Voices | VIEWS FROM THE STREET

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

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.

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