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Society Immigration: Japanese divided over rise in foreign residents

thomas

Unswerving cyclist
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14 Mar 2002
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According to a government survey conducted by Japan's Immigration Services Agency, younger Japanese people generally welcome the growing number of foreign workers in Japan, with 28.7% expressing favourable views. In contrast, 23.5% of respondents expressed reservations about the trend. However, there is a significant generational gap: over half of respondents aged 18 to 19 held positive views, while older age groups were more likely to express unfavourable views or remain undecided. The level of interaction with foreigners appears to influence these differing perspectives.


As foreign workers arrive in Japan with their families, many of their children attend Japanese schools. Among survey respondents in their teens and 20s, more than a third reported attending school with foreigners or having foreign acquaintances. This suggests that studying together with foreign children leads to more positive views on widening immigration. Among respondents between 30 and 59, 30% to 40% said they worked with foreigners either currently or in the past. Meanwhile, only a minority of people 60 or older reported having contact with foreigners either in school or the workplace. Between 40% and 70% of respondents in this age group said they have no friends who are foreign nationals and they have never associated with a foreigner.

Eriko Suzuki, a professor of international migration at Kokushikan University in Tokyo, stated, "It has been pointed out in the past that socializing with foreigners tends to foster positive views toward them, and this large-scale survey provides backing." Given Japan's shrinking and ageing population, the country has been accepting more foreign workers while promoting awareness of an inclusive society. Suzuki suggests that involving foreign residents in the planning stage of cross-cultural exchange events, rather than just on the day of the event, is crucial for maintaining continuous contact on equal footing.

Paywall alert:


Meanwhile, two public employees in the city of Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture , including one who told subordinates of foreign nationality that he is prejudiced against foreigners, have been slapped with pay cuts. According to the city, a deputy manager in his 50s repeatedly made discriminatory remarks toward two subordinates of foreign nationality between June last year and February this year, telling them, among other things, "I have a prejudice against foreigners." This March, the employees consulted the prefectural human rights centre, leading to the deputy manager's actions being uncovered.

I doubt that pay cuts will help him correct his views.

 
Meanwhile, two public employees in the city of Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture , including one who told subordinates of foreign nationality that he is prejudiced against foreigners, have been slapped with pay cuts. According to the city, a deputy manager in his 50s repeatedly made discriminatory remarks toward two subordinates of foreign nationality between June last year and February this year, telling them, among other things, "I have a prejudice against foreigners." This March, the employees consulted the prefectural human rights centre, leading to the deputy manager's actions being uncovered.
At least he was honest and upfront about his prejudice - I mean isn't that a bit of progress? (I kid)
 
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