Development of Immigration Policy in Japan

Topics: Immigration, Refugee, Human migration Pages: 19 (6167 words) Published: November 11, 2005
Development of Immigration Policy in Japan

I Introduction: Immigration Flow

Any gGaijinh that has come to Japan may have had the awkward feeling of an invisible barrier that is felt in the immigration policies of Japan. A country that is an island could be a reason of the peculiar (from the world standard) policies that the Japanese government has implemented throughout history. My paper is divided in four sections. The first point that we should discuss is the chronological development of immigration flow in Japan. In particular, we will focus our attention on the history since World War II. Secondly, we will analyze the development of integration policy in Japan. Following that, we will consider the main issues recently discussed. Thirdly, we will examine the admission and control policy in Japan, as well as we will deal with the main issues recently caused by social changes. Lastly, we shall conclude with a criticism of a lacking a comprehensive administration office for integration policy. In Japan, the chronological development of immigration flow can be illustrated by the six periods shown in table 1.

Table 1. Chronological development of immigration flow 1639- (1) No immigration during the isolation period (1639-1853).
(2) Opening the door, large emigration and colonial immigration (1853-1945). (3) Strictly controlled immigration and emigration (1945-1951). (4) Strict immigration even during the time of advanced economic growth (1951-1981). (5) Strict immigration but refugees accepted and aliensf rights are improved (1981-1990) (6) Relatively strict immigration but ethnic repatriates (front door), trainees (side door) and irregulars (back door) come to work as unskilled workers (1990- ).

1)Old Comers and New Comers

The number of registered foreigners has increased rapidly over a recent twenty-five year period as shown in table @Koreans are the major foreign group. Many of them are descendants of immigrants during the second period of colonial immigration. They are called gold comersh . Some new comer Koreans have immigrated to Japan while the number of old comer Koreans has decreased. That is why the number of Koreans does not vary greatly over these twenty-five years. However, the numbers of Chinese, Filipino, Brazilian and others are rapidly increasing because of Japanfs economic growth since the Plaza Agreement in Mid-1980s and they are called gnew comersh.

2) Advanced Economic Growth Period with Fewer Immigrants

A peculiar point of Japanese immigration history is the fourth period of advanced economic growth with fewer immigrants. In Europe, on the contrary, before the economic recession of the first oil crisis in 1973 liberal immigration policy led to a huge number of economic immigrants; the so called gguest workersh. What are the reasons that Japan had so little immigration at that time compared to other developed countries? A sociologist explained this observation by the following four factors:

1) Large domestic migration: Japan had more farmers than Western countries and many farmers moved from rural to urban industrial areas during the period of rapid economic growth (1955-1973); 2) Automation: Japan had succeeded in improving manufacturing techniques through microelectronics, robots and automation, and as a result, less demand arose for foreign unskilled workers; 3) Utilization of house wives, students and elderly people as part-time labor: In Japan, university students are able to work for some hours even on week days. Usually, high school students study hard but university students do not study as hard in Japan because the being accepted into a famous university is one the most important goals of the students. Additionally, labor unions are weak and managers could hire part-time (cheap) labor more flexibly than Western countries;

4) Long working hours (total hours worked in a year):
In 1982: 2100 hours in Japan, 1690 hours in West Germany and 1650 hours...

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