Japan and Refugees

by Shoki Fujimoto

I think Japan should keep current stance on acceptance of refugee. There are some reasons why I think so. First, Japan is not suitable for accepting refugees or immigration. Japanese national feeling is kind of exclusive for foreign people. This attitude was promoted by the fact that Japan has not accepted refugees historically. Japanese people tend to feel fear against foreign people for some reasons. Moreover, there are not small numbers of people that kind of look down on refugees.

Second, we cannot ignore historical reason. Those who that say America and European countries’ cases as why Japan should take in refugees often say that we had better follow the stance of international society. According Ministry of Justice, Japan admitted only 21 refugees in 2011. On the other hand, America approves on average about 90 thousand refugees every year. However, this opinion does not include important factor that Japan has been a country of “Japanese”. This does not mean that I would like to say “Japan is monoracial country and there is no foreigner in Japan”. Needless to say, there has been and are many foreign people in Japan, and they contributed to Japan’s development by working for Japan like introducing culture, and bringing technology. However, comparing Japan with America and European countries, power of foreign people that contributed to build country is very small. America is very new country created by foreigners and in Europe, there has been numberless exchanges including war. It means that such countries were built by foreigners. Therefore, variation of way of building country makes difference on the stance on foreigners.

Third, acceptance of refugees has few merits on Japan. In our debate in EKK class, affirmative side claimed that we can solve Japan’s declining birthrate and aging population problem by refugee’s labor. However, we cannot agree with this opinion. First of all, I do not think it is good that compensating vacuum of labor by using refugees. If we aim to supply labor by foreign people, we should increase number of immigrants, but Japanese literacy is must, I think. Besides, designating refugee’s work and where they live means restricting their human rights. This is reverse of intension.

Certainly, it is so sad to refuse refugees who have run away from their countries, and personally I would like to admit refugees. However, my intention is one thing, and Japan’s national interest is another thing. Even if current Japan’s stance changes, it will take a long time to change its policy. To conclude, Japan should not change its stance if truly we aim at Japan’s national interest.


Ministry of Justice. [http://www.moj.go.jp/nyuukokukanri/kouhou/nyuukokukanri03_00085.html] (retrieved May 30, 2013).

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan [http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/gaiko/nanmin/main3.html] (retrieved May 30, 2013)

One thought on “Japan and Refugees

  1. I agree. Nations with a firm sense of national identity and language are happier, have fewer social problems, and enjoy better communication.

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