Länderprofile

Länderprofile



Japan

Only two million foreigners live in Japan. (This number includes all foreigners registered as resident in Japan. Registration is compulsory in the case of residence exceeding 90 days for all status groups except members of the US military and holders of diplomatic and other official or service passports (Behaghel and Vogt 2006: 116).) In other words, immigrants make up no more than 1.63% of the total population – a tiny percentage for an economically successful and politically stable nation and astonishing in view of its long history of international immigration and emigration. If we consider the history of Japanese migration as one of extremes, in which phases of totally unrestricted contact with the international community alternated with others of almost hermetic isolation, the present phase would have to be seen as one of half-hearted opening. This is evident both in Japan’s international relations and in its immigration policy. What should be noted here is that Japan’s government sees the current tentative opening up of the borders of the national labor market as covered by other areas of international policy – repatriation of ethnic Japanese, development cooperation or free trade agreements. The topic of international labor migration and its economic necessity is not, however, addressed. Hence there is in Japan’s immigration policy a quite remarkable discrepancy between political aspiration and actual result.

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