「Japan's Immigration Politics, 1966-2018: Four Waves of Immigration Debate and the Making of a New Immigration Country」
David Chiavacci (Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, The University of Zurich)
It is often assumed that Japan’s immigration policy is the result of its predominant ethno-nationalism that explains a restrictive immigration policy and a preference for ethnic return migration. An empirical analysis of the interrelationship between Japan’s new immigration movements, its immigration debates and its policy reforms shows a much more complex reality. In fact, Japan’s immigration policy is marked by institutional fragmentation, ideational diversity and its embeddedness in the East Asian migration region.
In this presentation, I will take a long-term perspective and give an overview as well as discuss the main developments and turning points in Japan’s immigration policy and new immigration movements from the South Korean trainee proposal in 1966 to the current reform propositions in 2018. This half-century is marked by four waves of immigration debate and the emergence of Japan as a new immigration country in the late 1980s. Moreover, despite path-depending, incremental policy change in recent years, we witness currently an intensification of immigration movements that could have a significant impact in the mid-term.