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Tokyo: Could — and should — mass immigration save shrinking Japan?

by Mark Buckton

Motockney Nuquee
Musician, 32 (Japanese)

Most episodes of mass immigration eventually lead to the creation of separate communities that thereafter tend to follow their own laws, but I think that if the mantra “when in Japan, do as the Japanese do” is respected, then my answer to the prospect of mass immigration would be “yes.”

Chris Gould
Language teacher, 29 (English)

Japan can’t copy the recent U.K. model. Increased immigration needs to be based around a shared sense of identity and local community values. At present, any foreigner who commits to living in Japan for at least the medium haul must assimilate to some degree — the local culture is too strong for any one minority group to override it, and long may it stay that way.

Emi Maruo
Mother, 34 (Japanese)

The drop in population is a big problem. We need more young people to support Japan, so I think it is a good idea. We need more people — even foreigners — and although there will be some challenges, we need to make Japan an easier place to live for non-Japanese. In the end, I believe this will bring us many merits, and will help make Japan a more international country.

Wade Phillpott
Videographer, 37 (Australian)

I don’t know if it will be a popular answer, but in my opinion, I think Japan has to wake up and then open up to the rest of the world, because there is a tendency towards a closed xenophobic society, and to unintentionally discriminate against non-Japanese on a practical daily basis in so many ways.

Alex Calvo
Guest professor, Nagoya University, 39 (Catalan)

Japan may wish to first explore ways to raise domestic natality, reversing the current negative growth rate. Success in this regard may help the country avoid so-called demographic deflation, which threatens to derail plans to end the current economic stagnation. I would welcome an open, in-depth public debate on how to achieve this goal.

Hiroyo Ando
Physics student, 25 (Japanese)

As a person, I think mass immigration is a good thing, but Japanese young men and women will appear less educated and not “needed” by society as a result. And, as a science student, that is far from a positive outcome. So, while I hope Japan will survive these tough economic times, this must be done sensibly.

Interested in gathering views in your neighborhood? E-mail community@japantimes.co.jp


Should Japan turn to mass immigration to save itself?

View Results


  • Selchuk Driss

    If you are not a highly skilled immigrant, you will be exploited, discriminated against, mistreated, underpaid,
    deprived of social rights and access to social benefits, etc. in any country. That’s not specific to Japan.

    • IanPG

      But one could argue that there are far better options than Japan for young, educated immigrants than
      Japan as the OP pointed out. These are the kind of people other countries are trying to attract while Japan is largely closed to them.

  • Mike Wyckoff

    The most pressing matter in trying to help immigrants settle in Japan will be opening up Japan’s heavily bureaucratized credit system. At present the only way one can readily get a mortgage or loan (not at 14.5%) is by being Japanese or marrying a Japanese and having a permanent residence status. Immigrants who find themselves in renters hell will certainly NOT be putting down roots for long term residency. And I can’t imagine the govt suddenly granting citizenship to everyone (oh and also requiring they give up their current one).

    If anything they should try Western models, specifically Canada of the 1980′s, which helped cultivate one of the worlds most diverse yet peaceful countries in the world.

  • Wahrheitsfreund

    The immigration-related chaos (and probable future civil war) in Europe should serve as a cautionary tale for the Japanese and other non-western countries. Do those pushing Japan to be the next France as far as immigration is concerned realize this or even care?

  • KANB

    Japan is and will remain a closed society due to the attitudes of its leadership. Seldom do you hear discussed the potential of opening the country to the diversity that exist outside of Japan. Having lived there 7 years, my personal observations is a people contented with status quo.

  • RonaldoFearsEboue .

    Japan do yourself a favour and DON’T fall down the multi-cultural route. Its a recipe for disaster. It won’t be long until your streets are littered with mosques and burkas. Its so sad going to London, the capitol of England, and seeing it turned into a ghetto meets Pakistan sickening hybrid.

    • Kuji Kaputo

      Your hatred towards those who are different from you is sickening. For your information, Japan is the only first world country that has actively been taking measures to do the exact opposite of what you don’t want them to do. Google “Japan opens halal places and mosques everywhere in order to render Japan more Muslim tourist friendly” Your hatred towards muslims is probably the same towards all non-whites. Remember one thing: Japan is sick of you too and knows that Arab and Muslim oil is being stolen by western powers by force. Muslims are not allowed to use any other currency than the dollar to sell their oil even to Japan. Japan no longer has a stable oil supplier because your western new-colonial governments have destroyed the entire muslim world and deliberately been bringing the lower class Muslims into Europe and the US in order to further defame and dehumanize them. Japan is the only country hit by a nuclear bomb by the same common enemy. If there is anyone they do not want in Japan, it’s the westerners but they have no choice but to let your kind in to teach them the global language of globalization and neo-colonialism.

  • Kuji Kaputo

    As an immigrant living in Canada, I recommend the Japanese do not make the same mistake as western governments who opened the flood gates to an unprepared local people. I think Japan acknowledging this to be an issue is an indicator that if the flood gates open, the immigrants will not be treated like they are in North America and Europe, unwelcome and seen as competing over jobs with locals. This leads to separation from the local community and unwillingness to even try to integrate due to the negativity shown towards them by the locals. It’s already extremely difficult for an adult to integrate (whities in Japan know the feeling) let alone do so when the locals express their unwelcoming of us immigrants every day in so many ways knowing very well their economies wouldn’t run without us.