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Japan must open borders


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
The Financial Times on immigration in Japan: just let them in!

Japan must open borders or face slow decline

It was not until the subject of immigration came up that the man grimaced. Until then the Japanese official had given every impression of being a confident internationalist. But asked whether Japan's demographics meant it would need to open its borders to immigrants, he was unequivocal. "No," he said. "We have seen what has happened in the US and Europe. For the rewards you get in terms of economic rejuvenation, the costs are simply too high."

The official's reaction is by no means universal. Yet it helps explain why Japan has remained more of a monoculture than any other big industrial nation despite a dwindling population likely to halve by the end of the century. Many officials privately say they would prefer to see Japan suffer a slow economic decline than the social turmoil of multiculturalism. [...]

Japan's immigrant population is tiny in comparison with that of the US and most of Europe. Of Japan's 127m people, the number of foreigners who have obtained permanent residency, a process that usually takes 10 years, was just 184,071 in 2001, according to the immigration bureau. That figure rises to 1.7m if all "foreigners" are counted but official statistics include several hundred thousand Korean and other long-term residents, many of whom were born to families that have lived in Japan for generations. The question of whether to relax immigration or working-visa regulations is no longer academic. Part of the Japanese establishment wants to open the country to more immigrants to replenish the working population. This is shrinking by 0.6 per cent a year and will have dropped by 36 per cent between 2000 and 2050, according to UN projections. [...]

=> news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1042491451064&p=1012571727085
What they should do is let only the qualified foreigners take up the well-paid and interesting jobs, so that all the manual and unqualified jobs will be left to Japanese. That's according to me a great idea ! (sorry I am preaching for gaijin's sake here :D ). That already is how Japanese immigration see it as they require every foreigner to have a 4-year university degree to obtain a working visa. Visibly, Japan doesn't want permanent workforce, and least of all a cheap Asian labour kind of immigration. But why should we always throw the stone to Japan when virtually all Asian nations have similar or even stricter immigration policies ? In India or China, they won't let you in for sightseeing or even for 24h transit if you didn't buy your visa at an embassy beforehand.
I agree, they should adopt similar policies like Australia (before their immigration laws got really harsh).

That already is how Japanese immigration see it as they require every foreigner to have a 4-year university degree to obtain a working visa.

Then how comes that every Jim and John school dropout can easily find work as ELT?

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