The Migrants in Trouble in Japan

by Mari Sunagawa

In Japan, there are transnational migrants though Japan doesn’t take a positive attitude toward the acceptance of migrants and immigrants.  They left their homeland to find works.  They have to earn money for their family but it is not easy.  A lot of transnational migrants are concerned about some problems which they face.

First, there is the difference between Japanese-foreigners and Non Japanese-foreigners.  The law of immigration established in 1990 produces this difference.  It gives qualifications of residence to Japanese-foreigners. On the other side, it is hard for Non Japanese-foreigners to get it.  Some of Non Japanese-foreigners try to forge documents in order to be regarded Japanese-foreigners.  They cannot forge themselves so there are people who forge migrants’ documents to receive money from them.  The forgery has increased since 1990.  As a result, even Japanese-foreigners don’t be accepted easily.  They are suspected of being criminals.

Second, most of transnational migrants have to work at the places which are danger, insecurity and low-wage.  They cannot choose their jobs.  They do what Japanese don’t want to do.  It is hard to continue working there.  However, migrants are not able to resign from terrible jobs.  They must remit to their family and many migrants rent rooms where they live from their employer.  They have to find the rooms before resigning their jobs.  Also, the employers keep the passports and identification cards of migrants.  These things are very important for them to live in Japan.  If they want to work at other place, migrants must discuss with their employers and let them return the passports.

Next, transnational migrants are not accepted by some Japanese living around them.  It is said that Japanese tend to treat foreigners coolly. For example, when a foreigner asks Japanese the way to his destination, some of them talk with a troubled look.  In other countries, people talk friendlier and some are kind enough to take foreigners to their destinations.  Especially, it is difficult for the migrants who cannot speak Japanese to communicate Japanese neighbors.  Though some Japanese is able to speak English, Almost speak only Japanese.  In addition, the system of school for foreigners is not impeccable so all migrants’ children is not able to take favorable education.

Therefore, most of transnational migrants are treated unkindly in Japan. They work hard even under terrible situation.  Japan is supported by them. I think that Japan should improvement the system of migrants. Above all, supporting migrants who live in Japan now is necessary.

福西淳 “地域社会での定住外国人労働者支援” 明石書店, 31.Mar.2005

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