan and pointed out the current state of Japanese individuals not advancing to Master’s or Doctoral programs, garnered 150,000 page views.

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