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Japan to open door further to skilled foreign workers

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like many things in Japan, this looks good on paper but the reality will be quite different....

20 ( +27 / -7 )

Blame it all on Japan, but not Japanese fault that workers are supposed to achieve a certain level of language fluency and writing ability.

-15 ( +6 / -21 )

Are geriatric nurses, builders etc the kind of highly skilled referred to?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Diversity is important to create the innovation of industry, The utilization of women, the elderly and foreign workers is significant.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

How much will vampire middlemen skim from these "highly skilled workers" and "trainees"?

19 ( +22 / -3 )

Oldman - "blame it all on Japan but....."

Well, the numbers of "highly skilled foreign workers " that are being accepted into Japan compared to other advanced economies speak for themselves pretty clearly. And if I,m not mistaken it is the Japanese government that decides its immigration policies - is it not?

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Are Japanese on the same positions highly skilled or with 100TOEIC scores?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I don't understand why these instalments come out every 6 months. They should just pick the low hanging fruits and implement them immediately. These should create their own momemtum.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Awesome, I just applied for my visa too.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"Blame it all on Japan, but not Japanese fault that workers are supposed to achieve a certain level of language fluency and writing ability"

So who is to blame, after decades and billions of yen, the end result of "learning English", the defacto language of choice for the whole world is "this is Tanaka, I am a pen" nonsense? There is no need for the rest of the world to conform to weirdness known as Japan, Japan needs to conform more to the world. Thats where the problem is, and it will never change, repeat cycle, so yes, the blame is within Japan. More "skilled" workers from former colonies to yell at and look down on because "nani mo dekinai!!" due to superiority attitudes and their lack of understanding of "this is Japan!

13 ( +18 / -5 )

Abe won initial success with stimulus spending and expanded quantitative easing from the Bank of Japan, but many economists warn that the government needs to rely more on deregulation and structural reforms to increase growth in the long term.

If we look at three historical graphs--global population growth, energy use and GDP growth--we see they have all show an exponential curve upwards beginning at the time of greater fossil fuel use, especially oil. This suggests that GDP growth is dependent on ever greater energy use with an ever growing population, spurred on by the unleashing of greed and the marketing of fear and desire.

So the obvious question is how can Japan continue to have GDP growth? It is the first capitalist country in the world to face a population decline. So what is the plan? Getting all the women to work and leave their children with less paid strangers, having all the elderly labour until death, and trying to figure out a way to bring in foreign workers but hope they won't decide to stay long. Even this won't cover the decline in workers as well as consumers. They call this the Angel Plan and it really is fantasy. And we shouldn't forget about all the questions about energy and climate change, which complicates the push for GDP growth even more.

Isn't it time for the nation to rethink the idea that social betterment is primarily based on economic growth and use another measurement, such as greater happiness based on a less materialistic life connected to the earth and each other, and not just through facebook?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Oldman

Blame it all on Japan, but not Japanese fault that workers are supposed to achieve a certain level of language fluency and writing ability.

You obviously haven't experienced many Japanese workers overseas, even after school and university education their English ability is often very, very poor. Of course listening to people like you (and the J gov), foreigners are expected to grasp Japanese language in the shortest possible time .....

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Lol... A woman or a foreign person can never start entry level in a company here, then rise to one day own the company (in my humble experience/opinion)....

No matter what new piece of paper comes out.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Is it me but I just can't see anything concrete in this article? How about some numbers, a target, something... Also, why foreign workers? How about "Japan to open door further to skilled immigrants". Are we talking about having these people work in Japan until they are 45 then get send back to their country or origin? Or giving them permanent residency or even citizenship and integrate them into Japanese society?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

The labor shortage is only in certian sectors, there are many old people doing P/T work now, and many still looking for work. Like all things Japan, nothing is what it seems. High paying jobs have an abundance of applicants, its the service, 3K jobs that are looking for people.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I know it is only part of the picture but I think that elderly people working (part time or otherwise) is a good thing - far better than rotting in front of the TV until they die. It is good for them physically, psychologically and socially. My father-in-law is 73 and still works full time driving a small truck for family firm. The old folks in my village all have vegetable gardens and some have chickens, which they tend daily - all very healthy at many levels.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I guess it's a start... because unless the Government makes these changes, not too many companies in Japan are going to pro-actively hire "highliy-skilled" women and foreigners. Sometimes it takes a little force-feeding for people/society to change their views. The only question is of course: exactly what kind of changes are going to be made to these "Policies".... just more nurses, day-care supervisors, and construction workers? Hopefully, they will adopt a specific quota for large corporations to hire X percentage of not only women, but also foreigners in management positions.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is decades too late and there is no number associated in the article. As well, if the very concept of becoming Japanese through naturalization without Japanese family history remains on a practical level impossible then I don't really see the point. Also what about dual citizenship? It seems Japan needs workers but doesn't want to appeal to a person's dreams of commitment to a country. How does that work? People don't want to live in silos.

We think it was easy in countries today that are for lack of a better word multicultural, but it took ongoing decades of effort and that's still continuing in various ways. There's no right way. This isn't something that can be ordered up on a menu, but takes concerted time and effort.

For Japan to get serious it would have to allow and attract hundreds of thousands a year to offset employment requirements. I just don't see that happening without fear of losing Japanese-ness.

I believe the irony would be that Japan has a lot to offer and the result would be a more interesting Japan. Keep the good stuff from each of our countries yet still be Japanese. I used to think there was nothing in my Canadian life that really defined me, yet it was a trip to Japan that showed me I was Canadian. It's funny how that works. Could I not add to the nation of Japan, be Japanese and keep the good things of being a Canadian?

If the naturalization laws could be updated then what there is that appeals to the world in the Japanese character for others to be Japanese citizens could indeed be attractive. What injustices that will be lost are worth losing. What character and strength remains would be I think very rewarding

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Opening the door "further"? When was it opened in the first place?

5 ( +11 / -6 )

The message seems to enforce the position "Work in Japan". I didn't sense an opportunity build a career in Japan. Most highly skilled workers are not going to invest money in their education to become 2nd class workers in a foreign country, and until clear discrimination and labor standards are established (and enforced) this is all lip service.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

So the J govt shouldn't not have sent 1,000s of Japanese Brazilian workers back to Brazil in 2008 2009 when the economy crashed. The proviso was the govt paid them to leave and they could not return. These workers were here with valuable skills and had been here for a life time.

Highly skilled workers introduced into the work force is a good idea so long as they are not the 3rd world low life scum, Nigerians for example who have the skills to hustle and scam are not required.

The right type of immigrants will be good. The wrong type will be very bad.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Does this mean that a bi-lingual Japanese/English, California licensed RN get a job in Japan without passing the archaic Japanese RN license? There are two of them waiting to return to Japan if the California license is accepted. How would one fined out about this matter?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is all talk. I agree with isoducky. Japanese companies may need highly skilled workers to compete in a global environment but the Japanese government and residents of Japan themselves surely don't. Walk down to any immigration office and see for yourself. A joke. Nothing but talk as usual.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Also what about dual citizenship?

What about it? If you are going to naturalize to a new country, then do it. Commit. Children born by parents of different nationalities is a separate issue, but if your goal is to make your life in Japan choosing Japanese nationality alone should not be an issue.

What needs to be done is to make it a whole lot easier to get PR, though. The hoops required to jump through for highly skilled individuals to get PR is ridiculous.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The government will also consider lowering the effective corporate tax rate and expanding the tax base to make Japanese firms more competitive, the panel said on Monday.

... and stocks are up today. Abenomics rolls on.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Aside from the financial industry, fund management, where you sacrifice everything to make millions, or the video games industry, where you sacrifice everything to be creative, there's nothing much in Japan where you can sacrifice everything to do something.

I've worked in some big companies in Japan, they know all about foreigners' complaints, "hammering the sticking nails", "overworking", "unresponsive bureaucracy", etc. None of these are problems in their view. The Japanese think that these are the very traits that make Japan the 3rd largest economy in the world, so why change ? Why bring in foreigners that don't understand the Japanese values ? And after 3/11 with flyjins ? They are great risks that will upset the wa.

Not gonna happen.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japan to open door further to skilled foreign workers

Most of the foreign skilled professional ended up working as English Teachers. For example, not all foreign trained professional will be recognized as Japanese trained professional. Some foreign trained professional may have to work as dish washer in Japan.

Some industries, such as construction, child care and nursing have faced labor shortages, so policies allowing firms to retain more foreign workers could give these industries a boost.

Nursing means lower level of personal care such as aged care, disabled car have shortage of staff. However higher level such as Triage Nurse for ER will be very competitive for foreigners will be getting in. Even there may be shortage of staff, that positions are not suitable for foreigners. Japanese patients do not speak English at hospitals.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Good moves by the japanese government. They have to make sure this will go out of paper.

Also, it is important to get lighter workload. Japan is internationally known as being a country of tireless workers. Because of this, most people that I know would not want to work in Japan. More work means less quality of life and less time to invest in personal improvement.

My point of view and it can be very controversial is that it is possible to work less if you act in a more intelligent way. To think before act.

In a scenario where both husband and wife will work, the importance of quality of life will be much higher. Otherwise, suicide rates may augment and hapinness of society may decrease. Maybe I am not right, but to me, people are incapable of producing good results if they are not happy.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

highly skilled masseuses and hookers is the intent.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Unless J gov't grant residency/immigrant visa to foreign professionals, in order to establish long term career security, then this will all just be a mere lip service...

9 ( +10 / -1 )

So now we can our big toe through.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I got my hopes up for a moment when I saw the title, but then my brain kicked in. I'm pursuing a career in Japan, in the Entertainment industry. Somehow I don't think that will be affected by this "opening door". Construction, engineering, health care, that sort of thing, sure. Somehow I doubt that I will see any benefit however. I don't fit the bill of "Highly skilled professional". I suppose I could be one of the foreign trainees though. I guess I'll just have to watch this supposed reform on foreign workers and see how it plays out.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yeah, of course they want to increase the number of foreign workers so they can put them on one-year minimum wage contracts with no bonuses or incremental salary increases and, let them support the failed pension system as well. Just more smoke and mirrors BS from the J-Gov. It's the same reason they want more women in the workforce. More low paid workers with no benefits. Perfect Abenomics! AKA: Scab labor!

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Triage Nurse for ER will be very competitive for foreigners will be getting in. Even there may be shortage of staff, that positions are not suitable for foreigners. Japanese patients do not speak English at hospitals. and this is why many philipino nurses whom many have good english skills opt for different countries like Canada, Australia, UK, NZ. they dont have to jump through all the hoops J`immigration ask them too, the conditions and pay are mostly better in those countries than Japan anyways. J Gov dont realise that other countries are also hunting for those same skilled workers and offer much better incentives than what Japan has to offer. To think that foreign skilled workers will automatically chose Japan as there preferred destination is totally false. Japan will have to compete for them and as it stands what they have to offer is not that luring.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is great but Japan not only needs to "open the doors" it needs to make Japan a place that talented foreigners want to live.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Just make sure you're not too successful, since a maximum 55% tax rate awaits you starting in 2015.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan, sorry but you should have got going on this back in the early 90s, you have pretty much missed the boat.

Japan is simply not that attractive to professionals long term & Japan hasn't demonstrated it wants anyone long term, Japan just wants labourers!!!

As I have said many times before these so called ""Lets allow more foreign professionals in"" is lame at best, very few from first world economies would come to Japan except for a select few, so at best Japan can poach professionals from third world countries, not nice!

Japan has let itself rot for too long & its looking more & more like Japan is simply unwilling & soon will be UN-ABLE to stop the rot!

Those of us with already long time roots are going to continue to witness the rot, I shake my head & wish I had seen this more clearly 20yrs ago so I could have cut my stay short, its painful to watch the decline here at times.

And Japan wants foreign professionals...........don't make me laugh!

12 ( +12 / -0 )

I could be mistaken but Australia is one country that is looking for highly skilled workers and mean what they say.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"Japanese think that these are the very traits that make Japan the 3rd largest economy in the world, so why change ? "

This is an excellent point, and I think this and other great post here should be summarized in a book or handout for anybody considering coming to Japan to pursue a career.. Everyone sooner or latter finds out these "truths" There is no need to change, this has all been tried before. The glue that holds everything together is Japans unique approach to everything. During the 80's, thousands of foriengers were just tolerated as entertainers, assembly line workers etc. Its more of the same. They are trying old tricks with new times- an increasingly older population that will need to be cared for/replaced in the labor pool. In order for Japan to accept foriengers, say on a scale like SG, HK or AUS, they would need to embrace and speak English. It would make the transistion smooth and relatively painless. This is an impossible task in Japan. All manuals, rules, laws, customs and sterotypes would have to change overnight. A more realistic outlook would be a gradual transistion in a decade, perhaps a century? Like others who posted here, I cant see this happening in Japan, the time has already passed. The only way I can see it happening is some "unique" solution like crash courses in japanese for 3rd world nationals (who by that time will have perhaps become 2nd world in their own country) that was tried in the 80's and the same ole racist approach (keep them at bay in ghettos) and start some huge Eikawia scam all over again.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

lol warispeace did some research on Japan's GDP eh?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I could be mistaken but Australia is one country that is looking for highly skilled workers and mean what they say.

Japan population is 127 millions. Australia total population is 23 millions. That population of Au is smaller than one of Japanese prefecture or state of US. Employing professionals needs a market which will demand goods and service.

In term of market, Japan is more attractive for professionals. Housing in Australia is second most expensive in the world after Hong Kong. Both Japan and Australia are less attractive to skilled professionals. The reason is expensive for living.

Attracting professionals are nothing to do with government policy. If there are many job opportunities and reasonable cost of living and life style, professionals will go there. Most US and Canada professionals are looking for work in Mexico. Mexico is many times cheaper and having more jobs than US and Canada.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

You are kidding yourself if you think most people in the world would prefer to live in Japan over Australia. Australia with it's beaches, multi-cultural community, technology, and forward thinking is much more appealing. When considering that many of these 'professionals' are westerners, most of them will also prefer to live in a western country than an eastern one. It's only a small subset of westerners who are interested in living in Asia. I remember when I was first moving here, I got so many comments along the lines of 'why would you do that?'.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Australia with it's beaches, multi-cultural community, technology, and forward thinking is much more appealing

No offense, mate, but I find Australia to be far more backwards in its thinking than Japan, especially towards minorities. At least in Japan the status of minorities is respected, in Aus you never know if some drunk fool is going to want to pound on you because you look different.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Many of those who are targets for recruitment will save and/or send all of their money home, and spend the minimum for living in Japan. Their low salaries will make little practical difference to resolving the shortage of tax revenue or increasing consumer spending. Long term prospects will be determined by how well these people are assimilated or integrated into local communities, if there are limitations to the period of residence, and if they are not exploited by unscrupulous employers and personnel agencies or recruiting companies.

As others have suggested, it sounds good in theory, but in practice it effectiveness will be limited.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Honestly, why would highly skilled workers want to come here in the first place?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Athletes:

Attracting professionals are nothing to do with government policy. If there are many job opportunities and reasonable cost of living and life style, professionals will go there. Most US and Canada professionals are looking for work in Mexico. Mexico is many times cheaper and having more jobs than US and Canada.

Depends what jobs you are talking about. I don't see Mexican firms pay higher wages than US and Canada (e.g. IT or engineering etc) Besides, Mexico is a labour intensive country so LOW wage is da key..no?? Also you have to know that people that are making decent income, cheaper cost of living might not be important to them... Safety and better quality of living are whats matter to them.. No offense. Mexico is a nice place for travel but I wouldn't want to move to there even the cost of living is cheap. One of my coworkers was Mexican and she told me a lot of messed up stories with foreigners. Might be good to live as a single but definitely not with a family.

Back to topic --> Japan is doing the right thing to open up the foreigner labour markets. If the baby boomers are no longer contributing to the economy, somebody else gotta do that right!? Otherwise, who is going to pay for all those baby-boomer's retirement benefits and medical expenses?? Those are the problems that the government will face if they don't get more "helpers" right now. Ima desho?! lol

0 ( +0 / -0 )

been there ,done that...thank GOD,I left after 9years as an Engineer in the auto industry.Europe is way ahead and open for integration!.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

What kind of specialized? How would one qualify?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@StormR "Highly skilled workers introduced into the work force is a good idea so long as they are not the 3rd world low life scum, Nigerians for example who have the skills to hustle and scam are not required." I think you forget some thing because we also have "wacko" from the first world countries too who think their color can give them a good job here too"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not if middle management have anything to say about it!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Slamdunk

Depends what jobs you are talking about.

**The new arrivals range in class from executives to laborers

It was quoted from

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/22/world/americas/for-migrants-new-land-of-opportunity-is-mexico.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

I don't see Mexican firms pay higher wages than US and Canada (e.g. IT or engineering etc)

Higher wages does not translate as happy ending for all. Japanese wages is many times higher than South America. However many Japanese prefer to move and live in South America. Even Brasil born Japanese descendants are moving back to Brasil. Why do they want to move from high pay nation to low pay nation? One factor is Japan is very expensive. One factor is good old days are over. If Japan is cheaper than South, who will move and live there?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What about it? If you are going to naturalize to a new country, then do it. Commit

Pandabelle,

Are you nuts! In case you don't know its two way street! And its a big world out there, people move around, family in different countries, if Japan was smart it WOULD offer dual citizenship, I would consider it BUT there is NO WAY I would give up my passport for a straight swap for a Japanese passport, that would be a huge mistake!!

Bottom line is Japan has to make it worth it for foreigners to want to move & live here long term, permanently, as of now Japan comes up way short, but then again I think Japan is mostly fishing for CHEAP labour & it isn't really interested in having people grow old here BUT they sure as hell want us to work & tax the hell out of us, yeah great deal, NOT!!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

How can Japan atrract foreigners when settling your accommodation alone requires a Japanese guarantor and a hefty amount of key money?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I think this is the start to be similar to the rest of the world to mean.. To be Japanese doesnt mean you have to be from Asia in the future.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A lot of foreigners here seem to be trying to justify their failure by blaming everything on Japan. I work with lots of foreigner professionals from several continents who have made it big here. They own condos (much bigger than mine...), have cars, etc., and have permanent residence. Several have gotten citizenship. None have said that the process to citizenship or permenent residence is difficult. Just put together the paperwork (or you can hire professionals to do it for you). Nothing like putting some effort into your life. You can establish yourself here.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

gokai_wo_maneku

Several have gotten citizenship. None have said that the process to citizenship or permenent residence is difficult.

You need a Japanese guarantor when applying for permanent residency no matter how long you have worked and stayed in Japan. It can be very humiliating for any responsible adult. I don't know about the requirements for applying for citizenship but I think it would be more stringent than for permanent residency. It is not as easy as you are trying to make it look (gokai wo maneku to omou)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

so, what job is exactly highly-skilled position(job)? any lists?????

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Citizenship isn't actually that difficult. In some ways it's less stringent than the application for permanent residence. But very few do it, because very few are willing to give up their home passport for a Japanese one. I never would. I've only known one person who ever did, and he said it was surprisingly easy.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

drlucifer, I am the sponsor for three employees who applied for permanent residence. All I have to do is provide proof of my income and sign a paper saying I'll take care of the applicant if they have problems. Nothing humiliating for them at all and I was happy to do it because they are very good and responsible people. According to what I've heard, most have their employer as a sponsor (although strictly speaking, it is the person him/herself, not the company itself). I've also been told that as Strangerlans says, getting citizenship is easier than permanent residency, and know of two people who couldn't get permanent residency so they got citizenship instead (mainly to buy property, but that is another story).

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Gokai_wo_maneku, I'll believe it when I see it. But then, as a 60-year-old pensioner from Canada who would love to live in Japan for the rest of his life, I don't need a full-time job, and as a retired communications professional, I doubt one exists that might need my expertise for only a few days a week. Perhaps I should just be a gardener?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Slamdank

Also you have to know that people that are making decent income, cheaper cost of living might not be important to them.

There are lucky and well established in their career. When someone is old and no longer working full time, cheaper cost of living is more important than income.

Safety and better quality of living are whats matter to them..

Japan and Canada are relatively safe. US is not safer than Mexico for Guns related crimes. If someone is getting sick, he or she will not want to spend the fortune for their health. Quality of living comes from reasonable cost of living and health care.

No offense. Mexico is a nice place for travel but I wouldn't want to move to there even the cost of living is cheap.

Center of gravity has shifted. Mexico is no longer wild west of poor and criminals. It may be not attractive for older and established professionals. However it has become the destination of many Asian business and professionals.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

GW

Bottom line is Japan has to make it worth it for foreigners to want to move & live here long term, permanently

Sure - what does that have to do with dual citizenship? If you want to be a citizen, be a citizen. If you want to flit back and forth between some other country and Japan, get permanent residence. That's what it's for. Citizenship is for people who want to be here permanently.

Absolutely Japan should be making it more attractive and easier for people to immigrate to Japan, either semi-permanently or permanently. No question.

That being said, I would apply for Japanese citizenship tomorrow if I could keep my old passport, not that I have any desire whatsoever to move back there but there are family obligations that are much easier to deal with as a citizen than as a non-resident, non-citizen.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The Japanese government agreed on Monday to make it easier for firms to hire foreign workers for highly-skilled positions

This is actually nonsense. It is already possible for Japanese firms to hire skilled/educated workers, heck, somehow Nigerian street touts in Roppongi manage to qualify. The point that J gov and many natives are missing is how to make it attractive for the foreigners to first come here, and second to lay foundations to stay here long term. It is not the land of opportunity that many Japanese seem to think.

Becoming a permanent resident needs to be easier, restrictions on work activity for spouses of aforementioned skilled workers needs to be relaxed. People need to WANT to come to Japan, not just feel grateful because the government says "ok, we'll let you in for now, not that we really want to you know"

2 ( +2 / -0 )

how to make it attractive for the foreigners to first come here

Which is....? More jobs? Better pay? What does this actually mean?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Sure - what does that have to do with dual citizenship? If you want to be a citizen, be a citizen. If you want to flit back and forth between some other country and Japan, get permanent residence. That's what it's for. Citizenship is for people who want to be here permanently........That being said, I would apply for Japanese citizenship tomorrow if I could keep my old passport, not that I have any desire whatsoever to move back there but there are family obligations that are much easier to deal with as a citizen than as a non-resident, non-citizen.

Pandabelle,

Hey do you read what you write? You say one should ditch their passport & take a J-passport if you want to live here. AND THEN you say you would apply for a passport IF dual citizenship were offered............haha which was EXACTLY what I was referring to!

Japan has to make attractive to ME & apparently YOU as well in order for either of us to consider a Japanese passport in the future, clearly its not attractive to either of us at this point in time..................and that is one of the problems Japan faces with respect to having foreigners put down roots here now isn't it!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

GW

Hey do you read what you write? You say one should ditch their passport & take a J-passport if you want to live here. AND THEN you say you would apply for a passport IF dual citizenship were offered

I read what I wrote. These are not contradictory statements - I don't think the government should do this, but if they did I would jump on it. No contradiction at all there.

Japan has to make attractive to ME & apparently YOU as well in order for either of us to consider a Japanese passport in the future, clearly its not attractive to either of us at this point in time

No, it's quite attractive to me now, to be honest. There's no special problem that Japan has in this respect compared to other countries. Most countries do not allow dual citizenship, though there are a few notable exceptions such as the US/Canada.

As it is I plan on making my life here permanently and will likely take citizenship in the future.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I'd hate to be a white person with only a Japanese passport. Every time you use your passport they are going to give you a funny look, and let the questions begin. You can never be Japanese, you'll be a white person with a Japanese passport.

Some have asked what exactly 'opening the door to skilled foreign workers' means. That's a good question. Visas are already very easy to get here, so it's not like that's a big issue holding people back. I'd say the primary things that would hold people back is not being able to become a member of society - ie citizenship. Of course by this I mean not being able to without losing your original passport. If Japan really wants more foreigners, then they need to make it easier for us to become members of society, rather than permanent guests. This means dual citizenship. Until there is a solid foreign contingent that are full members of Japanese society, we will always be considered outsiders, by both the Japanese, and by most other foreigners as well. See my initial comment.

I suspect this is all just another one of those things the Japanese proclaim for display, but without any actual substance.

bureaucrat 1: "Let's open up Japan to foreigners".

bureaucrat 2: "That's a good idea!".

bureaucrat 3: "So how will we do that?"

bureaucrats 1+2: "..."

Foreigner 1: .... oh yeah, foreigner 1 doesn't exist because no one ever thought to actually ask him.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Until there is a solid foreign contingent that are full members of Japanese society, we will always be considered outsiders, by both the Japanese, and by most other foreigners as well.

Have you ever spoken to a person who has taken Japanese citizenship about this? Other than the outlier Debito Arudo, who has basically fled the country, everyone I have ever spoken to about this says very differently.

I think you are just assuming based on your prejudices.

Why are you obsessed with keeping your original passport if you want to become Japanese anyway? And then complaining that foreigners can't fit in, presumably the same foreigners who want to keep the citizenship of some other country? Do you not see the problem with this logic?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Have you ever spoken to a person who has taken Japanese citizenship about this?

I've only ever known one person who took Japanese citizenship, and he did it without any illusions as to how it would be. And he was the one who told me that when he travels overseas he gets 'the look' every time he goes through customs with his passport.

Interesting you mention Debito. The guy spent his entire time in Japan being frustrated that they never took him seriously as a Japanese person. He finally had to leave the country, and now he isn't even an American anymore.

Why are you obsessed with keeping your original passport if you want to become Japanese anyway?

I'm not interested in becoming Japanese unless I can keep my original passport, so your question doesn't make sense. But as to why I would like to take Japanese citizenship - well I'd like to be able to vote, and participate as a full member of society. But it's not important enough to me to renounce my original citizenship.

complaining that foreigners can't fit in, presumably the same foreigners who want to keep the citizenship of some other country?

Again, you are making presumptions that are incorrect. I fit in just fine. In fact, I'm treated better here than Japanese usually are in my home country. What you took as 'complaint' was simply statement of fact. We will be considered as permanent guests until there are more citizens, and as long as they force renunciation of one's other citizenship to become Japanese, not many foreigners will take that step. Remember, they are the ones who want to bring in more foreigners. I'm simply pointing out which of their policies ensure that it won't happen. If they choose not to change their policies to meet their goals, it's no skin off my back, so there is no reason for me to be complaining about it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why are you obsessed with keeping your original passport if you want to become Japanese anyway?

Demanding that people choose one or other nationality when in fact they straddle the line - born in one country, settled in another, or of mixed heritage - is like demanding a person choose between their mother and their father. For that person, both are necessary.

If dual nationality were available, I would take it in an instant. It would make life much easier. But give up my UK passport and be treated like a foreigner in the country of my birth? No way.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

To Athletes

Higher wages does not translate as happy ending for all. Japanese wages is many times higher than South America. However many Japanese prefer to move and live in South America. Even Brasil born Japanese descendants are moving back to Brasil. Why do they want to move from high pay nation to low pay nation? One factor is Japan is very expensive. One factor is good old days are over. If Japan is cheaper than South, who will move and live there?

Many Japanese? <-- More like less than 10% of the entire Japanese population.

Even Brasil born Japanese descendants are moving back to Brasil. <-- again, that's like what? less than 5% of the entire Japanese population?

Higher wages does not translate as happy ending for all.

Yes, what I can tell you is cheaper living cost doesn't mean happy as well. I agree Japan is expensive to live in. BUT as of now, I just can't see Japanese people start an immigrate RUSH to other countries (This ain't no Hong Kong return back to China in 97). People already set their "roots" in Japan...Grew up in Japan and have their friends and families here.. Especially for people that are over 35. I am sure a lot of Japanese will agree with me on that.

To Zenpun

There are lucky and well established in their career. When someone is old and no longer working full time, cheaper cost of living is more important than income.

What you said make sense for seniors that are Mexicans but definitely not for Japanese. Are you suggesting old Japanese people should fly 6717.17miles away from Japan(I googled the distance) just to save few pesos in Mexico??? Let's be real here... They speak no spanish, have no friends?? Most Japanese people have saving habits...If Japanese can't afford to live in big cities, they will likely move to countryside. The bottom line is most of the older japanese people will not leave Japan. Maybe the younger generations in the future since they can adapt to foreign culture more easily...

Center of gravity has shifted. Mexico is no longer wild west of poor and criminals. It may be not attractive for older and established professionals. However it has become the destination of many Asian business and professionals.

Center of gravity may have shifted but it is definitely not in Mexico at this moment. <-- Just sayin'.

I agree Mexico's economy is growing rapidly and entrepreneurs and Business Corp are getting their fair shares in that countries..$$$. BUT I really don't see the majority of people want to live there. Especially for Asians that will face more culture differences. Until the government really put in the effort to make Mexico a safer place to live in, I just don't see many foreigners will want to live in there. Why?? See below and you will know why...

More than 5 cities in Mexico ranked top 50 most dangerous cities in the world.!!! --> Japan is not in that list.

http://www.businessinsider.com/most-dangerous-cities-in-the-world-2012-10?op=1

I know a handful of friends who have worked in Dubai before... They love to do business there and they love the high salaries but a lot of them don't enjoy to live there.

That being said, I bet if you google top 10 best countries to live in the world, Mexico is not going to be one of them. Canada and US are.

gokai_wo_maneku

I agree with you. Most success foreigners are busy in the real world making big $$$.

Don't get discourage with the minuses.. I gave you a plus... cheers!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Pandabelle

Which is....? More jobs? Better pay? What does this actually mean?

I'll tell you what the attractive thing should be, it's the reassuring thought that should the reason you came to Japan in the first place come to an end (job/study/marriage), there won't be a clock ticking with a deadline of "find a new sponsor a.s.a.p or go home, do not pass go, do not collect 200 yen, thank you for your contribution you are no longer required".

That, will happen when pigs start flying in my opinion.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

cleo

Demanding that people choose one or other nationality when in fact they straddle the line - born in one country, settled in another, or of mixed heritage - is like demanding a person choose between their mother and their father.

Nobody is demanding anything. Only if you want to become a citizen is it required. If you wish to have basically all the privileges of a long term residence status, that is what PR is for. Citizenship requires - and should require - a commitment. Again, this is a different case if you are born of two cultures - in that case I think dual citizenship is acceptable. But if you are making the conscious decision to naturalize to a new country then yeah, it SHOULD be a weighty decision.

If dual nationality were available, I would take it in an instant. It would make life much easier

What value in citizenship vs PR makes your life easier? You can work anywhere, get loans, etc with no problem with PR status. It sounds like that's what you need.

Strangerland

he was the one who told me that when he travels overseas he gets 'the look' every time he goes through customs with his passport

I don't understand the issue here. Is it so problematic that someone looks at you a bit differently when you are different than their expectations? They aren't actually treating you differently, so what's the issue?

The guy spent his entire time in Japan being frustrated that they never took him seriously as a Japanese person

Debito? He never takes himself seriously as a Japanese person, why would anyone else? Have you been to his site? It's clear he chose Japanese citizenship to make it easier for him to pick fights with Japan. Dude had no intention of fitting in, and he still doesn't.

But as to why I would like to take Japanese citizenship - well I'd like to be able to vote, and participate as a full member of society.

Understandable for sure on the first point, the second has no meaning. What can't you do with PR other than vote that you can with citizenship? I have neither and can participate as a full member of society (with the exception of voting). What is it you want to do that you cannot now?

as long as they force renunciation of one's other citizenship to become Japanese, not many foreigners will take that step

Fair enough, that is surely the case. It is a huge step and personally I don't think it's out of line to require that, but absolutely there will be fewer people making the naturalization step as a result.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What can't you do with PR other than vote that you can with citizenship?

Work in a public office for one

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What value in citizenship vs PR makes your life easier?

Being able to vote, participating in moulding the society my children and grandchildren grow up in. Not needing to carry a registration card around with me all the time or spend a day off work travelling up to town whenever it expires.

Being recognised as a productive and valued member of society, instead of a permanent guest, would also be nice.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I don't understand the issue here. Is it so problematic that someone looks at you a bit differently when you are different than their expectations? They aren't actually treating you differently, so what's the issue?

Yes, they do treat me differently. How often do Japanese people ask them how long they plan to stay in Japan?

As for reasons why I would like to have citizenship, I think Cleo pretty much covered them. And again, it's not a big issue to me, the only real restriction I have that affects me is my lack of ability to vote. I'm not going to be getting any government jobs any time soon.

It is a huge step and personally I don't think it's out of line to require that, but absolutely there will be fewer people making the naturalization step as a result.

I don't necessarily think it's wrong to expect people to give up their citizenship either, but I'm not the one looking to attract more foreigners to the country.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

FYI -->Best Countries for Business 2014 --> Japan still rank 12 and no Mexico.

http://www.bloomberg.com/slideshow/2014-01-21/best-countries-for-business-2014.html#slide1

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I;d bet highly skill means some kind of engineering. Japanese citizenship, English teaching experience do not sound skill. Maybe robotic technology? Maybe how to create manga games with your software programming skill?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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