Sympo on migration and integration in Japan

This was an interesting 2-day event run by the German Institute for Japanese Studies

Drawing upon EU experience, they talked about demographic change and labor migration in Japan. Reflecting on their experience with rapid economic growth several speakers addressed the struggles faced with migrants. I missed the session on policy but I had low expectations of the government speakers. I wish I had heard more about the “guest-worker” system which has been controversial in many countries. Here in Japan, it is not such a talked about issue ミ yet.
I have one lingering question and that is if there is still any desire for the integration of immigrants in Japan. I did not sense that but I only attended two sessions.

I also agree with Prof Keiko Yananakaユs idea that it might also be good for Japan to look to other nations in the region to see how they have been dealing with migration and immigration. The EU examples presented seemed too different from the cases discussed in Japan to be relevant ミ except for the mistakes we can learn from.

メWhich direction will Japan’s immigration policy take in the face of demographic change?モ I did get a clear answer to this question posed by the sympo.

I feel there are two big issues that were like elephants in the room:
1. Non-Japanese will need to lead part of the integration movement => this means how things will be done will not be in a traditional Japanese way.
2. Non-Japanese cannot simply be expected to act and become like Japanese. Integration is not simple assimilation
3. Japan will change and this will cause tensions that policies need to plan for in advance.

Civil society organizations will need to be part of this as local people will need to be more active and part of the changes. Laws and policy alone will make the future transition smooth.

More on the most presentation later ...


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