Japan Should Accept More Immigrants

by Momoyo Tanaka

Japan should accept immigrants.  In recent years, because of globalization, immigration that means moving to a foreign country is very active.  According to the lecture in the class, of the 6.5 billion people in the world today, 191 million just under 3 percent are international migrants[1].  Japan is not an exception to this phenomenon, and there are more than 9 hundred thousand immigrants in Japan[2].  There are 3 reasons that I agree with immigration: solving the problem of aging society with a falling birthrate and inter-cultural communication.

First of all, immigration would solve the problem of aging society with a falling birthrate.  Recently, Japanese population is declining rapidly, and one researcher expressed that the population of Japan will be 95 million by 2050 (Now, there are 120 million people.)[3].  If it happens, elderly people retirement plan would not work and they would not have enough medical treatment and nursing.  Then, if a lot of immigrants come to and live in Japan, Japanese economy would be more active, and welfare system would be supported by not only Japanese youth but also many immigrants.  In other words, it would ease the tax of welfare for elderly people burden on youth for each person.

Second, immigration would bring Japan inter-cultural communication.  Though many goods, much money and information are crossing over the world from Japan, it is strange that immigrants are restricted.  Some people may worry about the risk of losing Japanese traditional culture, but in the lecture, early sociological research on the incorporation of immigrants into the host society focused on assimilation.  Also, immigrants are selective in how they adapt.  Once Japan was the racially homogeneous nation, but thanks to immigrants since Meiji era, Japanese are able to communicate globally.  We can learn other language from native speakers, speak language we are learning, make friends from other country even in Japan. A lot of Japanese tend to be introversion, so it is good for many Japanese being apt to turn inward to have a chance to communicate with foreigners.

Immigration brings Japan a lot of economic and emotional advantages.  They would solve the problem of aging society with a falling birthrate, and promote Japanese economy and welfare system.  Also, many Japanese would have chance to communicate with foreigners if immigrants increase.  Thus, Japan should accept more immigrants.


[1] Rubén G. Rumbaut “Immigration’s Complexities, Assimilation’s Discontents” 2008

[2] Searchna “Japan also think about ‘Problems of Immigration’ seriously” April 29, 2012. http://news.searchina.ne.jp/disp.cgi?y=2010&d=0210&f=column_0210_003.shtml

[3] ALTERNATIVE BLOG “Japanese Population” April 29, 2012. http://blogs.itmedia.co.jp/business20/2011/02/3000-2eb8.html

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2 thoughts on “Japan Should Accept More Immigrants

  1. We in the United States have always allowed immigration, but in recent years, our natural resources have become strained relative to our total population. We now run large trade deficits and the cost of energy keeps rising. When I visit Japan, I see a moderately dense population that is now also importing energy and food. Can you, realistically, expect large immigration increases without making the cost of energy and food more expensive?

  2. Thanks the the comment. Japan is facing a dramatic decline in population, with huge cohorts reaching retirement age in the coming years. Japan needs more workers to sustain its economy, support local businesses, pay taxes, and pay into the health care and pension systems. Currently about 1 in 4 Japanese is over age 65 (already one of the highest in the world), and that proportion will soon increase dramatically. The burden on existing and future workers to support such a large proportion of elderly will be tremendous.

    Japan has long imported both energy and food, as its geography limit its energy reserves and its food production. Immigration to Japan simply will not increase its population, but it can help minimize the impact of its population decline. Also, increased immigration could increase Japan’s domestic food production, as the population of rural areas has been declining for decades. Younger Japanese don’t want to work in agriculture, and there’s a limit to how much food elderly farmers can produce.

    Moreover, American trade deficits are shaped more by the deindustrialization of the American economy and the value of the dollar than by immigration. The American service economy designs iPhones, but the devices are manufactured in China. Hence, the trade deficit. The cost of energy in the US is also shaped more by the declining global supply of oil and other factors.

    Immigrants to the US contribute more to the economy than they cost. The same could be said for Japan.

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