The politics of immigration in Japan involve anxieties about national identity and worries about crime. Looking at other countries with large numbers of immigrants, the Japanese government has said "no thanks." There are, however, strong economic reasons for Japan to let down the drawbridges.

Advocates point to Japan's shrinking population, impending labor shortages, and the need for more taxpayers to keep the national medical and pension schemes solvent without considerably upping individuals' contributions.

Critics fear that too many foreigners living in their midst will rip asunder the fabric of society and endanger what they cherish about Japan. But not all opponents are xenophobes; some argue that until Japan can ensure foreigners' rights and provide equal opportunity it should not being putting out the welcome mat.