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Kawaguchi Locals Speak Out on Concerns about Immigrant Influx

The influx of immigrants to Kawaguchi highlights residents' worries about maintaining law and order as the population diversifies. Readers share their views.



A photo sent to The Sankei Shimbun from a reader based in Kawaguchi, showing the area around Kawaguchi Municipal Medical Center, where an incident involving Kurdish immigrants is alleged to have occurred on July 4, 2023.

Friction between some groups of immigrants, and locals in Kawaguchi City, Saitama Prefecture, has come to the fore. After soliciting readers' opinions, The Sankei Shimbun has been inundated with letters, emails, and phone calls. Approximately 40% were from Saitama Prefecture residents, some 70% of whom live in Kawaguchi.

"The central and local governments aren't doing anything," one reader complained. Another reader said, "I'm not sure I can continue living in Kawaguchi." In their complaints, many cited specific acts allegedly committed by groups of Kurdish immigrants, indicating the urgency of the issue for residents. Politicians who dismiss all of these complaints by invoking diversity run the risk of furthering societal division.

No Way Out

One person who contacted us was a woman in her 60s who has lived in Kawaguchi for 20 years. "All of a sudden, the number of Kurds living in the area seems to have increased," she noted. She wrote candidly about garbage-strewn streets, abusive treatment of parks, and a nighttime experience at a convenience store. Despite contacting the police, there has been no improvement. "They won't even patrol the area," she lamented.

In addition, she explained her fears and the difficult circumstances she faces: "I have a grandchild. Is it really safe to keep living here? Honestly, I had no idea I would be dealing with these anxieties at my age. People say I should move, but I'm a pensioner with no money. Who would pay for it? The mayor?"

She added, "All we want to do is get on with our lives. I hope the voices of Kawaguchi citizens will be heard and stir the city and country into action!"

Printed emails sent from Kawaguchi residents regarding the immigration influx. (©Sankei by Ikue Mio)

'Not Afraid of the Police'

A 40-year-old male resident said gangs of young Kurds have been driving souped-up cars down the wrong side of one-way streets. 

"Kurds often claim that 'only some' of them do these kinds of things," he says. "But at this point, we can no longer pretend this is limited to just a few troublemakers. I hope we can return to a safe and secure community as soon as possible."

Kawaguchi has a considerable foreign population. "We're more accustomed to foreigners than anywhere else in Japan," one 55-year-old male resident pointed out. "But the difference between Kurds and other foreigners," he said, "is that they're not afraid of the police. They don't care about the law or the police and move in groups." 


He worried that "if somebody doesn't do something, this city will become completely lawless. Someone, please help us."

Nevertheless, he accepted, "There are probably many diligent, hardworking Kurdish people. I'm sure they are helping us on certain jobs Japanese people don't really do." On the other hand, he asked that Kurds who do not obey the law "leave Japan immediately." As he explained, "This is neither hate speech nor discrimination. For us Japanese, this is a reasonable reaction and a reasonable proposal." 

Media Misses the Mark

One woman in her 50s, born and raised in Kawaguchi City, is raising her children there. "The way the Kurds act and behave frightens me," she confessed. "We, the citizens of Kawaguchi, are worried about whether we can continue to live here. I wish people would stop using all this talk about 'being fair' for their agenda." 

"There are already thousands of them living in the area," said one 67-year-old man from Saitama. He continued, "What's more, it seems that some of them reside here illegally." Furthermore, he was concerned that "The government is rapidly increasing the number of 'immigrants.'" 

A 56-year-old man from Saitama wrote, "The government and media preach 'coexistence' with foreigners. They always talk about not discriminating against foreigners. I am outraged at the government's lack of response to this issue." 


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: The Sankei Shimbun

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