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Ready or not, Japan on the way to becoming a nation of immigrants

83 Comments

What have we here? An article brimming with enlightened attitudes toward immigration, from a monthly publication with "taboo" in its name. But being a magazine that thrives on controversy, Jitsuwa Bunka Tabuu's December issue, which went on sale Oct 16, has run a 4-page article titled, "How splendid the Japan of immigrants will become!"

The article even brushes aside concerns over a decline in public order due to the influx of foreigners -- a courageous statement considering that just a month ago, a 30-year-old Peruvian national was detained by police on suspicion of murdering six people in Kumagaya City, Saitama Prefecture.

It appears under the byline of "Kunihiko Date," a name that appears to have been spun off from the protagonist of a 1958 novel by the late thriller author Haruhiko Oyabu. Date points out efforts by the national government to make Japan more hospitable to immigrants is already well under way, with a law establishing "national strategic special zones" -- provided with incentives for foreigners to move here from overseas -- having been passed in December 2013. In addition to six zones in Tokyo and other major urban areas, three new zones have been subsequently designated in Miyagi, Aichi and Akita prefectures, increasing the total to nine.

While it assumed that most of the new arrivals would be from Asian countries, an increase in immigrants from European countries such as Greece, with its moribund economy, could not be ruled out.

Opponents to immigration, particularly political conservatives and members of right-wing groups, have argued that "Japan is a single ethnic group, it cannot easily absorb people from other cultures." These groups argue that an influx of foreigners will result in a decline in public order and negative impact on employment.

Date retorts that if one goes back far enough, Japanese themselves are a mixture of many different groups, including the Ainu in northern Honshu and Hokkaido and Ryukyu peoples in Okinawa. Over the millennia others have come here from mainland Asia and the Korean peninsula -- Chinese and Koreans. Indians and Mongolians, who intermixed from people from the south Pacific, such as Polynesians and Melanesians. From traditional rituals and festivals, anthropologists have pieced together a remarkable diversity of origins, which may also explain the Japanese propensity to worship multiple religions.

For the same reason, it's unlikely a terrorist incident such as the one that took place at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in France last January, would occur in Japan, because a more tolerant people are less inclined to discriminate other religions.

As far as immigrants affecting jobs, Date points to wage statistics for workers in the United States between 1990 and 2004, out of four categories, only one -- "high-school dropouts," saw a net decline in wages. The other three categories actually grew by an average of 1.8%.

The argument that trumps all others is that immigration is good for the economy. According to a government statistical projection of Japan's population issued in January 2012, if current trends are maintained, the population will decline from the 128.06 million in 2010 to 86.24 million by 2060, with people over age 65 accounting for 40% of the total. More worrisome, the working population -- regarded for statistical purposes as people between the ages of 15 and 64 --- dropping from 82 million to 44 million. And similar gloomy projections are in store for the agricultural sector.

The think tank at Nomura Securities has estimated that if Japan were to accept 100,000 immigrants annually, its income and expenditures 30 years hence would be in the black to the tune of 3.8 trillion yen. Since the annual number currently being contemplated is 200,000, a commensurate rise in economic benefits will be likely.

Date reminds readers that by 2025, due to the aging of Japan's huge demographic bump of postwar baby boomers, an additional 500,000 nurses and 1 million caregivers will be needed. The worker shortfall can only be made up from abroad.

Still, foreigners can contribute to the nation in many ways. Some may eventually wind up in uniform, serving in Japan's Self Defense Forces. Through intermarriage with Japanese, they will bring diversity not only to the nation's gene pool, but to its culture as well. Just as Americans have made pizza, pasta, bagels, tacos and oatmeal their own, Japan can expect changes to its food culture. And over time, its language as well.

One possible side effect of the new paradigm may be that minorities who were the targets of discrimination in the past, such as Koreans, will blend in to the point that the problem simply disappears.

Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama was once heard to remark, "The Japanese archipelago is not the exclusive property of Japanese people." In the not too distant future, Hatoyama's remark may ring true in ways none of us could have imagined.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

83 Comments
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Opponents to immigration, particularly political conservatives and members of right-wing groups,

And, paradoxically, xenophobic foreigners already living in Japan.

20 ( +34 / -14 )

I've benefited from a one year scholarship and I've got married and chosen to stay here. My salary is way over the average for my age and work group, and I've contributed with my taxes much more than the average Japanese would have been doing. Japan has recovered their investment in my scholarship many times over by now...

19 ( +26 / -7 )

if immigrants arrive in japan they should be the on to adopt the japanese culture not the other way around. I don't want the safety and security to drop because of foreigners.

2 ( +29 / -25 )

I live in a city that's gone from 0 to most of my neighbours being non English within 50 years and it's disrespectful. There is nothing wrong with the people that have come here, I have no problem with anyone on a personal level, but it's clearly as unfair as any other invasion in history. A migration balance needs to be struck. Europe hasn't got it right so Japan needs to work it out for itself.

6 ( +18 / -12 )

They don't know what they're getting themselves in for. (and I'm talking about the immigrants)

20 ( +30 / -10 )

Those who imagine that advocating the acceptance of unskilled labor immigrants is somehow politically and socially progressive should reflect on the fact that Ishihara Shintaro and Keidanren have been pro immigration for more than a decade.

Talking about immigration in the abstract is meaningless. Immigrants are not like a liter of petrol where one is more or less that same as another. Skilled immigrants can make a major economic contribution. Whether unskilled immigrants do so is open to debate.

Ultimately Japanese immigration policy is something for the Japanese to decide.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

“Japan is a single ethnic group, it cannot easily absorb people from other cultures.”

Yup, it sure is. Hopefully the last one left will shut off the lights.

-1 ( +13 / -14 )

People are crazy, especially when they use the "look at the U.S." bs. Being a land of immigrants is what makes the U.S. special; it's a new country with diversity from its beginning. Trying to force immigration onto other countries is wrong. Japan is homogenous. If you live here, or if you've visited here then you know that 9 out of 10 people you see walk by are Japanese. Who are you kidding by arguing that Japan and Japanese aren't ethnically homegenous simply because some Koreans were brought over as slave labor during the war, or because a very small population of Ainu are clinging onto survival way the hell up in a corner up north? When was the last time you even seen an Ainu. I'll tell you who you're trying to fool: yourself! You probably speak great Japanese, maybe even eat natto, and you probably get defensive at the presence of a (white) foreigner. And after all that, you realize that you're still outside of this society, and it burns you and twists you up inside. And so you go on a rant about how Japan isn't special, and you look for faults, as you see them, where ever you can. And then you want to scream diversity and immigration at the top of your lungs because you want to be accepted in this society, you want Japan to diversify for your benefit. Then you go about insulting your own intelligence by claiming Japan isn't ethnically a single people; and you get politically correct and say well, being Japanese doesn't simply mean having those asian features, skin tone, and other physical attributes that everybody in the street except yourself has. You say, well, if one simply has Japanese citizenship, then he or she is Japanese. But you know that's a lie. They have rights as a citizen and don't deserve discrimination, but ethnically they're not Japanese. And guess what? Because of historical factors, Japan is virtually homogenous, and Japan and Japanese people shouldn't have to apologize for that, and they shouldn't have the model of the U.S. (a country with completely different historical factors) thrown in their faces. Immigration will clash with the homegrown culture, and will disrupt and cause disfunction. I'm not talking about the relatively few expats who occupy the outskirts of this society. I'm talking about mass immigration. It will ruin the Japan that you most likely fell in love with in the first place, the reason you came here; the Japan you now despise because you see that it is ethnically homogenous.

-2 ( +19 / -20 )

Two questions.

If Japan creates a field old dreams for foreign unskilled labor, will they come?

If they come, what will happen to them? Will they be exploited to death like the "trainees" of today?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

You probably speak great Japanese, maybe even eat natto, and you probably get defensive at the presence of a (white) foreigner. And after all that, you realize that you're still outside of this society, and it burns you and twists you up inside.

I speak Japanese at a pretty advanced level, but I enjoy being around other foreigners (white or not), and I don't feel outside this society, and therefore it doesn't burn me up.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

The bulk of Koreans in Japan had ancestors that came as economic migrants. Surveys show that only about 10% claim their ancestors came as forced labor.

Non-Japanese who naturalize are generally accepted. There have been naturalized Koreans and Chinese in the Diet. Japan's richest man and one of the richest men in the world is a naturalized Korean. You don't even have to naturalize to be accepted. Oh Sadaharu, one of the most respected sports figures in Japan is a citizen of the Republic of China (Taiwan). There are many others.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

This article is pure fantasy. Japan will never become a land of immigrants and that's what the vast majority prefer.

21 ( +23 / -2 )

Immigration should only be allowed for jobs where the salary is above the national average and at least equal to the average salary for the job in question. Let's see how many desperate employers are happy to meet that requirement.

Unskilled immigrants will lower salaries at the bottom end of the labour market. Greedy employers who would otherwise have to pay higher salaries to attract Japanese workers will jump at the chance of paying less to a foreign slave with few employment rights. The result will be higher unemployment among unskilled Japanese, lower GDP per person, lower tax revenue and higher government expenditure to support the unemployed Japanese. Only the rich, LDP supporters will benefit from that.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I absolutely do not see that "Japan is becoming a nation of immigrants", unless the goverment makes a Merkelian decision. And I hope the government is looking at the unfolding disaster in Germany thinks twice about that.

That said, there is nothing wrong with a reasonable level of controlled immigration. And that, Japan has already.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

"Japan is a single ethnic group, it cannot easily absorb people from other cultures"

That's correct! Japan is a special country, for special people... with special needs... ;-)

4 ( +9 / -5 )

How about first reducing the cost of living and start supporting workers with full-time jobs?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Hopefully they will accept people unskilled profession 10 years of experience with hopes to change your visa status to stay permanently in the country to contribute more to the society of Japan. Without restrictions if you don't have family you can't apply like in many countries do, also accepting any applications rather if your don't live in a third world country.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

don't want the safety and security to drop because of foreigners. and yet Japanese commit more serious crimes per capita than gaijin do in Japan, with the exception of Chinese Brazilians.

Highest rate of crimes only per country

If we omit the offences, as most of them are visa-related and cannot compare to Japanese rates. Offences include all violations of the law that do not cause any harm to other people, such as getting a parking ticket or consuming alcohol under the legal age.

If we concentrate on real crimes, we find a completely different ranking though. Iranians, Russians or Philippinos have been arrested for a much higher number of offences than crimes, for instance. We also see that Brazilians and Japanese were arrested for proportionally more crimes than offences. Here is the real crime rate :

Chinese (0.428%) Brazilians (0.351%) Japanese (0.291%) Russians (0.271%) Philippinos (0.101%) Thais (0,051%) Koreans (0.024%) Britons (0.021%) Americans (0.016%)

http://www.wa-pedia.com/gaijin/foreign_crime_in_japan.shtml

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Japanese commit more serious crimes per capita than gaijin do in Japan, with the exception of Chinese Brazilians.

No, Korean residents criminals is 5 to 10 times the Japanese.

ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/外国人犯罪 - キャッシュ

-21 ( +4 / -24 )

Akemi Toyonaga: "if immigrants arrive in japan they should be the on to adopt the japanese culture not the other way around. I don't want the safety and security to drop because of foreigners."

You mean like the Aum cult? A lot of Japanese like to forget that Japan's worst crimes and terrorist attack were committed by... wait for it... JAPANESE! And that's not even taking into account the wars it brought on itself. Foreigners commit far less crime in Japan per capita than Japanese, so you might want to worry a little bit more about your own backyard, Akemi.

tinawatanabe: "No, Korean residents criminals is 5 to 10 times the Japanese."

Newsflash: All Japanese come from either China or Korea originally, and some of Japan's most influential figures are naturalized Korean and Chinese -- even the Imperial family has Korean blood in their veins, tina. I know that really must burn you, and it must hurt even more to know your own family came from there at some point, but those are the facts. And those statistics you post are more right-wing garbage that don't take into account things like permanent residents vs. visitors, or Japanese for that matter.

Aside from the Ainu, Japan has always been a land of immigrants.

9 ( +21 / -12 )

I agree with Akemi in that those that immigrate to here should go with the flow of the culture here and not be like the MUslims immigrating to Europe and trying to change the cultures that so gracefully accepted them to help them.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

Anything other than right-wing rhetoric to show that Muslims don't integrate in Europe?

-6 ( +10 / -16 )

"Japan is a single ethnic group, it cannot easily absorb people from other cultures.”

Sorry to say, Japan will always be a land of immigrants. Even the the Japanese people of today were descendant of immigrants. A

4 ( +10 / -6 )

smith, I only talked about police stats. If you are talking about Emperor, he said he saw a description in a old myth book which says another heresay story about a woman came from Korea. But the Koreans at that time was completely different people from present Koreans. And there is no way to know whether the myth is true story or not. Only present Koreans are excited about his comment.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

That was a fun read. I wonder if the writer sent this in while on vacation in Colorado.....

Now, back to reality....

Japan is led by Abe, not Merkel. And I guarantee you that the mandarins in all of the ministries in Otemachi are watching what is going on in Europe and the U.S. and shaking their heads. And saying that they will NEVER let that happen to Japan. Because Japan is Japan, dad-gum-it, and it would be better for Japan to shrink and shrivel but remain "Japanese" rather than doing anything revolutionary that might "save" Japan but "lose it" in the process.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Japan does accept immigrants and has done ever since the Meiji Era. The country just does it gradually, at its own pace. That's the only way it can succeed in older, established cultures.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

For the same reason, it’s unlikely a terrorist incident such as the one that took place at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in France last January, would occur in Japan, because a more tolerant people are less inclined to discriminate other religions.

This is so funny. So a terrorist attack like in Paris won't happen in Japan - not because there won't be adherents of a terrorist religion among the immigrants - but because the Japanese cave in out of preemptive obedience. How nice. This is exactly why Japan shouldn't take in too many, especially religious immigrants. Japanese may not be as guilt-ridden as the Germans, but they are certainly more conflict avoidant and that will make immigration the same cultural genocide that is happening in Europe.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

This article is based totally on paranoia. why ? Shinzo Abe said in the last UN meeting that he would not accept immigrants and refugees because Japan should attend their own problems first. What is meant here is clearly that Japan don't like the idea of "Opening doors" to (Gajin) foreigners. Also why I said this topic is based on paranoia is because the author is ignorant on what's happening around. What is been ignored ? In the last UN meeting Japanese PM (Shinzo Abe Abe) said that Japan needs more activities by "Women & Retired people" to fill the gap of labour shortage when Japan is going to experience the period of labour shortage in the coming years, this means that Japan is not going to open their doors to foreigners (by %) instead use their native people. Japan have also introduced drive less taxi's and man less construction machinery (by the help of Komatsu) to cope with the coming labour shortage, again Japan is not going to open doors to immigrants or refugees but instead replace it with technology. Also the Japanese PM said this in the meeting "We must raise our (THE) birth rates" which means that unlike European countries that have forgotten about their own birth rates and instead replaced it with accepting large numbers of immigrants, Japan tries to increase their own people instead of icreasing foreigners in Japan. how did I come up with this conclusion ? This is Japans plan : Japan clearly knows that they are going to experience a labour shortages in the coming years so instead of bringing in more immigrants and refugees Japan is going to fill the Gap (Shortage of working population) by the help of RETIRED PEOPLE, WOMEN & TECHNOLOGY. In the meantime Japan is going to raise it's fertility rates from 1.4 to 1.8 still below the replacement level (2.10) but a premium target that would stabilize the Japanese population at 100 million and raise it's population from this stage on wards (By fertility rate exceeding above the replacement level [2.10]). So Japan is never going to open it's doors to foreigners even in their period of "LABOUR SHORTAGE" but still have a controlled foreign population in the country. Anyone who have been to Japan knows something very clearly, and that is Most Japanese over 90% to some extent oppose immigration unlike Europeans who don't value their cultural and religion backgrounds. So based on the real facts this topic should be renamed to "Ready or not, Japan on the way to becoming a nation of more Japanese".

3 ( +8 / -5 )

What is meant here is clearly that Japan don't like the idea of "Opening doors" to (Gajin) foreigners.

And yet, so many of us live here...

Some people seem to have a real disconnect when it comes to what they say, and what they live.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Japan needs to be very careful about who it invites in. While I wouldn't say that immigrants should be required to adopt Japanese culture wholesale, immigrants should not be committed to cultures or religions which are incompatible or at odds with the existing population. I would argue that immigrants who are committed to religions which require their members to spread their religion and in particular to attempt to gain political power are at odds with Japanese culture and the constitution and should not be invited in unless they make a binding commitment to be loyal to Japan and Japanese people over any other loyalties, be they religious or otherwise. Unbelievably the UK managed to accept a small but significant number of immigrants who openly consider western culture depraved and want to overthrow it and install a theocratic dictatorship. This can't be allowed in Japan too.

I think Japan should prioritize immigrants who have a good grasp of Japanese and/or have shown themselves to be of good character when living in Japan on limited visas, such as student visas. It's ridiculous that at the moment many foreigners who have lived in Japan for several years, learned the language and assimilated are required to leave.

If Japan must take more immigrants, it should start early and do it slowly and carefully, prioritizing those who already have strong links and loyalty to Japan. Immigrants also need to be treated with full respect so they don't end up turning on Japan or getting involved in crime to support themselves. Current 'trainee' schemes are often tantamount to slavery.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

What I said there is "Opening Doors"

And as you pointed out, millions have already come through those doors. So they certainly are not closed.

Try and understand clearly what other people say don't read while your eyes are half opened.

You seem to think my disagreeing with you is a lack of understanding what you are saying.

1) I understand what you are saying, I just disagree.

2) Communication is not expressing what you want to say, it's ensuring that the person you are expressing it to understands.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Aside from the Ainu, Japan has always been a land of immigrants.

@smithinjapan: I take therefore that the Ainu emerged fully formed in Honshu from a bamboo cane The whole "nation of immigrants" is a straw man argument in the case of Japan - the bulk of the population has been settled in Japan for generations. I wonder how many generations I would have to go back to find an ancestor of my wife's who was not born in Japan. Probably more than 20 - safely pre-Edo.

Anything other than right-wing rhetoric to show that Muslims don't integrate in Europe?

@Strangerland: how about Muslim's committing terrorist atrocities in the country of their birth (e.g. London 7/7 bombings or beheading soldiers in the street), or running off to join ISIS (estimated several hundred from the UK alone). That being said, most do integrate on an everyday basis, but this is weakest in areas that become predominantly Muslim. As a very small anecdote I went out with some friends, including a Muslim. At the end, we proposed splitting the bill equally, but my Muslim friend did not feel comfortable contributing towards paying for alcohol, so the plan to split the bill was thwarted. No big deal really, but one of those things. Also, going out or having Muslims round for dinner is harder because of halal requirements, because usually only Muslim restaurants sell halal meat. All really minor things, I suppose. For me, integration also includes marrying outside your race, religion or culture. How many Muslims will?

But the Koreans at that time was completely different people from present Koreans. And there is no way to know whether the myth is true story or not. Only present Koreans are excited about his comment.

@Tinawatanabe: I do not know who the Koreans back then were, but the genetic evidence suggests that the modern Japanese, the Yayoi, are largely identical to modern day Koreans. The cultural and archeological evidence shows that modern Japanese crossed over from the Korean peninsular in the last 2,000 years or so. Yayoi Japanese bred with the indigenous Jomon people, so there are genetic markers that are found among Ainu and Japanese only.

Every country that allows in foreigners has a controlled foreign population. What do you think visas are?

@Strangerland (again): actually, the countries of the EU cannot control their foreign populations - membership grants the right to live and work in any other state without a visa.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

@Strangerland (again): actually, the countries of the EU cannot control their foreign populations - membership grants the right to live and work in any other state without a visa.

I, as a non-EU member, could not live in the EU without a visa. So there is control going on, even if it's not as much as in other areas.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

I am afraid that immigration retrospectively is not a magic wand for economic growth. When combining migrant revenue i.e. amount paid in taxes offset with benefit receipt, the outcome balance is neutral. There are counties that immigrants contribute more than they receive, however on the whole migrants contribute less that the existing population, because collectively their salaries are well below the incumbent workforce. However I do think ebisen experiences are inspirational, excuse my third person rudeness.

The government of Japan needs to tackle the direct causes of depopulation, mass immigration is not a solution. The ebisens of this world are few and far between. I have selected a number of OECD research papers that I have had some impute into in 2014 that highlight the impacts and outcomes including modelling which I admit is a tad over the top but underlines the amount of 'hard graft' that goes into the research aspect of immigration.

International migration in oecd...countries: labour market outcomes and development impacts.....

http://wes.org/wes40forum/Jean-Christophe-Dumont@WES-40th-Forum.pdf

Immigration and Economic Growth in the OECD Countries, 1986-2006.....Both pdf or read/download..full publication Nov 2014... Jean-Christophe Dumont..including analysis with full theoretical model using a Cobb-Douglas function...

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2534709

Glenda Quintini OECD Social, Employment and Migration.......Working Papers No. 169 Working and learning: A diversity of patterns....A pdf link or read.....

http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/working-and-learning-a-diversity-of-patterns_5jrw4bz6hl43-en;jsessionid=1sg4hn3nn53us.x-oecd-live-02

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Stangerland idk who you are or the way think. But i know one thing for sure you're bot a qualified economist nor a demographer. If you are you wouldn't bark at my statements without a backup support (evidence) and on the other hand why should I care you're just another arrogant person who just wan't his statement to be correct. But since I show sympathy for such people. I'll say one more thing just a little thing.OPEN DOOR means freedom of access. which includes is immigration but Japanese expect foreigners to work,earn ,study & leave the country by the expiration of the Visa. Also Open Doors means a policy giving opportunity for commercial relations with a country to all nations on equal terms but Japan tend to give handicaps for people from culturally similar to theirs. Evidence ? Vietnamese (2013- 40,000+ 2014-90,000) but other nations show a decline or a slight increase excluding Nepal and Taiwan still we can connect them with Buddhist backgrounds. Japan is not a country that does what foreigners expect them to do I clearly understood this when I was living there. Unlike EU Japan is having a carefully controlled immigration system with more than 60% of foreigners are from East Asia. I hope you understood this and stop replying back without proper "Backup Evidence/Sources"

3 ( +6 / -3 )

i know one thing for sure you're bot a qualified economist nor a demographer

So you've figured out I'm not something that I didn't claim I was? And...?

If you are you wouldn't bark at my statements without a backup support

I supported everything I said.

OPEN DOOR means freedom of access.

And there are millions of us who have been free to access Japan. We live here, have visas, and a route to both permanent residence and/or citizenship. So you can hardly say the door is closed. And if it's not closed, that means it's...

I hope you understood this and stop replying back without proper "Backup Evidence/Sources"

You are the one who put up the number of 2 million foreigners living in Japan. That's the logic I'm using to back up my statement. Are you now retracting that statement?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

"I've benefited from a one year scholarship and I've got married and chosen to stay here. My salary is way over the average for my age and work group, and I've contributed with my taxes much more than the average Japanese would have been doing. Japan has recovered their investment in my scholarship many times over by now..."

lol

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Re: the title - never happen. The Japanese living here now would rather see their race die off, I think, than be heavily mixed with groups they see as dangerous and inferior. They would also not allow a large influx of foreigners, no matter what the situation is in the country. All you need to do is live here for a while to feel the real pulse of the nation. The vast majority of people will tolerate you but do not really want you here. Don't see that changing anytime soon.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I speak Japanese at a pretty advanced level,

Which explains a lot. You are now in possession of a skill that has absolutely zero value outside of Japan, which you undoubtably recognize. As a result, since it certainly took several years to obtain that skill, have tied your future to Japan -- warts and all. Good luck with that.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

You are now in possession of a skill that has absolutely zero value outside of Japan, which you undoubtably recognize.

On the contrary, that skill brings in millions of yen per month from outside Japan for my company. It holds a lot of value.

As a result, since it certainly took several years to obtain that skill, have tied your future to Japan -- warts and all.

That may be true - if it were my only skill. But it's not. I'm a top professional in my industry, and my Japanese level adds value above that.

That all said, I love Japan, and I love living in Japan. We'll be leaving in a few years, but even so I'll always maintain a house here, and my life will be tied up with Japan. And I'm happy about that. It's my home.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Mr. Noidall Japan is homogenous. If you live here, or if you've visited here then you know that 9 out of 10 people you see walk by are Japanese. Who are you kidding by arguing that Japan and Japanese aren't ethnically homegenous

This is total myth instigated by the Meiji administration (who encouraged teaching this to children to encourage national unity) - Japanese are as ethnically mixed as Caucasians are anywhere in the world. There are many more ethnicities mixed into Japan than just the Ainu, Ryukyuans and Koreans and Yamato. Plenty of information on the web about this - get your Google out.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Japan, take warning. Dont do as our politicians do here in Europe - choose your immigrants if you need them. Dont open the borders like Europe. Your culture will decline.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

tinawatanabe: "And there is no way to know whether the myth is true story or not. Only present Koreans are excited about his comment."

Wrong. It gets your and a whole lot of other wingers quite 'excited', so much so that you call historical fact 'myth' because you can't deal with the truth that Korean and Chinese blood runs in the veins of everyone here, and not so long ago directly in the Imperial bloodline. Or is it a 'myth' that Japan's ancestors come from there, too?

Ah_so: "The whole "nation of immigrants" is a straw man argument in the case of Japan"

Be that as it may, it is an argument that infuriates the right-wingers because it is still fact that their ancestry is at some point from the regions of China and Korea. And if even that fact drives them into a frenzy, how on earth could Japan EVER be ready to allow in more immigrants than it currently does -- which is very, very few, aside from the heaps of trafficked people.

"@Tinawatanabe: I do not know who the Koreans back then were, but the genetic evidence suggests that the modern Japanese, the Yayoi, are largely identical to modern day Koreans."

Proof of what I said is that she'll deny this (and likely implode all the same) is true.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Japan is foreignphobic because historically Japan like to keep to themselves to protect their culture and technological achievements but after all bending like a straw under foreign pressure like every other nation in this world.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@mr noidall

Japan is homogenous. If you live here, or if you've visited here then you know that 9 out of 10 people you see walk by are Japanese

9 out of 10 being Japanese means 1 out of 10 not being Japanese (or being mixed race) - about right in Tokyo - and that is not homogenous

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Biggest laugh of the day, I laughed hard.

There is no way Japan will welcome millions of immigrants to Japan. Japan can't even deal with 500,000 Koreans - most of them second, third, fourth, and fifth generations in the country since end of WWII - people who externally are indistinguishable with the main population with a far lower crime rate than the pure blooded Japanese (based on Japanese national police stats, not the usual xenophobic Japanese beliefs). How are the Japanese going to deal with millions of people from Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Laos. I'm sure Japanese people will be so understanding and incorporate them into Japanese society as fellow Japanese.

LOL.. yea, we can all dream...lol

4 ( +8 / -4 )

"An article brimming with enlightened attitudes toward immigration, from a monthly publication with TABOO in its name"

@Strangerland - "I love Japan, and I love living in Japan... I'm happy about that. It's my home"

The lady doth protest too much, methinks. The only person you're fooling is yourself!!... :-)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"An article brimming with enlightened attitudes toward immigration, from a monthly publication with TABOO in its name"

The dictionary definition of TABOO is; an action that is avoided for social reasons. So it guess it's true that Japan doesn't approve of immigration after all. And I can see why!!! :-D

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/taboo

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Smith, your statement is nonsense.

Japan has always been a land of immigrants

Really. The Jomon people are known to have been living here since 30,000 BC. According to a study of DNA among Japanese men, "approximately 43% modern Japanese men carry a Y-chromosome of Jomon origin." It's true that the Yayoi people are said to have come from China and they account for a large amount of the population in the Kyushu and Chugoku areas. Nowadays most Japanese are a mix of Jomon and Yayoi.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Good points on the immigration issue. It seems that's the direction the J-government is promoting with having more women and pushing for more machine automation. The latter is more likely than the former, however, and many companies are already developing machines for that purpose, e.g., for helping the elderly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is total myth instigated by the Meiji administration (who encouraged teaching this to children to encourage national unity) - Japanese are as ethnically mixed as Caucasians are anywhere in the world. There are many more ethnicities mixed into Japan than just the Ainu, Ryukyuans and Koreans and Yamato. Plenty of information on the web about this - get your Google out.

As mixed as Caucasians anywhere? C'mon! Maybe you're doing a little too much nomihodai. Mans what's wrong with national unity?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

For the same reason, it’s unlikely a terrorist incident such as the one that took place at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in France last January, would occur in Japan, because a more tolerant people are less inclined to discriminate other religions.

What? Its the victims fault? who were simply practicing free speech that a group of extremists committed these vile acts, who ever wrote this should be ashamed of themselves especially as a "journalist" ... This world is getting frightening.

Immigration, again, careful selective targeted policies is what is needed, both for the immigrants and Japan.

Some of these schemes the government comes up with are ridiculous.. spend years learning Japanese and the Japanese care system to only be allowed to stay for a limited time, and if you managed to find other employment you still have to live as a second class human if you don't manage to attain a salary many times above the average.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Which explains a lot. You are now in possession of a skill that has absolutely zero value outside of Japan, which you undoubtably recognize. As a result, since it certainly took several years to obtain that skill, have tied your future to Japan -- warts and all. Good luck with that.

Classical thinking of why Japan shouldn't go with mass immigration. And why does everything have to be about capitalism? What about personal fulfillment and edification? What about learning a different language and becoming more educated through communication with different peoples?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

That's a good point Mr. Noidall. I never learned Japanese with some capitalistic idea in mind. I learned it because I was living in Japan, and wanted to be able to communicate with the locals. I never went to school, it was all self-study, and then just absorbing it in the years I worked for a Japanese company. Learning Japanese benefited me in the present, not something I did for some future goal.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Japan should do something about its own people who are between jobs first. As the society is aging, it's obvious that Japan will need more workforce, so why not accept immigrants gradually?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I don't want the safety and security to drop because of foreigners.

Your safety and security are guaranteed to drop without foreigners.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

immigrants are not gonna work in Japan like it does in other countries and eventually turned to poison. @cevin7

so why not accept immigrants gradually?

This question is something Japanese are never going to understand the only solutions for graying population here in Japan are;

RETIRED PEOPLE, WOMEN & TECHNOLOGY.

Just like Wu Rongnu have said read his comment that make the most sense here

BTW I don't care whether they open up or not but still it seems that it's never gonna happen.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The thing is, I don't think many people in Japan (besides the government) care about the declining population and coming demographic implosion, which is probably a big reason to why immigration will never be accepted here on a large scale.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Your safety and security are guaranteed to drop without foreigners.

Care to elaborate?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

In response to:

Japanese commit more serious crimes per capita than gaijin do in Japan, with the exception of Chinese Brazilians.

The retort was:

No, Korean residents criminals is 5 to 10 times the Japanese.

The link is chock-full of "evidence" of foreign crime waves around the world, too.

<ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/外国人犯罪 - キャッシュ>

The headline for the UK is:

イギリス: 2007年の報告によれば、5分の1以上の解決済みの事件が、移民によるものである, suggesting immigrants are responsible for 1/5 of convictions in the UK. However it links to a 2007 Daily Telegraph article stating that 20% of crimes in London were committed by foreign nationals. (The Japanese editor doesn't distinguish between immigrants and visiting criminals).

Given that 2011 census figures show the foreign-born population of that same city to be some 37%, perhaps London mayor Boris "the Shoulder" Johnson should print flyers warning those immigrants to beware the London-born criminals.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Considering that humans evolved in Africa I'd say that every country was founded by immigrants.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Your safety and security are guaranteed to drop without foreigners.

Care to elaborate?

Of course! There's no shortage of scumbags preying on the elderly as it is, and that's only set to get worse. Only a fool could dream that the social welfare system will survive, and many of those who prospered during before and during the Bubble are still spending like it's 1990.

And today's mix of NEETs, Freeters and the working poor (thanks, Japan, Inc.) are also (unwittingly) conspiring to ensure that the country has a decidedly unsafe and even more insecure future just down the road.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Considering that humans evolved in Africa I'd say that every country was founded by immigrants.

The era to which you refer preceded the existence of nation/states by tens of thousands of years. Ergo, they might have been "migrants," but they could not possibly have been "immigrants," since there were no national boarders to cross. Immigration is a relatively modern concept, but the present scale is huge. According to Wiki, in 2013 the United Nations estimated that there were 231,522,215 immigrants in the world (approx. 3.25% of the global population).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“How splendid the Japan of immigrants will become!”

Still good stuff for your day dream pipe but it aint happening anytime soon. I recently met a Japanese overseas, big Nikon camera and all that (dont quite know why he was carrying an old school Nikon camera around, maybe an idenity thing) and we had a conversation about how different Japan was compared to the country we were in. Of course, it evolved into sing praises for Japan and ridicule for the host country, like "during the fukushima disaster, the Japanese mind was so good, no riots!" Doing the usual gaijin agreement in order not to upset him or myself, I just kept my thoughts to myself and agreed with the usual sugoi desu. I was thinking yeah they sure didnt, they just suffered, and if them immigrants came to Japan in droves, why, the riots you would see then. I think there will be more sweethearted gaijin like the ones attending language school and then working in labor jobs, but integration? Cant see it, there is no infrastructure for it. And just like my Nikon camera wearing friend, attitudes of superiorty are so deeply ingrained that it will take generations to change it. It will just be more of the usual "chotto John san, genki!!???John san will yell "genki desu! thankful for his meager wage and fake acceptance then the same Japanese worker will start with the usual grumbling about them gaijin to another coworker. The landlord will be whinning 24/7 about them noisy and nasty gaijin he rents to. if the bet was on a changed japan in 10 years or more of the same, Id be willing to bet you several months of salary that nothing will change, thats how strong I know my position is.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

To be honest, Japan has already accepted many white and Asian Gaijins. They may be not perfect. They have not forced Japanese for changing the way of life and custom. Ordinary person on the road has not cut Japanese throat. Back in October, Munich city of Germany has Octoberfest or beer drinking festival. Many bossy and arrogant middle eastern immigrants are demanding not for celebrating Octoberfest in Munich anymore. They want to change the German way of life.

Japan is not Germany who will surrender to immigrants demands. Japanese love drinking. Japanese love eating raw fish. Okinawans love eating pork. Japanese do not prey God for eight times a day. Japanese women do not cover their face. If immigrants want to boss Japan, they will be banned whether they are skilled or unskilled. When they are in Japan, they have to follow Japanese way. Not their way.

The course of Japanese way of drinking is not depending on any religion.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

@heynong

Im not talking about the effect on Japan by immigration, Im talking about the effect on immigrants by Japan. In my experience, i cannot reccomend it long term. If you want to naturalize and become one with it, for business or whatever, then thats different. I cant really see why you would want to do that, because as soon as youve worked so hard to win the acceptance of "uchi" as soon as you step into "soto" its "gaijin da!" all over again; aka perpetual insanity.

Those problems in Germany etc were created by failed foriegn polices and states, and frankly not my problem because I dont live there. however exagerated or real they may be.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Spetals:in the 1970's it was almost impossible to find a landlord who would rent to a gaijin. Not without a sponsor.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Every nation should preserve its identity!!!... Yes, who ever moves in Japan, should respect and embrace Japan's customs no matter what!!!.. I am romanianand i have traveled in many places!.. Nothing is more impressive and wonderful than seeing something unique!!! Japan, be yourself!.. Don't change!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Every nation should preserve its identity!!!...

Just ask any Roma?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japan want to open their gate to a immigrants like Canada.Japan want to be multicultural country but in some clubs they should take out the signs like No foreigners allowed.more services for foreigners. and be more foreign friendly.and anti discrimination law. I am not Japanese but immigrants should respect Japanese cultures and law.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I believe there's still a long way ahead, unfortunately.. 2015 already and how embara ssing is to have a train full of people who avoid at all costs sitting on the only seat available next to another human being, as if it smells bad or have a highly conta gious disease... too humm iliating, I don't even use the seats anymore or when I do I wear a cap, that magically solves the problem! Long way ahead to the japanese to fix this national men tal disorder..

4 ( +6 / -2 )

well they have to accept immigrants eventually considering their own population is declining very quickly. though they would basically accept americans at least since we're allies.not some jihad crazy arabs.

i know a crapload of anime otakus in the US and other western countries like the UK who would kill to live in japan. and of course i'm one of them.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If it does, bring only educated or rich non-muslim people. Simple as that. That will keep some peace by keeping a better image of foreigners. As soon as crime raises by immigrants, get ready for bias.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

When deciding this it should be noted that the U.S. was originally created to become a melting pot of many different distinctions. Even so, in American, we are seeing communities becoming identified with certain cultures while the rest of us our forced to learn an outside language instead of vise versa. However, our whole history is dotted with situations like this and because that is what our founders "some what intended" that is ok. In the case of Japan, it really should start with an overhaul in regard to civil rights, especially to foriegners before even thinking about mass immigration. There should also be government sponsored education helping to integrate especially with the language and culture. Japan's view towards its democracy and people should change, but not its culture, if an ethnic group came in demanding changes based on culture and religion it should not be tolerated the same way America would.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

About time! All successful nations welcome immigrants.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The Japanese themselves are immigrants, they are simply becoming a little less mean-spirited about it...and about time.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Long way ahead to the japanese to fix this national men tal disorder.."

Maybe it is a disorder, who knows. I was at a hospital waiting room and an older Japanese entered, scoping out the room for a seat. he then found a space next to me, rolled his head and made grunts (cue for gaijin kirai?) then quickly moved away from me. Another one of those things that are part of the gaijin experience package, so Im not supprised, but come to expect it. I then see the doctor, whose office is spotless, and the technology ready made for him. . I was thinking, this is all made by Japanese, for Japanese, and it works well for them, after all we have heard the arguements that Japanese have different bodies then the rest of us, etc. Yes, its amazing to experience, but will immigrants really ever be a part of it? Its a difficult dilemna to process; the Japanese have made themselves a very comfortable life, but its tailored for them, not the outsider. There lies the challenge; the whole paradigmn of changing up the more precise insular way of doing things to a more raw accepting way, as you see in countries with large immigrant populations. I cant see this shift happening, but am interested how they will transisition.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There's an influx of foreign students and most would gladly stay here and work after their studies. And I'm definitely happy for them. If there was a similar opportunity like that in the 90's, I wouldn't have gone into an omiai just to marry a Japanese and thus be able to work here. These students would later be a big help in the labor gap but to insinuate that they are being used is not accurate. I just think they are both used and a user too. Just imagine working 2 part time jobs just to get a run around on laws and earning more than 15 man without paying up certain dues isn't right. Some students are just capitalizing on their freshness and youth. They're here not to study and work but more to have fun having a lot of extra pocket money for not having to pay up required dues nor their visas revoked for not following regulations. I may sound envious but how could I not when some city hall officials would knock on your door, send several pay up letters or call in unholy time,(I, being in night shift and hence sleep time is during the day) just to tell me to pay up whenever I was out of work and could pay on time. If the govt is keen on filling the labor gap, they could have just allowed even one family member of anybody with PR status. Besides people with real Nikkei jin visas could bring in their never ending descendants real or not. Hence the nuber of employable people won't decline as long as they give out strict health guidelines to the visa applicants. There are cases of Nikkeis who haven't stayed long here yet on govt welfare due to health reasons.Most have health issues way back before coming to Japan. The reason of immigration is to be of help to the receiving country while helping oneself not to be a burden.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hope so I wouldn't mind working then meeting and dating a cute but decent Japanese woman.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

many congratulations if you live and work in Japan...........

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan is suppose to remain Japanese damn it, oh forgot! This is new to Japan huh? So what it's something "exciting". You're just ruining yourself inside-out. How silly, you even mentioned the culture, food, and language to change. That's just becoming like the United states..! That's not good, not at all.. Japan needs to preserve its own culture, Shinzo Abe even mentioned "We should first think of our women and the elderly before thinking about immigration". Have you lost your mind Japan? This is a serious decision which could change you forever, most likely in a negative manner. The world doesn't have to be like the US.. every nations should preserve themselves.. Of course Japan is a very developed nation.. Plus I really love the japanese language, food, history, music, anime, etc. And if japan becomes more of a nation of whites or blacks or so.. that's wrong... Japan is a nation of Asians.. Eastern Asians.. And it should remain that way! Soon diversity will be a goner in Europe and America... as all the races and ethnicities mix and form one, I don't want the same case for Japan... Japan is unique, it has to stay unique, you can't just allow immigrants that easily you know?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't fall for it, Japan! They brought us mass immigration without our consent, leading to rapid increases in violent crime and terrorism. This is not the solution.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Mr. Noidall, I definitely agree with you. Robotic technology is already promising enough to support Japan's economy without the exception of mass immigration. Japan definitely won't be the heavenly Japan as we view from the present if Japan does accept immigration. My opinion is Japan should accept immigration, but highly skilled immigrants that'll provide the nation with goods. But, it shouldn't accept immigration like Europe or America does. Especially America, it's got a way different historical background.. Japan is an ancient culture, yet Japan has the 3rd Highest IQ, people may think IQ is due to great education, but that indeed is false. IQ is genetically staple and rarely or significantly different from the activities we do. If Japan is to accept immigrants that are highly skilled, it's most likely the IQ score of the nation would rise.. Sure, people may say IQ is mainly a number, but it actually plays a huge role in skills and personality. People rather view things emotionally and illogically, but they should just make their brains function in a more better manner, and view Japan's immigration policy or the world in general in a logical manner. I assure you Japan would make an unforgivable mistake by the acception of immigration. I promise.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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