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Japan's population target unlikely without migrants but door stays shut

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By Linda Sieg

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If it were other countries like Europe or the USA talking about concerns over immigration, that is acceptable. However, when it comes to Japan, any concerns about immigration are immediately drowned out by shouts of 'racism' and 'xenophobic' hate mongers.

Anyone can see that uncontrolled immigration has slowly but surely ruined the fabric of many nations around the globe. Sure, Japan the country could allow more immigrants, but not without strict controls.

-18 ( +25 / -43 )

@oldman_13

Anyone can see that uncontrolled immigration has slowly but surely ruined the fabric of many nations around the globe.

Oh please... I'm sure you can't come up with even one example where the 'fabric' of the nation has been destroyed. The children of immigrants will be just as Japanese as their native counterparts within one generation.

16 ( +28 / -13 )

Four decades after the first forecasts that Japan’s population decline was inevitable, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is drawing a demographic red line with a target to halt the slide at 100 million people by 2060, a 20% drop from current levels.

But holding the line will likely be difficult and costly unless Japan opens the door wider to long-term immigration, a step policy-makers say they have no intention of taking.

These two statements say all you need to know about Japan. First off, the problem has been identified for over FORTY YEARS, but nothing has been done. And, secondly, Japan's in-bred fear/island mentality will keep it from doing what is needed. Will the last person left please remember to shut off the lights.

11 ( +19 / -8 )

As I have mentioned before and as an immigrant myself(I have PR in Japan), unless there is some catastrophe i.e yen to 200/US$, a major bond crash, people are refused at hospital because there is no staff, nothing will ever change.

If you stay five years, you don't have to be a good citizen, you don't have to speak the Japanese language.

I couldn't agree more. My Japanese is actually worse than it was 5 years ago. People keep calling me "foreigner", making me feel I not a member of Japanese society so eventually I ended up hanging out only with other non-Japanese(i.e non Yamato minzoku). Japan needs an immigration policy and make sure these immigrants are integrated into Japanese society. Being called "Gaijin" on a daily basis surely doesn't make me feel at home.

16 ( +24 / -8 )

The thing is, even as a foreigner who lives here, I don't want a completely open door open to all comers immigration either.

It needs to be more open than it is and allow people who do commit to Japan to have a long stable life here without being treated like some kind of guest ATM with nearly no more rights than a person on a visitors visa. However, I would also like to keep the bar high and fairly strict, large numbers of people suddenly coming in is both bad for the locals and the people coming, a more controlled long term system is needed.

Im not sure why, depending on if a conservative or liberal government is in power in almost any country they seem to think one policy is what will address a problem.

It seems that it will take; making significant changes to the work culture to allow young people the chance to afford and have time for families, Im sure for many it just seems impossible.

Significant increase of support for young families, with day care and perhaps allowances for insurances,food, schools, uniforms.. and all those expensive things.

Labour laws and working hours that allow mothers, and fathers, to participate in their families while contributing to the economy.

Immigration laws that are strict but fair, Japan has already made some positive changes in the few years, increasing visa lengths and changing requirements to allow trained professionals an easier path in, but there are some major issues still.

No reasonable path to citizenship, requiring people to give up their other citizenships.

Lack of law to protect non-japanese residents, such as real estate, banking and employment laws that allow discrimination that in most developed countries would make front page news.

I love my adopted home, but I fear for its long term future, if it doesn't make a few perhaps slightly uncomfortable decisions now it will be faced with some very difficult ones in the future.

The other thing, is young Japanese people with the right to vote need to start paying attention to what is going on, and take action to protect their futures too, right now it is being taken away from them by people who won't be here when it gets tough.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

To be honest, Japan is well within its rights not to accept mass immigration if they don't want to. As they say "Its your funeral."

But if they wont accept immigration, they are going to either find an awful lot more babies, or accept that Japan is not going to be the same place it is now in 50 years time. That the working men of today are probably not going to have a pension, and that the elderly are going to be at risk of neglect because of a serious shortage of elderly care services - both in terms of financial aid from the government and a shortage of care workers.

In my opinion they need to be practically begging the women of this country who already have a child, to have more children. The young women who only want to live at home with mummy until they are 40 and spend their salary on louis vuitton, and the herbivore men who dont like women, are a lost cause.

I say offering a large lump sum for every child born, which increases drastically with each subsequent child, to help offput the costs of living and education. Along with huge tax decreases for large families.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Japan doesn't want foreign people, but nobody wants to live there with the ongoing Fukushima disaster. So Japanese people can relax...they will keep their "cultural homogeneity" till they will disappear. It's their free choice. Absurd, imho, but it's their choice. I'm Italian, Italy is a multicultural society and I like it. The real problem is the mass immigration to my country because it's complicated to handle tons of desperate people who arrive by sea almost every day, and Europe isn't helping us how it should (if you know the situation on Lampedusa island, you know what I'm speaking about), but it's a different kind of problem.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Large-scale immigration could depress wages, and then the economy will be back at square one, in its deflationary cycle with people like construction workers back at subsistence wages.

Finally, we're getting some inflation and growth and a slight bit of wage increases -- which is what the gov't has been aiming for -- and it's largely thanks to the "labor shortage." Don't the policymakers realize that?

-10 ( +9 / -19 )

Anyone , who live in Europe, can see the rise of parties that want to limit immigration , even inside of EU countries, specially from east EU countries , and some of smaller countries , Switzerland for instance, with population of 8 million people , they recently had a referendum on, will they limit immigration , and the referendum ended with 50,4 % for yes on limiting immigration. One of the reasons why they voted yes is that immigration changed the demography of Switzerland, they had in recent several years the rise of imigration to the number of 80.000per year , and because of that, today one quarter of Switzerland population are immigrants .

1 ( +8 / -7 )

@JeffLee

Large-scale immigration could depress wages, and then the economy will be back at square one, in its deflationary cycle with people like construction workers back at subsistence wages.

Wait....Who's wages would be depressed? The local construction workers that we don't have? This is nonsense.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Abe will be long dead and gone by 2060, when his miraculous plan is supposed to come to fruition, but won't. If the lack of elderly care and lack of pensions happens, then maybe the few that remain will actually step up and do something, instead of sticking their collective heads in the sand. No one else really cares what happens to Japan, so it is up to the japanese to do what they feel is best. If it pans out... Great. If it doesn't... Time to try something else.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Well let's see. Rice is 7X the world price. Kei car tax and registration is being raised so the big car makers stay rich, heck with the little guy. Beer is 60USD per case. Why wouldn't young people want to have lots of children, or even get married for that reason?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

“If the trend continues, the population will fall below 100 million in 2048, and to about 87 million by 2060. At that point, 40% of people will be 65 or over.”

Japan’s policy makers should really get serious on this alarming trend. Burying head in sand and living in denial can only make thing worse, and thus miss the window of opportunity. Don’t forget the downward trend of low-birth rate started around three decades ago. Lack of leadership has been leading Japan to this point.

Maybe, to increase number of immigrants can’t address the root the issue, but in short term, it would be a decent step to hold the line.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm not at all convinced that Japanese people are so vehemently against immigration as we are led to believe. Opinion polls on this are notoriously unreliable. I think many Japanese people may be against immigration in the abstract but would support it if presented with specific scenarios where it could be beneficial to them or their company. They would probably say 'well, those are the good ones that Japan needs'.

It reminds me of the opinion polls where people self identify themselves as being 'conservative' but when those same people are asked to give their opinion on specific issues, they turn out to actually hold incredibly liberal views in practice.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

"The local construction workers that we don't have?"

No, the local construction workers we do have.

The narrative on the "labor shortage" is told to us by powerful people with clear vested interests (ie, they need cheaper workers to raise their already record-high profits and pay their shareholders bigger dividends).

Evidence of a labor shortage is rising real wages, which was non-existent until very recently.

So I suppose you don't see the irony that the current good economic news: rising wages, inflation, etc., is largely due to the somewhat tighter labor market? Let's keep it that way, I say.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

News? Or stating the obvious.

I think it will take two more decades for Japan's anti-immigrant population to die off. Then some change will come. Sure, some people younger than 50 are pretty Old School, but the 40 under crowd really doesn't seem to mind ferners that much.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

There is a sizable number of foreign workers who are not subscribing to social security, hiding income which is detrimental especially if they are residing in govt housing and working and living far from the address listed in their alien cards. The others who abstain themselves from paying in simply want to enjoy the money intended for social security and when worse comes to worst would be the first in line for welfare shedding crocs tears. While the others do away with membership to cover up giso marriages. As for foreign trainees, not sure now, but before, some were able to run away from their original sponsors and find better paying jobs which is a big no. As for foreign students which are really govt scholars, Iam just aghast why they are allowed to transgress the stipulation on their contracts to return to their home countries right after their studies without making them serve penalties like paying back the cost of their studies. It just saddens me that ordinary Japanese are ask to pay back college matriculation even after marriage till they can pay back the whole cost of their studies. Can they not extend the same thing to people who are already in Japan or to those Jyouths whose time is wasted revving their bikes or to young Jgirls whose idea is just to prop themselves like dolls and go snatch rich men? Japan does not need immigration laws. The Jdescendants real or fakes and their next generations are adding up, not withstanding those foreign men and ladies married to Japanese with non Japanese children. Everybody is adding up. To think that some toiling in factories, washing dishes in hotels are real licensed professionals in their home countries. some Jleaders in factories just need to be reminded that if they need women to bed they have to go to pink salons otherwise they just have to wait for the women to fall for them head over heels!

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

NO ONE is talking about uncontrolled immigration, but about more chances or incentives to get people to stay here longer than the 3 years trainee program (aka cheap labor). Japan, like any other nation will only act and go out of its comfort zone when the problem is more real and urgent, in other words, when you are personally affected by the lack of a work force.

I think we will feel the effects on the housing market first. In the near future I will try to sell my house but there will be so many unoccupied units down the street people can just move in for free that no one will be willing to buy a house anymore. The only thing that has kept this trend from happening right now (even as we see the real estate market free fall in most cities, apart from the main metropolis) is that people are still reluctant to buy second hand houses. Any one willing to buy used properties they are cheaper than most markets in the world right now but they will still go down in value.

When people really feel the pain of not having enough citizens to keep the machine rolling people will will have to change their minds. As long as everyone treat this as some problem for the future, no one will want to do anything. But this is very much real and present. Just walk into any major markets or department store and you will not believe that the foreign population makes up only 2% of the total. If you go into places like Toys r us you would think that only foreigners have babies here.

As about the Brazilian experiments, yes that is a wake up call, but not that it doesn't work, but that Japan is not so HOT anymore. Only a few years back people would die for a chance to come and live here but the Japanese market is not so attractive anymore. With few chances to go up the company ladder it is hard to get capable professionals to stay here for long.

And to the people who are so contrary to immigration but all for the cheap labor program used now, don't expect them to pay for your retirement or your health care. They are only that, cheap labor that will be gone in 3 years, don't expect them to be exemplary citizens either, they won't be.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

As about the Brazilian experiments, yes that is a wake up call, but not that it doesn't work, but that Japan is not so HOT anymore. Only a few years back people would die for a chance to come and live here but the Japanese market is not so attractive anymore. With few chances to go up the company ladder it is hard to get capable professionals to stay here for long.

I have many south american of Japanese descent friends in Japan. They were also treated as cheap labor, there were few Japanese language programs for them etc. Perhaps the Japanese government just thought that they would miraculously integrate because they have Yamato minzoku blood.

And to the people who are so contrary to immigration but all for the cheap labor program used now, don't expect them to pay for your retirement or your health care. They are only that, cheap labor that will be gone in 3 years, don't expect them to be exemplary citizens either, they won't be.

I fully agree. These are just temporary fixes that won't do anything to solve the long term population problems Japan faces.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

They don't want more immigrants. Fine. I get that. However, they aren't making it any easier for families to have kids here either. Having a baby is not free - yes, you do get a lump sum but that varies as does the cost of having a kid, there are massive daycare waiting lists, men are working crazy hours, women think they are entitled to stay home and those that do work, are passed up for promotion because they are female. Sales taxes and costs have gone up, people are stressed out, many can folks in their 20s can't find stable employment...Japan slowly erodes all while wanting to go back to the glory days. Remove your heads from your behinds government officials because you are slowly killing this country one step at a time. I also blame the public for sitting here and allowing it to happen. They'd rather die off than allow some quality immigrants into the country. Come 70 I am out of this country but I am certaibly not looking forward to the social welfare system I am propping up between now and then.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Large-scale immigration could depress wages, and then the economy will be back at square one, in its deflationary cycle with people like construction workers back at subsistence wages.

The narrative on the "labor shortage" is told to us by powerful people with clear vested interests (ie, they need cheaper workers to raise their already record-high profits and pay their shareholders bigger dividends).

What you don't seem to understand is that the 'powerful people' will get their cheap labor one way or another. They'll just suppress the wages (like they've always done), continue talking of labor shortages (because no one wants such low paying, dangerous jobs) even in times of moderate unemployment and then get the gov to pass special laws for temp workers. Won't it be better for everyone is these workers had a chance to actually immigrate to the country?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The narrative on the "labor shortage" is told to us by powerful people with clear vested interests (ie, they need cheaper workers to raise their already record-high profits and pay their shareholders bigger dividends)....So I suppose you don't see the irony that the current good economic news: rising wages, inflation, etc., is largely due to the somewhat tighter labor market? Let's keep it that way, I say.

Spot on.

Additionally, never believe statistics 100%. This is a big problem, and these numbers are great at showing how serious the problem has become. Its also great that Japan is tackling this issue, but there is very little reason to believe that there is going to be a Japanese population of 80million by 2060. The world isn't a vacuum and the government is tackling the issue and with a stronger economy will come a higher fertility rate.

Immigration is not some magic-bullet to solve Japan's problems. Getting more women in the work-place (letting them have both a family and a career), and revitalizing the countryside (stimulating investment away from Tokyo which has the lowest fertility rate in the country and which is where most foreigners would live, btw) would serve the nation better.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@JeffLee

So I suppose you don't see the irony that the current good economic news: rising wages, inflation, etc., is largely due to the somewhat tighter labor market? Let's keep it that way, I say.

In an export led manufacturing economy like Japan a labour shortage is not a good thing. Wages will temporarily rise when there is a labour shortage, but only up until the point that the factory shuts down and all jobs are lost because its products are too expensive to compete in the global market.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Its also great that Japan is tackling this issue

How are they doing this? I see the opposite if anything. As I pointed out, this country has made it harder with the increase in slaes tax and rising costs for families to have kids. I don't see more women working FT. I see more working PT but not paying taxes. These women aren't having more kids because they are working PT to be able to afford the one child they already have.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I think it is important to remember that they just relaxed immigration criteria for more highly skilled individuals (http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/highly-skilled-foreigners-to-be-allowed-to-stay-permanently-in-japan) and that this will mean more immigration by the type of citizens you want to have, highly skilled, highly educated, highly productive, and preferably with families so they're stable.

Like most politicians Abe is trying to put a spin on the new immigration for highly skilled foreigners, appeasing the nationalists with words while passing legislation that lets in more of the right type of foreigners.

It is important to draw a line between new legislation passed and what politicians say to please the lunatic fringe.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

M3M3M3 The children of immigrants will be just as Japanese as their native counterparts within one generation.

Are the children of mexican immigrants as american as their native counterparts?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If it were other countries like Europe or the USA talking about concerns over immigration, that is acceptable. However, when it comes to Japan, any concerns about immigration are immediately drowned out by shouts of 'racism' and 'xenophobic' hate mongers.

Well, I can see two problems with your comment. One, the reason people are shouting racism and xenophobia is because the only reasons being put forward by those opposed to immigration are openly racist and xenophobic ones.

And second, since when have Europeans or Americans gotten a free pass for using racist or xenophobic grounds for being opposed to immigration?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Even if the current rate of population decline continues, it will take at least 60 years to return to the war time level of 70 million. The median estimate predicts that Japan will reach wartime (1940) levels by the end of this century. http://www1.mhlw.go.jp/english/wp_5/vol1/images/f2-5-1-2.gif Japan was not so underpopulated in 1940 and it will not be when it reaches that level again.

Why does Japan want to be big? Why not be good?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@noumen.arete

Are the children of mexican immigrants as american as their native counterparts?

I'm sorry but I don't know about Mexico or America. I am just talking about conditions in Japan. It is difficult to escape cultural influences and pressures here in Japan which have a strong normative influence on the way people live and behave. Anyone who has lived in Japan for many years or is born here would find the societal pressure to assimilate impossible to resist. There are many foreigners in Japan who are probably more 'Japanese' by virtue of their lifestyle and behaviour than many Japanese themselves.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Once again, why is the population shrinking? That is the question which must be addressed, and the problem which most needs to be solved. The fundamental problems in the society and the economy cannot be solved by merely allowing more immigrants into the country.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Xenophobic voters with a presence on the Internet have amplified those concerns, making conservative politicians even more reluctant to address the topic.

They are scared of them, I'm sure these people are a serious minority.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well immigration is one part of the solution but other solutions need to be found amongst the japanese population too. While i do think the need to know the native language of the country your trying to intergrate into is pretty much essential. There also needs to be changes in societys view on foreginers in japan. Here in canada especially in my area we have many many cultures mixing together and we pride ourselves on being inclusive and accepting of everyone. Japanese society seems to be backwards in this way of thinking. Everyone must become japanese to live in japan. While the culture and societial "rules" are quite different from any western countrys. Its not like we cant learn and be accepting while we are in "their country". If we as foreginers were more accepting and willing to change. The Society would view us in a better light. But for that to work the society also needs to be inclusive towards us while we want to learn about the society the barriers put up by japanese society makes it harder to learn. I love japan and japanese people and the society. But i feel excluded and it makes me not want to see their beautiful culture and people anymore.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The problem is that old men don't care much about the future. They just want to keep the status quo. Fact is: Japan will become extinct as a Nation if you don't allow mass immigration or find any other way that japanese women produce more children. It has nothing to do with if you like that idea of mass immigration or not, it is a must or accept the consequences.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Such figures have raised the specter of a Japan where ghost towns dot the countryside

Even if Japan allowed in immigrants, I don't see how that would help in this respect. This isn't a matter of population as much as it is one of lifestyle.

Who knows though, if telecommuting (really) takes off people might opt to live in the bush rather than spend a large fraction of their waking day on crowded commuter trains getting to and from work.

Not likely though, like with lots of Japan's problems. Maybe the government should adopt that "All I need is a miracle, all I need is you" tune as it's immigration theme song.

government coffers collapse under the fiscal strain

Not sure immigrants really want to come to Japan to help fix the mess that is Japanese government coffers, either. And it seems like Japan doesn't want to welcome immigrants in such a volume as to make that problem easily solvable.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

well said nz2011, took the words right out of my mouth.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NO ONE is talking about uncontrolled immigration, but about more chances or incentives to get people to stay here longer than the 3 years trainee program (aka cheap labor).

SauloJpn -- spot on. Just do the math. Even if they took the maximum of 200,000 people a year, that would be a million over five years. At a current population of 127 million, we are talking about 8 tenths of 1% of the population -- in five years. Comparisons to the U.S. or European countries that have had mass migrations are just silly.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Japan has 4 possibilities. The least likely (I hope) is described in the book "the submersion of Japan". The second, just as unlikely, is J-government seeing the light in the next 5 years, and taking in massively Chinese migrants, as they can chose them educated and already fluent in kokugo, and establish closer relations with China like an economic union, and well, even if Japanese ends up as the Luxembourg in E.U,, that would be a comfortable situation. The third is they just wait, and they'll got massive Chinese immigration by armies and settling colons sent by Chinese government and Japanese culture would be preserved like...Tibetan culture, maybe. Then the most likely is Chinese investors will buy everything in Japan (and they've started), then at some point, the new owners will totally own the political class and will decide for them, and they'll bring a few millions of their compatriots to work and live in Japan. In the 2 last scenarii, what would be the fate of the masses of aged Nihonjins ? Well, start learning Mandarin...

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

As you know I am the last person to be called "conservative" in social issue.

The immigration issue is very complex and the stake is very high as there will be enormous social costs associated with it.

As you know, the US immigration model is not working and needs a drastic overhaul soon. It is a mess. Australia, Canada, Germany, they all have many issues as well. Therefore, Japan can take a deep breath and evaluate every pro/con before delivering ultimate decisions. The immigration in global economy has just too many stubborn issues. Good luck to you, Japan.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

When the bathtub is leaking, what do you do? Keep adding more water? Or fix the leak? The problem with increasing immigration is that it does nothing to solve the problems which have caused the Japanese birthrate to decline. With Japan shouldering the weight of an incredibly high cost of living, an overly-large (and expensive) government in relation to the size of the population, and an uncompetitive national economy, it is hardly a surprise that the population is declining. The Japanese simply cannot afford to bear, raise, and educate children. If we allow large-scale immigration, this will only allow the status-quo to continue indefinitely, which is not good for Japan, it's people, or the immigrants which come here.

Japan needs to seriously address the problems which are facing the country, rather than doing things which are merely politically-expedient.

11 ( +11 / -1 )

Ah, but, the point they are missing is, they have to give immigrants a reason to come here. Sadly, this is not an attractive country for immigrants, mainly because of the failing economy and also because of the lax labor laws that allow total exploitation of immigrant workers. You could also add the cultural prejudices for Japan's Asian neighbours. The foreign ministry and the labor ministry are totally missing the point. They have to give people a reason to come here and settle.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

M3M3M3, are you seriously kidding me?

Look at the U.K. or other European countries losing their identity from rampant immigration. Look at America and its problems.

Interesting how many other nations don't get criticized for being or wanting to stay homogeneous, except for Japan (Korea or China).

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I wonder if Japan will ultimately turn to cloning humans who are then raised in state-run facilities.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I agree with Oldman_13. Too many nations have had indeed had their core values stripped away by uncontrolled or lax immigration policies. If Japan relaxes its immigration policies it is not skilled and hard working pro Japan migrants that will gain a foot hold but rather those that are intent on abusing the system and setting up closed communities to feed off it and increase their numbers by any means possible. Japan is for the Japanese people and it needs to say this way. You only need to look to the UK to see what loosening immigration controls has done to the population demographic as well as the knock on affect of that! No thanks!

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Selective, skilled immigration works. Nothing is perfect - but compared to the disaster scenario of the future here of having almost half the population being over 65 - it's a no-brainer. Check out stable, wealthy nations accepting of immigration - such as Sweden, Canada, Australia, Holland, Germany to name a few - as evidence. Living standards and per-capita GDP are generally higher than Japan.

@ Dukeleto - please explain what you mean RE: negative points regarding the UKs changed "population demographic"? Having lived and worked there, it seems a pretty harmonious and peaceful nation to me. Just curious.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@oldman_13

Look at the U.K. or other European countries losing their identity from rampant immigration.

No-one has lost their identity or their culture in Europe. People still go to the UK to see the Queen, they go to Belgium for good beer and cheese, they still tour French vineyards, Parisians still line up in the morning to buy baguettes, everyone continues to buy Swiss watches.

If anything, the unwarranted fear and hysteria among some of immigration has lead to a greater preservation of cultural identity. As a white native english speaking male who has lived and worked in the UK and Europe I can personally assure you that we are not at all under threat. If anything we are now treated as first class citizens when it comes to most aspects of social life and employment.

It will be no different for Japan. Japanese people will not stop being Japanese just because a Korean of Chinese person has moved in next door.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

We need to make more babies!! The making is fine and fun, unfortunatley the infrastructure and incentive for raising them is less so.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Typical media hysterics to get a reaction on comment boards. The typical bait about xenophobic voters on message boards, blah blah blah.

The truth - with the technology changes there will be less need for any human workers. What will be needed are the street sweepers, toilet cleaners, and bed pan dumpers. Technology is quickly making entire career fields redundant. In ten years nations with large populations are going to have unemployment problems of a scale unheard of due to no need for humans.

Already first world nations are quickly becoming service industry economies. Look at the US and Europe, no need for human workers except in hotel/restaurant/club and the landscaping fields. Even production jobs in the third world are changing and retooling to robotics, humans are losing those outsourced jobs from the first world to robots.

Our focus needs to be on how do the same economically with less of a human pool.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@tmarie

70 and you are out of Japan? Why not leave now if you feel its that bad! At 70 you have limited choices be it that you live to see that number.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

@kyushubill, it is not about the workers. You are partly right here. Less population means less tax income (or tax increase) smaller GDP because less people produce less and consume less. Japan need mass immigration of skilled and educated young people.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Actually there is a simple solution to most of the problem which is under discussion. To ease central control and transfer some of the authority to the local government in which will lead to de-centralization of Tokyo.

Right now the biggest problem is price of land with most people moving in to greater Tokyo. If many of the regulations are decentralized, most company's HQ does not need to be located in Tokyo. with HQ relocated to places like Kyushu, Hokkaido and other parts of Japan it will spur the economy while cutting transit time to and from office with lower land prices which is the biggest burden for families and companies alike. Look at Toyota and/or Yamaha if they can do it so can many other companies.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

People who for immigration are the ones that after cheap labour nothing else. Corporate greed

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

"Interesting how many other nations don't get criticized for being or wanting to stay homogeneous, except for Japan (Korea or China)."

Well, yeah , funny that on a "Japan today " board that is dedicated to issues in...you know ...Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Simple solution: Japan will just build robots. I for one, am looking forward to Sony/Skynet overlords that will take over the Japan's labor force. Among other things.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan as I have been harping for ages if it wants to have a better future it MUST re-invent EVERYTHING, wholesale change of work/life balance is needed to have any chance for a better future

Sangetsu is right immigration by itself while part of the solution JUST wont fix the REAL core problems in Japan. Which are its too expensive for raising kids, neither mothers or fathers typically have much a of LIFE. But at the same time a lot of locals don't see the need to re-assess things..................so we get to watch the decline continue.

Japanese are pretty fatalistic bunch & they seem to be headed for a life style similar to NKorea! I am not sure they have it in them to get off the road they are racing down at the moment!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yeah I agree with Sangetsu also. Even with Immigration, Japan still has major issues to deal with. It seems to me they got it all backwards with their "force it" mentality. The dynamic they have created is to cram people into boxes known as mansions around Tokyo and Osaka and sacrifice quality of life for the company. Most over 30 cant even get a company seishain job anymore, so whats the use of chasing that dream? Wholesale change is required, indeed. If they put some effort into rebuilding their cities, like providing dedicated roads for cyclist to commute to work and spreading the communites, even the honshas to the countryside, people might feel like having a family. As things are now, whats the motivation for having a family? The woman must quit her job, dedicate years of her life riding her "hi tech" electric pedal bike to the supermarket to buy from an extremely limited selection of food/goods that keeps farmers and suppliers rich and the competetion out. "Happiness" comes from joining a crummy dirty park mom group and get to deal with student ijeme latter. Live in a box that takes 30 years to pay off the loan. The building belongs to somebody else; you get tittle to the box, however. If your lucky, you can buy a dog, but that too is sanctioned to about 4 or 5 breeds. I guess if you grow up seeing and living all that, damage is done and I dont think there is much motivation for starting a family.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Japan doesn't need immigration.It needs reform!!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

5petals & Sangetsu win the "Nail on the Head" trophy today.

If I was PM, I would definitely do some kind of depopulation of the main cities and move populations out to the country. Only the government can do this cuz the housing construction companies are too brian washed to dream of something new. Japan does not need immigrants. It just has to stop thinking that growth is the key to success. It's not 1980 anymore. Those days are long gone and will never come back. Japan needs to find an equilibrium with it's environment for it survive or it will crumble in 30 to 60 years from lack of imagination and innovation.

I've been looking to buy a house for almost two years now but refuse to live in this fuse box world they've built.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If I was PM, I would definitely do some kind of depopulation of the main cities and move populations out to the country.

Like Pol Pot?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Fizzbit What could the government do to encourage the depopulation of the main cities, if the people insist upon living there? There are plenty of hardly used motorways and bullet train stations so they have provided the infrastructure. There are loads of cheap houses and land in rural areas.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Like I mentioned Tim, imagination and innovation. I'm guessing you don't want me to go into detail about my ideas. lol

I'm not talking about the suburbs of Tokyo though, I'm talking about deep country, with all the fresh water, valleys and hills.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan doesn't need immigration.It needs reform!!

The reason why immgration is so attractive to government and business is that immgrants have no say in how companies operate, and no vote. Companies can keep puttering on as inefficienly as ever, as the immigrants will become part of the captive domestic market just like the Japanese are. The immigrants will not complain about long hours and no pay, just like Japanese workers. It is a good way to keep the entire broken apparatus more-or-less moving for a few more years. The government will be able to collect taxes from the immigrants, but the immigrants will of course receive no benefit of representation, nor will many of them eventually qualify to receive the benefits they paid so much for. It's a win-win situation for everyone but the immigrants and the Japanese people. I'm surprised they didn't think of this sooner.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japanese politicians are all really RICH and do not at all understand the situation of the common working stiff. The economic undertainty they have created means people won't get married or have children they don't think they can afford to raise. If we felt a stable situation, people would get married and have children. But they don't understand that at all.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Automation is going to destroy millions of jobs in the next twenty or thirty years. But there are some jobs that automation can't replace, so having fewer people means a better chance of having a job.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Interesting how many other nations don't get criticized for being or wanting to stay homogeneous, except for Japan (Korea or China).

I guess you have no idea how many different ethnics groups are in China.

70 and you are out of Japan? Why not leave now if you feel its that bad! At 70 you have limited choices be it that you live to see that number.

I won't have limited choices. That's just it. I am not stuck here like many of the locals who speak no other language than Japanese. Why do I stay? Job wise, I'm very comfortable. I make more than your average local, invest abroad, save my yen. I'm not worried about me personally. I'm worried about society has a whole. Not everyone has it as good as I do when it comes to work, savings and health. My husband has family resonsiblities and a job he loves. Not to mention, for the most part, job security until he's ready to retire. He however, is the one that has suggested that we get out of here when we are of retirement age because he can see the writing on the wall. The smart and well educated Japanese aren't dumb and many to most of the ones I know are putting money away and making plans to leave once they are of retirement age. Many here though don't have that option and those are the ones that will be screwed. I'll miss my pension payments that I pay now but cut the loses and go!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Domestic travel in golden week might be a little more bearable next century then!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

While I have never been quite able to nail it down, I think there is something deeper going on here in Japan. I think the Japanese like living in extreme close proximity, to each other and are content to tolerate the limited choices for foods and goods, as long as they are sanctioned from above. If you spread them out and allowed the "good life" to take hold, with imported foods and stores, I think most of them would reject it and hoard back into mansions and pack into trains. Its this part I have never been able to figure out. Whats wrong with the "good life"? Why must Japanese travel abroad to experience it; why cant they make it themselves? The longer I stay, the more I realize how opposite and different Japan is from most other places in the world. The excuse "theres no land, we are an island country" really holds no weight. As many have posted here, there are plenty of nice places outside of Tokyo. A more progressive country would develop those places and move the honshas there so communites with sane families could thrive, with factories, R&D etc. The quality of life would improve; Japan would start to look like a north Europe country. Instead they have created a pressure cooker atmosphere where 3 times a year people can return to their furosato or go abroad, and spend money.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Spanki, not really because nearly deads will be all over the place doing the geriatric shuffle - myself included if I come back to visit!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Problem won't be so severe if the government just lowers the consumption tax and raise the upper class tax.

kyushubill JUN. 16, 2014 - 12:50PM JST The truth - with the technology changes there will be less need for any human workers. What will be needed are the street sweepers, toilet cleaners, and bed pan dumpers. Technology is quickly making entire career fields redundant. In ten years nations with large populations are going to have unemployment problems of a scale unheard of due to no need for humans.

Bravo, the funniest post in japantoday this year.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

eloquent 5petals. It's a mind set of the 20th century. It's no longer needed.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

They want more Japanese people. Not more people in Japan. Simple.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Blimey, Japanese politician who has put his head above the parapet to talk positively about immigration. Of course he'll get slagged off now, but he's right. The successive government policy of not increasing immigration means Japan is doomed - economically, politically and socially.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

They want their population to grow, but it is't going to happen. So many social and economical issues. Japan is a sinking ship, and there is no way to save it. Japan lacks flexibility, open-mindedness that is required to undergo a radical social change, or reform. So, let them dig their own grave.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Why don't they offer more accessible PR to English teachers who have been living here for years, contributing to society and with a proven record of successful adaptation to the society. If there was a real possibility for a future many people would consider settling here. Also if there were laws that encouraged permanent employment instead of a series of short-term contracts it would be a viable option to consider living here as a permanent resident.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan has to stop seeing people as foreigners and instead as people. There's a million mindsets that need to change and it's not going to happen with this generation or the next. By then the country should be quite depopulated

I'm Canadian, we are a country of immigrants. Toronto is a vibrant city where about half aren't even born there. We get Japanese immigrants too obviously. A new family here will have kids that will grow up Canadian and people commit themselves to a country and it works out fine. People live their lives. It's kind of like the Olympics but not of sport but of life. Like building up a Team Canada with a world full of people.

There's more than enough fun things to make Japanese immigrants and their children proud to be Japanese and keep traditions, but first Japan has to separate heritage from country. That would help remove the oogling on differences. People will always keep the good and gradually get rid of the bad. That's the way of things

As a side note not even Japanese are keeping traditions. I have a few "foreign" friends who have taken up traditional music and art which doesn't attract the youth of today. I wonder what will happen if there will be even enough interested people to carry on these traditions at all?

I might have lived in Japan if it was welcoming enough. Some people stay but I didn't have a positive experience. Expecting change of anything in Japan is really pie in the sky. None of this is going to happen until the current batch of oyaji's and maybe the next batch as well are long gone.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

5petals, I don't know where you live,but I want to move there.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The reality seems to be that a nation that was forced to open up by the outside world has never really embraced the idea on its own and this will forever be the case. I wouldn't be surprised in some future date that Japan just closes itself off again. Probably when it drops in economic status a few more pegs

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Many of the over 60 crowd want to have their cake and eat it too. Shall pensions be cut now?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

future story,,, This is 2050, I am a 20 years old Japanese boy, please read my life below:

-- I have just one younger friend in the Town, living a mile away but she is always busy while serving so many old people in here house. --I have to work 4/5 hours more then the usual time, all my colleagues are over 70 years old so i have to left heavy loads. --Half of my salary goes in Taxes, because i have to support the burden of so many old people. 40 percent population is over 65 years old, it looks more then this figure ------ the cracks are appearing in the gigantic infrastructure i have to pay for the maintenance--- Korea and China threatening my country i have to defend the Islands--- i have to maintain the economic states of my country in the world---i have to clean the ghost houses---- too noisy every hour I am listening the ambulance too many old people get sick soon. This is too much i can not afford this, today i am suffering because of the Policies of the these old people, so i am leaving this country and they should solve their own problems. PLEASE, any one suggest me which country provide easy immigration, i would like to live anywhere except my own country please help me

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Uncontrolled and not well planned immigration will only let a lot of punks come with, as seen in europe (where i am) and america. If opening the door to immigrants, do it wisely planned, then it's useful. What's the point if you will survive as a country, but faces more crime, social problems and losing your own identity?...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Ali Khan

in that hypothetical scenario, China would already be in charge of Japan, like a Tibet

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is clear that the frightfully low fertility rate is Japan's key issue for it's long-term sustainability.

Japan’s female employment rate ranks amongst the lowest in the developed world at 60 per cent, well below other developed countries such as Norway at 75 per cent, the US at 66 per cent, and Germany at 64 per cent.

Contrary to widespread belief, there is a distinctly positive—not negative—correlation between levels of female employment and fertility rates. Countries with relatively high labor participation rates such as Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the UK, tend to have relatively high fertility rates and vice versa.

This key demographic should be taken advantage of economically through encouraged participation in employment and thus a subsequent increase in spending power, tax payments, and the desired increase in fertility rates. The biggest obstacle to this is an insufficient supply of affordable daycare, nursing care, and housekeeping services; key to a nation where the typical Japanese father spends very little time assisting with household chores and child-rearing at home.

Key source: http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/investing-in-women/bios-pdfs/womenomics3_the_time_is_now_pdf.pdf

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan should model Mongolia to stimulate population.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Do not let the Muslims to enter Japan please... See what is happening in Europe and USA.... That will be the end of Japan a civilized free nation....

0 ( +4 / -4 )

While I have never been quite able to nail it down, I think there is something deeper going on here in Japan.

Hannah Arendt's The Human Condition nails it. In a nutshell, and this is not limited to Japan, ordinary people who sense what you do have not yet been able to exercise a collective power to influence a change towards a better vision of the future -- in this case, Japan's.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

However, I would also like to keep the bar high and fairly strict, large numbers of people suddenly coming in is both bad for the locals and the people coming, a more controlled long term system is needed.

Pehaps it's just me, but I don't see a large number of people streaming into Japan if immigration was opened-up. The Japanese language and kana are going to be a considerable hurdle for people to become functional citizens and I think that would stem the flow down to only those VERY serious about emigrating to Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"I wouldn't be surprised in some future date that Japan just closes itself off again"

I think this is the root of the problem; the self imposed isolation legacy. In the segregated U.S. South and South Africa, changed came painfully, but it has come, with residual racism, but for the most part it has succeeded. I dont think Japan could ever embrace change so fast. Why? Because there were never any "others" to really challenge the status quo. Japan only has like half a percent or real gaijin, as gaijin is defined by most Japanese (non Asian).

The other countries were always, albiet uncomfortably, coexisting with the "others" acutally quite a few of them. Japan has been shut off from the world for so long that such a huge influx of otherness would collaspe their society. They have never really had the experience of cohabitation with others, so they have never had to really stall the issue of civil rights until it boiled over. It was acutally a very clever system, but they probally never foresaw how their peculiar ways would force them to consider other options.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

will be interesting to see how things will be going to be in the next 10, 20 or 30 years, probably 2050 when the current govnt will no longer be on sight...

it seems though that currently there are more women who are single, and are also seeing their economic life as more important than their social life,,working hard to meet end needs, enjoying their independence from their men counterparts, their friends or even their own family...as the consumption rate is increasing, this also put pressure on everyone in the labor force including women to work harder with more economic uncertainties as base salaries and conditions are also unchanged...although social life is something that seems not quite treasured in japan,,this might also need to change if the govnt will not be that friendly to foreign workers..

1 ( +1 / -0 )

tmarieJun. 16, 2014 - 08:50AM JST They don't want more immigrants. Fine. I get that. However, they aren't making it any easier for families to have kids >here either. Having a baby is not free - yes, you do get a lump sum

Here in the U.S. nobody gets money just for having a baby. Where is this done besides Japan?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Many developed nations cover the cost of child birth. Canada and the UK for example. There are also baby bonuses. It's costs money to have a baby here. For a country that needs baby, that is one of the dumbest things ever. Make all visits, scans and hospitals stays free for expecting mothers.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I do not believe immigration is the answer to Japan's declining population. I think the best option is to clearly tell the Japanese people that unless they increase their fertility rate now, they risk economic and social decline in the decades to come.

I think the Japanese people, especially the younger people, need to be "shocked" into action. Young couples need to be given every incentive possible to pro-create, and singles should be encouraged to see the benefits of forming a loving relationship.

There is no more time left for polite indifference, The Government needs to take decisive action now, doing everything in their power to increase the fertility rate of the nation, otherwise Japan as we know and love today will be unrecognisable by 2060.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

OssanAmerica

In Canada, the baby bonus is run provincial and can vary from province to province. The Child Tax Benefit is a tax free exemption federally. Our rates go down 2%-4% depending on how many children. This is with direct deposit so there's nothing mailed out. I looked up the specifics: basic benefit: $1,446. First child: $2,241. Second child: $1,982. Each additional child: $1,886. Amounts are annual

Europe I would guess have better benefits but I don't know directly. We're very proud of our maternity leave laws as well, for both mother and father. It takes a community to raise a child after all

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The Child Tax Benefit is a tax free exemption federally. Our rates go down 2%-4% depending on how many children.

A tax break per-child is not getting paid money to have a child. All it is doing is reducing the amount of tax you owe every year - often money you ALREADY paid the government and need to file forms for in order to get any overpayment back. A tax break doesn't add to your income, it subtracts from your tax burden.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Fadamor

Yes that's the tax benefit part. It's more than that. The federal Child Tax Benefit is a tax free monthly payment. $100 per month per child under 6 years of age. (http://orillia.cioc.ca/record/CWD1297). OCB payments are delivered with the CCTB in a single monthly payment. (Ontario Child Benefit, Canadian Child Tax Benefit)

There's money received on top of the tax reductions. A calculator is on the CRA website, and it can be even more per month per child particularly if you have a lower income.

Suffice to say that yes we support families in Canada. I don't know how this compares to other countries

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Its too late and there isnt an infrastructure in place for immigrant inclusion like there is in the US, Canada, SG, HK, etc. Japans answer to "force it" with mandatory Nihongo and conformity wont work long term; there are other places to live and work besides here. People chase the money and quality of life, but usually money first.

The answer will be more seniors, women and automation. Some BRIC countires and others will come, but in small numbers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yesterday afternoon (may have been all day and evening, but I didn't see it), at a train station transfer area on the Chuo Line in western Tokyo, there were about 6 policemen asking foreigners for their IDs. I was one of them. Just entered through the transfer ticket gate and a police officer strided up to me and said he was a police officer. I said, "yes you are" and walked on. He stayed with me and asked for my ID. I asked if I had done anything to alert his suspicion. He said I hadn't. So I said I was sorry but very busy. He followed me and told me again that I needed to show my ID. I asked if there was any legal reason for me to divulge my private information since I was simply walking, and it was hot and I was very busy and needed to catch the train. Then, he said, "you don't have ID?" I said, "Of course I have my ID. It is the law and I am a law-biding resident, a hard worker who pays taxes, and has contributed physically two citizens to help the ever-decreasing population, and that I am very busy and do not show private information. He followed me and so I "gave in" and showed him my blue insurance card. He said, "Not this." I said, "It is what I use to get my packages at the post office. It has my name and address on it." ah, heck. I was busy and so showed him my G. card and said that I am a permanent resident, and did not have time nor reason to be treated this way nor do theothers they are questioning. I did tell him that this really gives a bad impression for the 2020 Olympics and the "omotenashi" they are trying to promote. It makes people afraid to come to Tokyo and tarnishes the reputation. To his credit, he actually said, "moshi wake arimasen. I will remember you and not ask again." Of course, he is low in the ranks, not a bad person, just a uniform doing what someone higher up told him to do....which was what? What was the command given that day....? "Go to transfer areas, corner, follow, demand IDs from any and every foreigner there." Why? Later, I saw three surrounding three flustered SEA women with BABIES and STROLLERs!!! One was on her cell phone. I felt really sad. I don't want privileges that others don't have as an "honorary resident." I was told by someone in the US yesterday, "Lucky you aren't a man HERE. We don't have the right to talk back to police officers." Lucky....the words ring deep......

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@jpntdytmrow

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm encouraged by the fact that you, unlike many, clearly understand your rights. (ie. that there must be reasonable suspicion of a crime before they can ask to see your card). I agree that it sure won't make people feel welcome when they come to Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@ jpntdytmrow - I hear you, it sucks being carded, especially on the way to work - and doesn't exactly make NJ who have been here a long time and contributed kids, etc.feel welcome. If the purpose is to "prevent crime" then it is illogical, since the overwhelming amount of crime is perpetrated by Japanese - and virtually NO Japanese I know have ever been randomly ID checked and questioned on the street.

As for the 2020 Games, the government will likely suspend ID-checks for the three weeks, and replace it with a Smiles for Gaijin campaign!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Ive seen the carding too, all along the yamate line. I think its due to the soccer games, who knows. Havent been carded yet, but if they do it, I just do as they ask. For me this has never bothered me. I seen many Japanese get carded also.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

@jpntdytmrow

Sadly not untypical. This is confirmation that Tokyo isn't an international city and should never be confused with one

Papers Please?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Only in Tokyo my friends. The concrete jungle. this is not happening where I live.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

the #100th comment :~) . Well, I'm a highly specialized engineer who never had any issues with obtaining work, appropriate income, etc in Japan. My permanent visa took only 4 months to be approved, after 4 years of living here. I think Japan will always be open towards people like me.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I think Japan will always be open towards people like me.

And then there is Sayuk (Fiona Graham)i, Japan's first foreign Geisha. Despite being fluent in Japanese, having a BA from Keio university, a PhD from Oxford, and having worked for years to promote Japan and Japanese culture, she was denied permanent residency after more than 10 years in Japan. Getting permanent residency in Japan is a roll-of-the-dice.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Keep you doors shut, as we in the West are suffering from Immigrants and if we say anything we are classed as racists. Be wise and look around the world see what is happening when immigrants invade your country. Keep the doors shut tightly.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Barbara Longstaff

Keep you doors shut, as we in the West are suffering from Immigrants and if we say anything we are classed as racists. Be wise and look around the world see what is happening when immigrants invade your country. Keep the doors shut tightly.

yes, in my own birth country Britain, we Celts had to deal with being taken over by hundreds of thousands of those warmongering English immigrants and we soon lost control of our Celtic culture and traditions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Here in the U.S. nobody gets money just for having a baby. Where is this done besides Japan?"

Baby bonus and child payments in Australia, Canada, Europe....easy to Google.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Barbara LongstaffJun. 20, 2014 - 06:28PM JST

"Keep you doors shut, as we in the West are suffering from Immigrants and if we say anything we are classed as racists. Be wise and look around the world see what is happening when immigrants invade your country. Keep the doors shut tightly."

What does happen when "immigrants invade your country?" Let's see, they tend to keep to themselves, work really hard day and night, save money to get a home and to educate their children and then send them on to higher places of education. I think in recent years, in the US, there was a "president" with a foreign father, albeit not an immigrant; a secretary of state born to immigrant parents; there is a supreme court justice born to immigrants;at least one state governor with immigrant parents; any number of scientists who were immigrants; many entertainers with immigrant parents. Yes, it is really dangerous to allow them into the country. Anything could happen. They might even marry your children or worse make food and wine to feed your family.....Lock the doors, TIGHT! Bless your heart and if you are free from immigrants in your own family, then call the Smithsonian...you may be a rare bird!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What does happen when "immigrants invade your country?" Let's see, they tend to keep to themselves, work really hard day and night, save money to get a home and to educate their children and then send them on to higher places of education.

It depends on the tupe of immigrants. Most of the immigrants America receives are Spanish-speaking illegal immigrants, nearly all of whom have no education higher than the elementary level. Many are criminals who have entered America to avoid prosecution for crimes in their home countries.

Many do work hard, and do send money back to their homes, but the cost to American society is heavy. Illegal immigrants make up a disproportionate number of prisoners in the state and federal prisons. In Los Angeles, more than 90% of the outstanding warrants for murder are issued against illegal immigrants. Latin-american immigrants and their children have the highest dropout rates of all ethnicities, and painfully few ever go on attend university, even though they are and have been given less expensive in-state tuition rates which American citizens from outside states cannot qualify for.

My old neighborhood in the LA area is now an "immigrant" neighborhood. When I was 10 years old, this neighborhood was spotless. Trees and lawns were immaculate, children played baseball or football in the streets until after 9pm on summer nights. The once tidy houses and apartment buildings are now covered with graffiti, the windows are hung with dirty bed sheets or newspapers instead of curtains. The streets smell of urine, and broken beer bottles litter the gutters. Lawns are overgown, or left to go to dirt, stray dogs wander around, often chasing chickens which escaped from someone's balcony or garage. Spanish-speaking gang members sell drugs on the corners and in the alleyways, and gunfire is commonly heard in the evenings. It is unsafe to walk this neighborhood after dark. Police cruisers drive through every ten or fifteen minutes. When I was a kid, seeing a police car was a big event, you might see one once every other month. Now if you walked through this neighborhood, you would never know it was in America. It is heartbreaking to see what has happened, and to reconcile this place as it is now to the wonderful memories I have from my childhood.

I am all for immgration, provided the immigrants are healthy, educated, have no criminal records, and bring skills and experience which will be a benefit to our country.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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