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Demand for foreign workers may soften Japan's immigration rules

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By Malcolm Foster and Kiyoshi Takenaka

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"We love you to work for us, but please don't stay, interact or bring any of your family. We don't really like you."

32 ( +37 / -5 )

As long as the employers are following labor laws and pay system and they are paying taxes, health insurance and pension, why not let them work. Government needs to ensure they are treated the same as Japanese workers..........oh sorry, not the same as, according to Labor Standard Laws.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Isn't it just a tad racist the way Japan seems to accept workers mainly from other Asian countries?

Reminds a bit of Australia's policy in the 50-60s where they tried to take the whitest looking immigrants from Europe due to a perception that other cultures wouldn't intergrate properly into society due to language and cultural barriers.

Not really any good news hear anyway, i doubt the workers will be given any rights, will be paid a pittance, put on sham visas and if they complain they will be sent packing for not ganbareing enough.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

I'm starting to think that the government doesn't want outsiders telling Japanese people how the rest of the world runs for fear of getting booted out. #keepthefearalive

7 ( +12 / -5 )

"....We have no choice but to allow them into the country."

Doesn't sound particularly welcoming. Given the rights and wage abuses with no laws to alleviate them then it'll be even worse. Someone mentioned the Middle East style of economy, upstairs/downstairs for Japan.

As always a temporary foreign workforce essentially props up a false economy. If there aren't enough workers for a company, then that company should close.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Agree with all 3 posters.

szero25

Isn't it just a tad racist the way Japan seems to accept workers mainly from other Asian countries?

Just a bit?

Reminds a bit of Australia's policy in the 50-60s where they tried to take the whitest looking immigrants from Europe due to a perception that other cultures wouldn't intergrate properly into society due to language and cultural barriers.

Very interesting point.

Anyway, Japan's population decline is over 300,000 a year now so even if Japan did a 180 turn and adopted a canadian style immigration system where they let in a quarter of a million every year, the population will still drop. Personally, I think its too little too late.

19 ( +22 / -3 )

A long explanation and defense in simplistic terms as to why racist policies and mindsets are normal.

But one thing is true, if you cant deal with any change then dont let people in.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

"The image I have is that they might make the city dirtier, like spraying graffiti or throwing trash," said Yuki

Does it not count for Yuki when the locals throw trash and spray graffiti then?

25 ( +26 / -1 )

Don't do it! I say this as a European who has seen the devestating effects of immigration back home.

2 ( +19 / -17 )

Trump recently threatened Abe by saying he could 25,000,000 Mexicans to Japan and ruin Abe politically.

Maybe it could help him.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Agreed, Dont do it!

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

With the abandonment of the countrysides I wonder how low the population will need to be before China just walks in

7 ( +13 / -6 )

I have no objection to foreigners coming to Japan to work and fill the labor shortage. They add diversity too. But what about the real issue: why don't Japanese young people marry and have children? Our old politicians do not seem to have a clue about this.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

So many of these workers to support farms and companies that couldn't and shouldn't exist in the first place, ergo, make-work enterprises based on the Japanese belief that everyone must work all the time.

If wages in Japan are low now, imagine how low they're going to be if and when significant laborers from the developing world arrive. Hello, deflationary spiral!

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Reminds a bit of Australia's policy in the 50-60s where they tried to take the whitest looking immigrants from Europe due to a perception that other cultures wouldn't intergrate properly into society due to language and cultural barriers.

Indeed. New Zealand was the same. My parents immigrated from Switzerland to NZ during that period. At first NZ and Aussy only wanted Englanders, but then when they couldn't get enough of them, they took white Europeans. The theory, as you stated, was that they spoke a funny accent, but at least they were the correct color and had the right cultural background. Later when there was still a shortage, they opened it up for Pacific islanders, but then closed the door and tried to remove them all when the economy hit tough times (of course, they only tried to remove the Pacific islanders).

8 ( +12 / -4 )

My only question is this. Does Japan have a large enough homeless population? Get those people jobs first, unless they're just plain old slackers. A declining indigenous population makes immigration a problem until they get it sorted out.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

The new permits also would remove fees paid to brokers who arrange the internships, Sawaura said.

Foreign workers are already coming and people are leeching off the way they have to come as "researchers". If they can come legitimately, it has to be a bonus for both employers and employees. Employees may not end up with better wages, but they won't have some yakuza confiscating their passports and threatening their families.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

This is a win for the 1 billion + Asians surrounding Japan looking for a chance to lift families out of extreme poverty and a win for domestic Japanese business where A.I. and automation technologies can’t yet take over because it’s not yet mature or it’s still too expensive to adopt.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Good for them allowing in more workers.

But there needs to be a balance.

Only allow in workers that have valued skills and/or a willingness to do more physically difficult jobs no one else wants to do.

Don't allow in massive numbers of immigrants under 'compassionate' reasons which will slowly destroy a nation as we have seen.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

It seems that the Japanese People did not learn with Germany, France and UK and see what happened in those countries.

-10 ( +8 / -18 )

So Japan is being forced to do what many Western countries have already. But at least they should be able to learn from those other countries and be selective as to where they allow them to come from. In Australia we have successfully integrated in recent years hundreds of thousands thousands of Vietnamese, Chinese and Philippine people who have for the most part made settled down to be good hardworking citizens, even though they come from different races and cultures. People from the Middle East and Africa, however, have often proved more problematic due to involvement in drug and arms smuggling and bikie gangs in the case of the former, and assault and robbery in the case of the latter. Japan needs to consider carefully whom it takes, and has the opportunity to do so.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

Good job Abe you will be remembered as the worst prime minister that Japan ever had, you're going to be hated by liberals and conservatives.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Sensible and well managed immigration can be a positive thing. People have mentioned the mistakes made by certain European countries and they can be the example of exactly not what to do. One particular thing not to do to begin with is to avoid an honest discussion about the negatives immigration can bring for fear of being labeled some kind of racist or phobe.

A pity Europe’s mistakes have led some to think immigration is a bad thing in itself.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Dude says in Japan he can double his income. Good for him.

Farmers says these fellas are keeping him in business. Good for him.

I can eat delicious Japan grown produce. Good for me?

Ain't no losers here. Where's the problem?

(Yeah, I know, simplistic view. The way it should be.)

7 ( +10 / -3 )

An unskilled underpaid laborer can not afford to support a family in japan without doing something dodgy. Just to pay the NHK license fee is the same as a months wages in rural Vietnam. Health insurance, city tax, 2 months wages.

Then there is food for a family of five. Soba noodles and bean sprouts and cheap Fukushima rice every day. Not so good for growing children, forced to go to Japanese schools where they can’t speak the language and have a history of bullying.

The bus and train fare to work, shopping and school for the family will be equal to 5 days wages in rural Vietnam for one day.

My point is, one young unskilled laborer maybe able to survive in a company dormitory, and send ¥50000 a month back to his family, but it would impossible to support a family here without entering the dark side.

Although the article states that broker fees will be stopped, but hey, wake up. I’ve lived in a few Asian countries and corruption is a way of life that won’t be stopped by some Jgovt official saying it won’t happen.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Isn't it just a tad racist the way Japan seems to accept workers mainly from other Asian countries?

Countries should be free to choose whoever they want.

In the same way you can choose who to let into your house, Japan can choose who to let into their country.

1) What's wrong with accepting foreign workers from nearby nations (where they also happen to be Asian!)

2) The low wages and terrible conditions mean a uni grad from Canada wouldn't want to work as a cabbage anyway, even if offered the job.

3) Yes, there are many non-Asian nations where people might want the job but it makes sense to offer them to people in nearby nations first.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

And on the other side of the coin, Japan to recruit 200,000 IT pros from India, with the highly skilled to get PR within the year..

https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/japan-to-recruit-200-000-it-professionals-from-india-to-fill-manpower-gap-118030900400_1.html

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Although public attitudes are slowly shifting, there is widespread concern that an influx of foreigners will upset the social order, increase job competition and weaken traditions.

The constant fear-mongering in media doesn't help with those 'concerns'.

People really obfuscate the value of immigration. It's ridiculous! And, it comes from a place of ignorance and inexperience.

There are many Japanese immigrants residing in Australia. They are able to retain their own culture while also fitting in with Australian values (decency is a universal thing). They also hold cultural events and often teach their ways to those who want to learn (budo, food etc) - you know... it's a choice. This does not interfere with daily life in Australia and diversity is largely embraced.

The few problems that exist with immigration are mainly due to the intolerance of locals. This is the story the world over. Intolerance and exploitation are the main problems, not immigrants!

This is why I think mass-immigration will not work in Japan. The locals are just too intolerant, inflexible in their thinking and often taught to have exploitative attitudes.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

The few problems that exist with immigration are mainly due to the intolerance of locals. This is the story the world over. Intolerance and exploitation are the main problems, not immigrants!

To a point.

Can you blame host countries for some immigrants bringing values and ideas completely at odds with the norms of the host countries? Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but societies as a whole suffer when these opinions are put into action.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

"The image I have is that they might make the city dirtier, like spraying graffiti or throwing trash,"

Is the lady blind? Hasn't she visited a Japanese city, beach or the countryside and observed the mountains of rubbish discarded by her fellow Japanese? There are many people who load up the car with old fridges and other junk, drive out to the countryside and dump it. The beaches look like waste disposal sites and every month people here have to clean up the local park because other people continually use it as a dustbin.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Authorities are also considering allowing foreign workers who pass certain tests to stay indefinitely and bring family members.

I think this will be key, and I hope they are actually serious about it and not just going to design some arcane test to ensure that nobody ever meets it. This stupid arms-length approach to foreigners - keeping them in a perpetual state of short termism - is self defeating. If the fear is that foreigners won't integrate or learn how to sort the trash (etc), then it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy since they are given no incentive to do so (and in fact, are actively encouraged to do the opposite).

The few problems that exist with immigration are mainly due to the intolerance of locals. This is the story the world over. Intolerance and exploitation are the main problems, not immigrants!

This hits the nail on the head. The main problem that immigration poses has almost nothing to do with immigrants themselves, but rather with the nativist backlash their mere presence can cause in societies, which in turn can be exploited by unethical, opportunistic political leaders to do horrible things.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

But I'm worried about bringing in blue-collar workers.

Well then, Yuki, go to the fields and pick your own fruit and veg.

Clean your local park's toilets yourself. Build your neighbour's new apartments. Work for a few hundred yen per hour 6 days a week (or 7).

8 ( +12 / -4 )

If you don't want immigrants, make more babies.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"If they were doing more highly skilled work that would enhance Japan's economy, I'd be in favor of that. But I'm worried about bringing in blue-collar workers."

I reckon Japan will always be caught in a catch-22 on immigration: they 'dream' of clean-cut (preferably westerners, 'obviously'), highly educated, financially stable etc migrants yet aren't willing to offer them the positions & money they want/deserve. How many J workers (especially among oyajis) would be willing to work under foreign management even/especially if that means embracing change? Not that many.

Say what you want about oz but the vast majority of aussies have no problem working under a foreign-born boss/manager. More than half of oz top 200 CEO's were born overseas, same re docs & surgeons and other highly qualified jobs (and am not even talking about euro-born docs here, plenty of Asian, ME & sub-continent GPs in oz and anglos have no issue with that). There's a clear path to social inclusion for those who really want to call oz home & contribute to their new country (i.e. programs, orientation, language courses, multi-lingual services to help new migrants, o.s news everyday on fta & radio etc).

Imo Japan hasn't figured out yet what type of migrants they 'really' want and how they're gonna treat/integrate them.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Don't do it! I say this as a European who has seen the devestating effects of immigration back home.

Do it! I say this as a European who has seen the beneficial effects of immigration back home.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

If Japanese want to keep their economic life level for seishain, immigration is needed.

Guess who gets the money from low paid laborers compare to Japanese equivalent : the already wealthy only.

That will change Japan forever and you will find soon everywhere like Tokyo. Forget Japanese culture if Vietnamese, Chinese invasion is taking place because 500 000 will be per year soon. And that means a growing percentage compare to population each year.

It is a choice I would not be accepting. Just see who goes for bad behaviours. Yakuza are low criminal on average at world level.

Too late for babies.

Life goes as it goes at the same time.

Good luck Japan.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Demand might soften the immigration laws, but it is not going to stop the prejudice and mistreatment of those immigrant workers. I know quite a few young people from Vietnam and the Philippines who are here studying and working. The treatment of these people is horrendous! They are made to do all the crappy jobs and are expected to do twice as much work as the Japanese employees. In other countries the mistreatment and exploitation of foreign employees is criminal, in Japan it is cultural.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Lol I beg to differ comparing Japan with 2000 years of said history to Australia with its mere 25 millions inhabitants (3.2 /km2), no local culture (each one its own since indigenous population represent 2.8%).

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Reminds a bit of Australia's policy in the 50-60s where they tried to take the whitest looking immigrants from Europe due to a perception that other cultures wouldn't intergrate properly into society due to language and cultural barriers.

I'm still not sold on the idea integration has been a success in this country.

Do we all get along reasonably well most of the time and suffer few problems, I would say yes. We do it better than Europe for sure, but I don't think integration has occurred. We still, by in large, keep to our own ethnic groups. I see little evidence of change.

Also, keep in mind it hasn't always been as trouble free as it is now. Only have to reflect on the issues surrounding Vietnamese gangs in Sydney going back a couple decades to see that. Also Lebanese gangs in Sydney.

In saying all that I am in favour of modest immigration levels. Its certainly too high right now because we haven't been able to encourage immigrants to live outside of the cities and while that problem persists I suspect there will be growing negative sentiment that could one day overtake the positive if we don't find a solution to it. .

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Do it! I say this as a European who has seen the beneficial effects of immigration back home.

Every country in Europe is now moving further to the right on this issue, including Germany, so you are no longer in the majority I'm afraid.

Once again, the European countries failed to get a democratic mandate for large scale immigration and you see the consequences.

You must get a democratic mandate on big changes to immigration numbers. You need to make absolutely certain you have majority public support, preferably through a direct referendum so the connection is obvious, not just as part of general electioneering.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

As long as Japanese maintain these hidebound, outdated, misinformed stereotypes of non-Japanese (e.g. the sort still perpetrated by the mass media and government) they will remain separate from the mindset of the modern world. Taking the negative, unintended consequences of immigration into countries from former colonies whose culture is completely different to Japan's as the basis for denying the right of people to immigrate seeking a better life is simply illogical, and a way to rationalize discrimination. Screen people, use a point system, but allow those who wish to integrate to stay and naturalize. For that matter, get rid of all laws requiring Japanese nationality to obtain a job, and replace it with "naturalized citizens".

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Do the hustleToday  12:50 pm JST

I know quite a few young people from Vietnam and the Philippines who are here studying and working. The treatment of these people is horrendous! They are made to do all the crappy jobs and are expected to do twice as much work as the Japanese employees. In other countries the mistreatment and exploitation of foreign employees is criminal, in Japan it is cultural.

They are free to do whatever they want. Narita is only 50 minutes from Tokyo, Haneda is much more closer.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but societies as a whole suffer when these opinions are put into action." Yeah, I take your point, the Greek notion of democracy has played hell with monarchy, authoritarianism and theocracy as it has spread worldwide. Really bad idea.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Lol I beg to differ comparing Japan with 2000 years of said history to Australia with its mere 25 millions inhabitants (3.2 /km2), no local culture

Actually, Japan's history goes much deeper than that as waves of people from Korea/China were coming over (think: migrating) for thousands of years before 'Genji'... since the last age and possibly even before. Hence, Japan's culture largely descended from China (the use of Chinese characters being a good example).

As for culture, I think you need to read up on the definition because to say 'Australia doesn't have any culture' is ridiculous. Similar to Japan, their culture having descended from China/Korea with their people, Australia's culture largely descended from England's and its surrounding countries.

To say that Australia may not have its own 'distinct culture' may hold more weight. But if you want to go into those semantics, you could also draw parallels between China, Korea and Japan etc. What does it all really matter?

Cultural snobbery is just part of the intolerance I mention above, and is a bigger part of the problem than immigrants themselves.

culture ˈkʌltʃə/ noun

noun: culture; plural noun: cultures

the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively."20th century popular culture"

the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.
4 ( +6 / -2 )

The title of this article is "Demand for foreign workers may soften Japan's immigration rules".

A better title is "Demand for cheap labor may soften Japan's immigration rules".

I wonder how many of these construction companies and hotels tried offering a lucrative wage?

(With JA having a stranglehold on the LDP, absorbing any possible profit margins, I can imagine this is difficult for farmers.)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yeah, I take your point, the Greek notion of democracy has played hell with monarchy, authoritarianism and theocracy as it has spread worldwide. Really bad idea.

I was thinking more about people being blown to pieces based on the ideas of authoritarian theocrats.

Really bad idea.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Do the hustleToday  12:50 pm JST

In other countries the mistreatment and exploitation of foreign employees is criminal, in Japan it is cultural.

lolwat

Actually, most laborers that go to Japan as gentler compared to the far more cruel muslim arab handlers in in rich middle east countries.

https://thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/24/02/2018/Suspect-in-Filipina-s-Kuwait-freezer-death-arrested

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/02/kuwait-death-filipina-maid-highlights-abuse-workers-180218095300168.html

So at the end of the day, Philippinoes, Vietnamese, Indonesians will still take this Japanese offer even with no permanent residency clause because the amount of money they will make in Japan will be enough to lift their families out of poverty.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

One question to all those here who just make the comment: "Don't do it" or something along those lines.

What are your ideas or plans for easing the labor shortage currently facing Japan today, and one that will continue for the foreseeable future?

If by chance the country actually listens to you, you can say good bye to the Japan you know today, that much I can guarantee you!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@AgentX Japanese immigrants are different than let's say, Immigrants from Iraq. Japanese culture is about fitting in, for other countries it may be more about "keeping the old ways".

I agree that immigration can be great, but that is depending on the cultural attitudes of the country the immigrants come from.

I still experience prejudice from immigrants from places like Russia, China, Vietnam, and Middle eastern countries and more as a "black" American. They brought their negative cultural attitudes with them, and were not properly informed of the "all human beings are treated equally" in the country I, and many generations before me were born in.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

gokai_wo_manekuToday  08:24 am JST

I have no objection to foreigners coming to Japan to work and fill the labor shortage. They add diversity too. But what about the real issue: why don't Japanese young people marry and have children? Our old politic

Its funny how often i hear a lot of Japanese people say this, especially those who lived through the bubble economy.

I would have thought the answer to why people have less kids is obvious.

Less opertunities for younger people to get full time ongoing work that pays well (not to mention the lack of performance based pay, the economy is stiffled by an outdated seniority system) long work hours that make meeting people next to impossible. Rising cost of living insurance and taxes, due to supporting an aging population.

I think young people are also disenchanted, they feel like they have no voice and their lives are controlled by a bunch of old and corrupt cronies i mean look at the percentage of young people that actually vote, and look at the attitude of politicians who continually do the wrong thing and never get fired or arrested.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I don't think Japan should only bring in blue-collar migrants. That's imo the n1 error euros made 40-50 years ago; they instantaneously created an ethnic AND social subclass and we all know how difficult it is for foreigners (let alone uneducated ones) to climb the social ladder. Plus, it sent the wrong message to the locals i.e. 'Africans, Asians, ME ppl etc are here to serve us & will accept jobs we locals don't want, great'!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

After the Olympics and the advance of automation / AI when meager growth we will see the true "omotenashi" LOL.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

rainyday Today  11:44 am JST

This stupid arms-length approach to foreigners - keeping them in a perpetual state of short termism - is self defeating

It’s actually in Japan’s best interest to keep them short term and have a revolving-door arrangement. Also, Japan can afford to be choosy.

Consider the following:

-There are 600+ million people just south of Japan

-and another 1.4 bilion west of Japan.

-Japan still has the largest GDP per capita (for a major country, not mere city-states)

In a region surrounded with potential access pool of 1 billion+ laborers from South and South East Asia and underdeveloped regions of China, Japan can still make use of these billions as “buffer” where A.I. and automation technologies can’t yet take over.

In short, treat this arrangement as a buffer and easily cancel this temp labor program once automation/articifial intelligence/singularity rears its head across the 1st world nations.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Actually, most laborers that go to Japan as gentler compared to the far more cruel muslim arab handlers in in rich middle east countries.

@AgentX Japanese immigrants are different than let's say, Immigrants from Iraq.

So... to justify your arguments - you guys keep using examples of 3rd-world countries. Is that how highly you rate Japan?

Nonetheless, I have personally known immigrants from those Middle Eastern countries that wanted to nothing less than to fit in and contributed greatly to society.

Japanese culture is about fitting in, for other countries it may be more about "keeping the old ways".

This statement is clearly not based in fact. I almost spat out my coffee when I read it.

If societies marginalize immigrants the way you are both describing in your above posts, those societies are bound to find that those immigrants become a sub-class and closed society of their own. This does lead to crime, prejudice and other nasty things.

Once again, it's not (always) the immigrants, most of the blame is on locals who cannot exercise tolerance and do not understand diversity. Similar to a fish in a small pond.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

'They add diversity too.'

forgive me in advance for questioning the holy diversity, but why is this such a great thing?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

As a japanese, I'm so sad to read this article. l knew this fact when I watched a documentary tv. On that, a female worker from china claimed she injured his hand while working and wasn't compensated nothing. She borrowed money to come to japan, so she couldn't go back home.

We should debate about this problem seriously.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

AgentX

Today  03:06 pm JST

oops

I actually meant to say that when it comes to laborers who go overseas to work like most Filipinos... they rate their Japanese host/handlers as gentler compared to hte much cruel bosses in rich arab countries.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

This is my most objective opinion possible as a person living in a European Country hit by massive immigration. It's easy labeling people as "racists" or "fascists", when you aren't living directly the consequences of WRONG model of mass migration. Because there are many different ways to deal with this problem, but what happened in my Country so far, and in general in the EU, in these latest decades, is completely wrong. The massive migration from Africa is a clear example of wrong migration, it's just a business (human traffic).

Most of these "migrants" aren't refugees, they are young men who think they can come to Europe where they can live only thanks to welfare. This is why they complain so hard if they have not immediately free housing. There's some kind of marketing in Africa, that let these young men believe that Europe is the Eldorado. It's a business involving the ONG and the so called cooperatives, that gain tons of money on this human traffic. The cooperatives are paid by the State 35,00 Euro per migrant. A small part of those money go to the migrant, the rest to the cooperatives. The migrants AREN'T working, only some of them start to work, but most of them continue to live thanks to Welfare State. They are not learning the language, they aren't studying, they are not learning a job. They end up to handle illegal activities, like drug and prostitution. There's not any kind of "integration". This kind of model is something any Country should avoid, of course. It's just an illegal business, bad both for the migrants, and the honest citizens of the host Country. Immigration must be legal, handled properly by the government. People must arrive into the Country LEGALLY, not by sea handled by ambiguous organizations. People must be aware they must learn the language and WORK, there's not free housing, clothes, smartphones and food, like the marketing in their Country of origin made them believe. When they arrive, they must understand they have rights and duties, exactly like the other citizens. They mustn't accept any form of exploitation in the job market, because this will ruin the job market in general. The European worker will be forced to accept ridiculous salary to win the competition with the migrant, causing a deflation of the salaries. I could continue endlessly, but I hope to have been clear enough. People who are not living in a Country interested by this kind of problems can't express a concrete opinion about it. They will speak only according to utopian ideals. I like utopian societies as well, but reality is different.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@AgentX: you are oversimplifying the problem. It's not true AT ALL that the locals don't accept the diversity, and the migrants get marginalized for this. At least not in my Country. There are some communities that DON'T WANT integration at all. There's plenty of Muslim parents who will NEVER let their children interact or marry with an Italian person. They will beat up their daughters if they act like Western teenagers, despite the fact they brought their sons to live in a Western Country. Then you have people like the Gipsys, that no matter what, they don't want to work, and they admit OPENLY that job isn't part of their culture. They teach their kids that robbery is their "job". There's no way to change their mindset. Then you have the Chinese. They are hard workers, but a very closed community as well. Generally, Chinese parents don't want their children marry Italian people. I could continue. Here in Italy we let our kids free to interact and marry with whom they want. But some migrants don't want integration at all, they are creating their own ghettos by themselves. People from Africa started to call themselves "African-Italian", despite here in Italy we are trying to fight this kind of mindset. If you are Italian citizen, you are Italian, we don't care about your skin color. But they are adopting the same attitude of minorities in America. We don't want to create a ghetto mindset, but they are doing that by themselves.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

It’s actually in Japan’s best interest to keep them short term and have a revolving-door arrangement. Also, Japan can afford to be choosy.

Its stupid. Adopt policies that treat them as short term, disposable labor and they'll act like short term, disposable labor - do the least they can to get by, take the money they earn home with them when they leave and never come back . Adopt policies that give them an incentive to actually invest themselves in this country long term and they'll do that - work hard, act appropriately, start businesses, pay taxes, support their communities.

The idea that AI is going to solve all of Japan's demographic problems is equally foolish.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

They add diversity too.'

forgive me in advance for questioning the holy diversity, but why is this such a great thing?

Why is a comment like this being thumbed down?

It’s a perfectly reasonable question. Plenty of very nice Japanese people I know don’t want ‘diversity’. I happen think it’s s good thing as long as the diverse ideas and practices are all decent. Unfortunately, not all of them are.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Why is a comment like this being thumbed down? It’s a perfectly reasonable question. Plenty of very nice Japanese people I know don’t want ‘diversity’. I happen think it’s s good thing as long as the diverse ideas and practices are all decent. Unfortunately, not all of them are.

That's a very valid point, jimizo. Would even go further, we don't have to embrace multiculturalism everyday of our lives & in all circumstances. Personally, there are days when I love/miss 'multiculturalism', others when i'd like to only be surrounded by similar ppl who speak the same language, others by no one or by asians only or euros only or aussies only, others when etc.

My point is, I don't think one can 'love' or 'hate' all aspects of multiculturalism every day of their life, i certainly don't.

@alex, very interesting posts.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Dear Japanese people:

NOT everybody outside Japan is a psychopath, criminal, rapist, uneducated moron.

Hope you someday understand that as much as we understand your concerns and fears of the unknown.

Peace.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Why is a comment like this being thumbed down?

First off why do you care? Secondly if you really NEED and answer there are plenty of xenophobic foreigners among the Japanese here too who think that diversity is along the lines of genocide.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Japan's immigration policies should be based first and foremost on one thing -- what's good for Japan. That goes for any country.

Yes, the would-be immigrant certainly draws some benefit from immigration too, economically and/or otherwise.

But with regard to any country's immigration policies, the country's first priority should NOT be what's best for the immigrant. What's best for the country should be prioritized.

And what's best for the country could change over time. For instance, a country may not need unskilled workers at a given time -- so therefore, it shouldn't place high priority on importing them.

But later on, if a need for unskilled workers does arise, immigration policy should change accordingly. It should change with the times and with changing needs.

Again, a country's first immigration priority should be based on how a given immigrant's presence in the country benefits the COUNTRY. Yes, the immigrant will benefit too, but that should not be what immigration law is based on.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

But later on, if a need for unskilled workers does arise, immigration policy should change accordingly. It should change with the times and with changing needs.

Here in Japan there is little pressing need for the "highly" skilled workers that ABE wants to come here. And few who have the skills are willing to come because of the immigration policies and poor working conditions, and let's not mention lousy pay, with little to no chance of promotion.

Japan NEEDS unskilled workers across the board, and people particularly in the service related industries. The part time job magazines are over flowing with companies and businesses looking, damn near crying for employees, but they are unwilling to pay a living wage, so they suffer.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

In a region surrounded with potential access pool of 1 billion+ laborers from South and South East Asia and underdeveloped regions of China, Japan can still make use of these billions as “buffer” where A.I. and automation technologies can’t yet take over.

In short, treat this arrangement as a buffer and easily cancel this temp labor program once automation/articifial intelligence/singularity rears its head across the 1st world nations.

Very good points. Japan will be a leader in applying A.I and highly advanced automation. They already are which is just as well. So this idea of using limited, skills based immigration to cover labor shortages until that revolution takes place is certainly something the Japanese government needs to be mindful about.

It may, and the jury is out, but it may be tough enough to find employment for the workforce Japan already has. Immigration, large scale, might be adding to a problem down the track

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

rainyday

Today  05:49 pm JST

Adopt policies that treat them as short term, disposable labor and they'll act like short term, disposable labor - do the least they can to get by, take the money they earn home with them when they leave and never come back .

The above make sense when the context is on no/low-skilled manual labor. Lots of no/low-skilled manual labor could be automated in the near future - in construction and farming,for starters. In light of this, it really does make sense for japan to have revolving door policy on no/low-skilled labor and use it as a buffer for domestic companies who can’t yet transition to automation due to cost or immature tech/process (still in beta stage and not yet ready for commercial release)

Adopt policies that give them an incentive to actually invest themselves in this country long term and they'll do that - work hard, act appropriately, start businesses, pay taxes, support their communities. 

This should be rightfully reserved for those who are highly skilled or those with high end credentials. Japan is even ready to reward these with permanent residency right away

The idea that AI is going to solve all of Japan's demographic problems is equally foolish.

It will be readilly apparent that western nations that still continue mass immigration when a.i./automation goes full bloom will be saddled with high population but not enough jobs. Japan could escape that fate if they don’t follow westerners this time around.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

The Abe Cabinet should maintain the immigration status quo in short-term (5-10 years), with limited numbers of foreign trainees coming in for short-term Visa.

In the long-term, robots and drones can do most of the work on the farms, hospitals and in the factories.Farmers like Sawaura-San should be investing in robots already, or risk the farm going bankrupt.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The Abe Cabinet should maintain the immigration status quo in short-term (5-10 years), with limited numbers of foreign trainees coming in for short-term Visa.

You proposing giving them credit cards?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Farmers like Sawaura-San should be investing in robots already, or risk the farm going bankrupt.

His farm will go bankrupt sooner if he "hires" robots. Robots can not do all the manual work required in farming. Sure MAYBE some chores, but Japanese farmers are too small to use corporate techniques and the costs involved in making them reliant on robots would make the cost of what they produce only available to those with cash.

Nope aint gonna happen here, next idea?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Alex80, thanks for your sensible and informed input.

Jimizo, also, thanks for reasonable comments. Notice how some virtually foam at the mouth at anyone questioning 'diversity.'

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Japan may wish to consider recruitment from many Nikkei communities overseas such as the U. S. where many of Japanese descent may be looking for work.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Jimizo, also, thanks for reasonable comments. Notice how some virtually foam at the mouth at anyone questioning 'diversity.'

I actually like the idea of diversity as long as the diverse aspects are good. I just wondered why a reasonable question about this idea was thumbed down.

I think the tactic of calling anyone who dares mention the negative aspects of immigration some kind of racist or phobe is becoming more and more discredited.

Good riddance to it.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Robots can not do all the manual work required in farming. Sure MAYBE some chores, but Japanese farmers are too small to use corporate techniques and the costs involved

Wrong. Robots are now able to do every task on the farm. They are no longer just for dancing or giving directions to Customer. From cutting vegetable, carrying, sorting and driving the truck. They dont need salary or healthcare. Dont need the Visa. The average age of Japanese farmers is 70. Many are in their 80s and 90s.

There is no long-term option than to replace the farmers with robots and flying drones. The Abe Cabinet has recently pushed through reforms of its JA businesses, to make them streamlined. Japan will manage the generation transition of farmer to robot farmer.Economy will boom more than Western economy with controversial immigration programs.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Alex80 pretty much said it better than I could.

Good clear and thoughtful posts.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I see the beginning of a wakeup to the brainwashing of 'diversity' that has been imposed on the west for decades now. It really took root. But finally people are beginning to see the lie for what it is.

Does Iceland need 'diversity'?

Does Japan? Does Germany, France or Italy. Or Sweden?

The answer is no, no matter how hard it is for the socially engineered to accept.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@Cochise Oh, diversity is very much needed or you end up with great situations like this...

https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/abroad/the-controversial-christmas-tradition-of-blackface-in-the-netherlands-1.3336142

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-43081218

I don't suggest blind implementation, but it is better than this stupidity. Effective diversity creates awareness of other cultures besides one's own.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

There are legitimate questions about the negative impacts of immigration and diversity, be it legal, or even worse, illegal. There shouldn't be any knee-jerk reaction to this, as it doesn't, or not necessarily, mean it's about racism or xenophobia.

However, people shouldn't use the immigration-skeptic argument to turn a blind eye on the abuses that foreign laborers face. A government is responsible to keep a healthy balance, and they can't just go "I want cheap foreign workers, they're good for business!" one day, then say "They're ruining our society, vote for me because I'll kick them out!" the next. These workers are scapegoats.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well, it’s natural that politics take a back seat to economics. Always did in the long run. This in turn will be a decisive factor changing society. I wish the next generations luck. Don’t do what America and Europe did, creating social strife, but I think I’m talking to the wall. Japan needs foreigners - for the sake of Japan..and the world.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Dont need the Visa.

You are right, they don't need credit cards! Btw it's visa, not Visa, did it twice now, so I can safely assume you don't know the difference! One is the thing you use at immigration, the other is to purchase those incredibly expensive robots that will bankrupt the farmers.

The individual farmer in Japan can not get by on relying on technology alone, and farmers like the one in the picture above, are harvesting a vegetable that is labor intensive, and can not be done by robots.

If robots could do all of those jobs you dream about, one would think that it would have been done first by the huge conglomerate farmers in other countries...but no, they still use seasonal pickers and migrant workers.

It is NOT cost effective and if they can't afford it, there is no way the little Japanese farmer can! You live in a dream world but reality is totally different.

So next idea? This one isnt a solution.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Does Iceland need 'diversity'?

The current population of Iceland is 337,671 as of Monday, June 18, 2018, based on the latest United Nations estimates. The median age in Iceland is 36.3 years.

Does Germany, France or Italy. Or Sweden?

The current population of Germany is 82,286,886 as of Monday, June 18, 2018, based on the latest United Nations estimates. The median age in Germany is 46.0 years.

The current population of France is 65,223,759 as of Monday, June 18, 2018, based on the latest United Nations estimates. The median age in France is 41.4 years.

The current population of Sweden is 9,979,894 as of Monday, June 18, 2018, based on the latest United Nations estimates. The median age in Sweden is 40.9 years.

Does Japan?

The current population of Japan is 127,195,648 as of Monday, June 18, 2018, based on the latest United Nations estimates. The median age in Japan is 46.7 years.

In Japan with a population of over 125 Million there are around 50,000 immigrants. Only 10,000 less than Sweden, and Sweden has about less than 1/10 the population of Japan. Do the math.

Oh how about Germany, 82 Million plus, and well over 300,000 migrants, and the telling factor to look at statistically is the median age, and fertility rate, in relation to number of migrants. Germany is close to Japan in both, yet Japan's median age rate is increasing, and the fertility rate going down. Quality of life in Germany, is arguably better than Japan, and let's not forget about the "green" movement, free education, high quality health services too.

Japan needs migrants to stabilize the economy and help it grow. It doesnt need slaves!

http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/germany-population/

2 ( +4 / -2 )

In continuation of previous . . .,

Nikkei who are struggling or unemployed in their 'foreign' residences should be given priority over new comers, to find employment and see their ancestral homeland.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Que a 2,500 question exam as a prerequisite to get a visa for picking strawberries.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

HonestDictater, I dont understand your thinking. The Nethelands has experienced decades of 'diversity' and still the (harmless btw) tradition mentioned in the link continues. Whats your solution - even more muslim immigrants to poor old Holland?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Importing temporary labor is fine but immigration is not something that Japan can do without creating social difficulty. This fear of shrinking population is unreasonable, look at the countries like Canad and Russia with huge territories and with small population in Canada and shrinking population in Russia. Both countries are managing well, Canada by slightly increasing, bat mainly replacing the natural population losses and Russia by making everyone work rather then having high unemployment like western countries. Japan has relative to its land mass a very dense population all concentrated in few overpopulated areas while most of the landmass is empty. If Japan brings in few millions of immigrants it will create a great pressure on its cultural and social order and as in all other countries Immigrants are unable or unwilling to settle in a rural areas, instead they will go to, or later move to big city where they can build their own cultural and religious enclaves and have their children get educated. Problem is the reluctance of foreigners to stop being foreigners and integrate not only in to the society economically but also in to the culture. Coming from Balkan Country fifty years ago I lost almost all differences between myself and my Canadian born compatriots, learned both languages quickly and worked all this time as an equal Canadian. Two important things, never wanted to be treated specially or different and never allowed to be treated different than my compatriots. Have one son living in Japan for I think sixteen years now. If it was not for the European stature and face one could not tell him different from his Japanese neighbors and friends. What makes a difference is the not simply willingness but having a pleasure in fully integrating with his surroundings. For those that want to integrate mixed marriage and bringing up a familly in the ways of local culture is a must. I would be really sorry to see Japan became like the western countries where loss of cultural and social integrity is appalling.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Adopt policies that give them an incentive to actually invest themselves in this country long term and they'll do that - work hard, act appropriately, start businesses, pay taxes, support their communities."

It is that last part that overrides all the preceding; "support their communities" That is the problem. They do want to work and they do want to get rich bur most of them want to build their distinct community, a small country of their origin like environment, rather than be a part of the culture of the host country. Canada, USA and many European countries are full of ghettos and zones where none-members are unwelcome. It becomes like many little countries inside a country. Not to forget that religions are mor than half of the problem packed in the bag of every immigrant from third world country. Multiculturalism equals tribalism clanism and disintegration of social and cultural bonds of the country as a whole

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Temporary workers and migrants are very different beasts. Those with a limited time in Japan will not invest in the nation and ship their earnings out of the country. Yes it will support some businesses but not the nation as a whole. Migrants will want to settle and build lives. They will invest in the country and help create a more sustainable future for it. There will be cultural friction and some people’s attitudes will harden to immigration, but those European nations some are criticizing have largely made a success of it. What they’ve lost in homogeneity they’ve more than regained in productivity and dynamism. I find it hard to understand how current migrants to Japan , who came here seeking a different life and new ideas, can openly spout intolerance.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If by chance the country actually listens to you, you can say good bye to the Japan you know today, that much I can guarantee you!

@yubaru - read as a standalone sentence, who would be able to tell whether you are talking in favour of immigration or not.

Actually, your point was that Japan as we know it would grow economically far weaker without additional labour which was result in the end of Japan as we know it.

However, you could also argue that allowing mass immigration could also mean the end of Japan as we know it. It would still be Japan, but rather less Japanese than we know it today.

It is up to the Japanese to decide whether they would rather be poorer but still more Japanese, or richer, but with far higher immigration.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Culture genocide: I'd rather be poor and keeping alive my family history than be rich with no background. Common sense.

Alex80 has expressed mainstream opinion of Europeans. Most Politicians are existing to show off, not to solve problems. Japan is perfect example.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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