Japan’s “island mentality” and refugees

by Kensuke Ikeda

The refugee problem is complicated because of cultures, languages and human rights. Through the class of EKK, I am harder to decide whether Japan should admit more refugees because I come to think about this issue. Also, I find Japan has peculiar culture and identity. I understand that there are good points by taking accept of refugees. I will show you some advantages if Japan does the new policy like more admit of refugees. First, the refugee will be fresh labor and the increase might make Japan the affluent society because Japan loses young people by decreasing birthrate and aging population. In other words, the refugees will complement the lack of labor in Japan. Second, the host of more refugees will be intended to act as the catalyst to stimulate the Japanese globalization. If Japan can, Japanese force to talk English for working with them and to accept another culture for cultural immigrant. Of course, this changing is not immediate, but the change must do. Third, Japan will get international trust by receiving the refugees since Japan is one of the members of treaty about refugees. These reasons are merit of taking more refugees in Japan.

However, actually Japanese people tend not to receive more refugees from other countries. Japan is said to be a racially homogeneous nation and people have “Shimaguni Konzyou” that means the identity like “we are Japanese” and “we love Japan”. These identity works as tendency to associate with only intimate people. The identity has long process to make it and will not change. Therefore, if Japan becomes host country of more refugees, Japanese people keep having the identity. If she can, she should make policy without forgetting the assumption.

In my opinion, I disagree with the idea that Japan receives more refugees. It is important that refugee problem is related to humanitarian problem, but Japan should not lose their “Shimaguni Konzyou” and Japanese government will not be able to make new solution that Japanese people can exist together refugees with their identity. I recommend that Japan should cope with refugee problem from radically another point how refugees decrease. Also, Japan use ODA for the poor countries for solving refugee problems, for example teaching good education system and offering technological assistance. For solving refugee problem, there are many approaches Japan absolutely need not to be host country. Japan should find some idea that fit the Japanese culture and identity. These ideas are my opinion.


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