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The new visa program for specified skilled workers in 14 sectors was launched in April 2019, yet only 376 people received this visa in the program's first six months. The fact that foreigners are not rushing to embrace the program should alert Japan to two critical questions: Why would non-Japanese want to work here? And once they come, how can they be successfully integrated?

14 Comments

Nobuko Kobayashi, managing director, transaction advisory services, and partner at Ernst & Young Japan.

© Nikkei Asian Review

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Why indeed? This always reminds me of the saga of a Silicon Valley tech whiz, earning a six-figure income at home, married a Japanese woman, re-located to Japan, where he was offered less than 200,000 yen a month by several Japanese IT/tech companies, who told him only old people with seniority can expect higher salaries. Young people, even with top skills, must "gaman" instead for many years.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

new visa program for specified skilled workers

This visa is strictly for labor worker that work in farming, construction and others field. For white collar worker special visa is high skilled visa.

The fact that foreigners are not rushing to embrace the program should alert Japan to two critical questions: Why would non-Japanese want to work here?

Why would anyone think non-Japanese people will rush to work here? These days there are many options Singapore, Taiwan, Hongkong and Middle East.

And once they come, how can they be successfully integrated?

Integrated? No need to worry about that one most of them they work until they exhausted everyday including overtime. Most of them work even during the weekend. All of that is limited only for five years.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan's long-term outlook is negative (aging society, black hole of debt) and it's not even that good on the ground now with wages falling all the time.

It ties in with integration though because at the moment gaijin are being treated as servants to prop up Japanese society. It was obvious Japanese society at large didn't want mass immigration but now everyone's realised they're screwed without it they've reluctantly accepted it. That doesn't make good PR though, announcing pro-immigration policies through gritted teeth and a forced smile.

All those years of anti-gaijin sentiment (maybe I should say 'hysteria' because it was unfounded) have poisoned Japanese people's minds against accepting people who are different to them. It's like the UK with Brexit, the papers and politicians just lied about the EU so much for so long when it actually came down to making a decision for themselves the people voted against themselves. Now Japan actually needs gaijin but it's too late, more fool them

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Being poor does not equate to being stupid. That's the lesson.

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...And once they come, how can they be successfully integrated?

i think the problem is when they say words like "integrated". once Japan stops thinking these people ( from other countries ) are "aliens" and making it seem like they,re moving to a different planet, i think things will get better. then it ,s all about working conditions, not letting these workers be exploited and not to think of them as tools ( Japanese society is in desperation mode ).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The reality is that most young people in all countries want to live and work in big cities. It must be a very desperate person who thinks he/she will find anything worthwhile in rural Japan.

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Once people find out about the confiscatory tax situation, and learn that their overseas assets earned prior to entering Japan become taxable after 5 years' residence, there's no hope that they would relocate. Some might say that that was the intention of the law...pick their brains, pay them peanuts, and send them home. At least the government treats all foreigners the same way, in that respect.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"It must be a very desperate person who thinks he/she will find anything worthwhile in rural Japan." Yeah, living in the woods a 3 minute walk from a trailhead, a 5 minute walk to a river, 15 minutes from skiing and 30 minutes from the coast outside a city with good universities, great hospitals, a well-established foreign community, western churches, a high level of support for local arts and culture, great food, massive green spaces, a jazz festival, great summer matsuri, a castle and world-class landscape garden, and which is rivalled only by Kyoto for its temples and cultural assests really sucks. It takes me 15-20 minutes to drive into town.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

as expat has posted, there are good lifes in Japan, you just have to find or make for yourself, the job, then locate away from Tokyo, buy a house etc. These immigrant people dont have that luxury however. I see allot of elites from hollywood etc., come to Japan, just smiling and in heaven, of course heaping praise on Japan. The people living out in those rural areas, picking vegetables, making bentos, welding etc. for them its a kind of a isolationist hell. Their story should be investigated and told. You can go to those places and just be forgotten. Anyhow, that was the plan to begin with, for some Japanese

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"It must be a very desperate person who thinks he/she will find anything worthwhile in rural Japan." Yeah, living in the woods a 3 minute walk from a trailhead, a 5 minute walk to a river, 15 minutes from skiing and 30 minutes from the coast outside a city with good universities, great hospitals, a well-established foreign community, western churches, a high level of support for local arts and culture, great food, massive green spaces, a jazz festival, great summer matsuri, a castle and world-class landscape garden, and which is rivalled only by Kyoto for its temples and cultural assests really sucks. It takes me 15-20 minutes to drive into town.

that ,s all really pretty, but you missed the first part of what he said: " The reality is that most young people in all countries want to live and work in big cities ". what he meant is that the majority of young people don,t care about rural areas. he was talking about what most ( young ) people think. they wanna live in big cities ( fact ). they want high levels of entertainment and excitement ( fact ). i mean, when it comes to Japan, some young people don,t even care about Osaka, they just care about Tokyo.

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Almost no country is really nice with immigrants, but Japan as a developed country is one of the least friendly.

Forget about integration, this is a complete nonsense!

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gaijin are being treated as servants to prop up Japanese society. 

According to my experience, this is false. Well integrated Gaijin are even treated nicer than Japanese people.

the problem is when they say words like "integrated". once Japan stops thinking these people ( from other countries ) are "aliens" and making it seem like they,re moving to a different planet, 

The problem is that some gaijin come here lacking in Japanese proficiency, disregard cultural norms and then have the nerve to act entitled/otherwise bad-mannered. I've seen lots of Eikaiwa-tier people who are like that and then cry how xenophobic Japan is. The society doesn't integrate you, you integrate yourself. You paint your own picture in society.

re-located to Japan, where he was offered less than 200,000 yen a month by several Japanese IT/tech companies,

Then chances are that individual lacked the negotiation/Japanese skills. I told my employer very politely that I need a certain amount for reasons, and got through with it.

Moving to Japan is the best thing that one could do, providing you don't go in blind.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Furan: I've seen lots of Eikaiwa-tier people who are like that and then cry how xenophobic Japan is.

I would guess such persons are a very small percentage of immigrants to Japan. This article is about immigrants from developing countries who by and large are not seen by us because they are working in fields or factories for 12 or more hours per day and may not have the time or background education to learn a new language fluently.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would guess such persons are a very small percentage of immigrants to Japan

When Nova collapsed I remember seeing the tally of English teachers in japan. It was like 1/100 of the number of Chinese immigrants alone, much less the rest. English teachers are generally visible minorities, making them stand out and seem ubiquitous, but it’s like when a black haired person gets a grey hair. It only takes a few to feel like there are lots.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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