There's no such place as Imizustan. Warabistan is equally fictitious. "Stan" means "homeland" in ancient Persian — hence Pakistan, Afghanistan and so on. A substantial Pakistani community in Imizu, Toyama Prefecture, spawned the nickname Imizustan. Warabi, Saitama Prefecture, hosts a growing community of Kurds. "Warabistan" rolls easily off the tongue. Its coinage was only a matter of time.

Three years ago, German-born, Harvard-based political scientist Yascha Mounk was surprised to see German anti-immigrant activists brandishing Japanese Rising Sun flags as they marched in protest against their country's liberal immigration policies. He asked them why, he recalls for the Asahi Shimbun in an interview published last month, and was told: "Japan is a closed country that keeps immigrants out. That's the wise choice."

Wise or not, it's no longer a choice. Japan's aging population and shrinking workforce have seen to that. The immigration law amendment adopted earlier this month, flawed though many observers hold it to be, bows to a widely perceived necessity. There are other views, but the prevailing one is: either open the country or sink into economic decrepitude.