What is the future for undocumented children?

by Rina Yoshikawa

According to a survey in 2012, there were around 70,000 of illegal overstayers in Japan. In 2008, it reported about 150,000 were found illegal, which was more than twice as much as recorded in 2012. It seems like the number of illegal overstayers has declined as the survey shows, and we are able to solve this issue in few years. However, these surveys are only numbers of people who were exposed as illegal. It can be estimated that there would be around 300,000 to 400,000 illegal immigrants in Japan.

In the late 2000s, one Filipino family got a lot of attention from all over Japan since they had stayed in Japan illegally. According to the law, they were to send back to the Philippines, but their young daughter named Noriko Calderon grew up and lived her whole life in Japan and could not speak any other language than Japanese. It was a huge controversy for this family that had migrated from the Philippines to get out of poverty and to make a living in Japan, and actually made their life in Japan for long, but overstayed illegally. Their child, Noriko, has been brought up in Japan since she was born and had done nothing wrong, so she only got an exceptional acceptance to stay in Japan while her school life and her parents were sent back to the Philippines.

Even though Noriko grabbed a huge chance to stay longer exceptionally, she is not the only one who stands on the edge of border of their life. There are still hundreds of children in a same situation. Some might have already been forced to be sent back home, or some others might be scared of getting caught by immigration authorities. Moreover, they are even afraid to go to hospital when they are sick. They do not have a right to live just like normal people if they are not documented even though they migrated to make their life better and happier. For those children, they never get any choices and they have to depend on just the way they are until they are caught as illegal. Once they are found as illegal, they have no other way than to see the reality of undocumented with no power.

For this issue, I think all the children should be protected to live their life no matter what situation their parents create. Parents’ ego cannot disturb the future for children. At least I think we need to give those children education and healthcare with some condition to grab a chance of success when they get older. It should not be fully acceptable to anybody that may danger the country. However, I do not want children lose their bright future due to their unfortunate situation. All those innocent children should be able to take a chance to challenge for themselves.


Facts and details: foreigners in Japan. http://factsanddetails.com/japan.php?itemid=633&catid=18 (last seen on 2012-11-10)

法務省:本邦における不法残留者数の推移. http://www.moj.go.jp/content/000096008.pdf (last seen on 2012-11-10)

Immigrants face labor issues in the host countries

by Mao Shibata

Nowadays, globalization spreads all around the world and it has brought diffusion of international transportation so that people are able to flow freely over borders. The number of international immigrants who look for a job and seek more stable life is getting increase over the world, while they are struggling with serious labor problem in their host countries.

When I went to Vancouver during this summer vacation and stayed with my host Pilipino family, they were facing labor problem. The father had quit security guard and wanted to be an elementary school teacher, though the Vancouver government did not accept his require and grant letter of acknowledgement. Moreover they had two children who were still 6 and 8 and they live separately with their parents so that he had to take care of them in the home while the mother went to work during the long vacation. Since the mother was a breadwinner, she went to work 7 days a week and even worked on holidays as salary was higher than usual. They knew that as long as this condition persists, it is really difficult to make a living as their children get older. Then, what should they do? Should the father have to find another job-even if it is a lower wages one- while he leaves his children home alone? Should they send their children to their home country where their parents take care of their children?

Though they leave their home countries to get a job or to help their families, they cannot get stable and well-paid occupation even they have documents and the host country’s nationalities. Needless to say, immigrants who come to new country without any documents or visa cannot get a proper and high paying job. What’s more, their children those born and raised in host country also regard as illegal immigrants. Even they are educated exactly as well as children who have that host country’s citizenship and high skilled or talented people, they are not able to enter the university, get any certificate and satisfying job. It causes not only deprives of the children’s bright future but also it endanger their safety and the lives. Since it forces them to engage in unsustainable work and harsh environment such as day labor, low wages and prolong work besides, it may drag them into drug or gun crime to make much money.

Internationalization and development of the transportation make people easy to cross a frontier throughout the world and millions of people decided to go overseas to earn a livelihood or send money home to their families, however, they face multiple barriers in the host countries; low wages and long hour works, limited visa and citizenship. Not only try to restrict the immigrant’s occupations and to drive them away, but we need to consider how to improve their severe working situations and shift policies more flexible to accept them.

Globalization takes place in many different ways

by Julia Helbing

Nowadays globalization does not only mean to produce in one part of the world and do deliver these good to the other part of the world. I think it also means that you have to move to the places, where work is offered and employees needed.

In many developed countries, the costs of living have risen constantly. People have to pay more rent, the food is more expensive and of course, electronic devices also got more expensive because they are developed all the time and should make our live more easily. Therefore, a lot of women also have to work now to pay all the expenses she and her husband face. And if they have children, they even have to pay higher expenses. But what would happen if there is no one at home who can take care of the housework? Or who would take care of the children? Because of this, many families decide to hire a nanny from developing countries. Compared to nannies from their own country, they have to pay fewer wages. In addition, those nannies from abroad also work very hard to earn maybe more money. But still the nanny leaves her own family in her country of origin to go abroad and work for other people, just to send the money she earned home to her children to pay the expenses for the children’s education. This way, the mother wants to offer a better future to her children.

In my opinion, globalization now does not just shift production from one country to another; it also shifts people to other countries. But today we also have a lot of countries that depend on those workers coming from third world countries to rich countries.

There are many jobs that people in developed countries don’t want to do. They don’t want to take care of older or ill people, for example, or they don’t want to work in the fields and harvest potatoes or salad. Therefore, they are really happy to have workers emigrating from other countries to do this kind of work.

Japan has for example a contract with the Philippines about nurses coming from the Philippines to work in Japan. Since 2009, the countries entered into a Memorandum of Understanding, which means that Philippine nurses are trained and employed in Japan to face the decreasing number of Japanese nurses and caregivers. But after their training, the potential nurses have to pass an exam, which is in Japanese. So in addition to learning how to take care of other people, they also have to learn Japanese language. This is why unfortunately, not many nurses pass this exam. Since the start of this contract, only 13 Philippine nurses were able to pass the exam and therefore work in Japan. (1)

But of course I can understand that the nurses have to speak Japanese, because the patient in Japan normally can’t speak any other languages then Japanese.  And of course it is not easy to take care of sick people, so the exam has to be difficult. If the nurse would make a mistake, she could maybe kill the ill person, so I think it is correct that the exam is not easy to pass.

Nonetheless, this example shows clearly that in developed countries, workers from other counties are needed.  People from rich countries go to other rich countries to perform work there, so the gap they leave has to be filled with people from undeveloped countries.


  1. http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/253140/pinoyabroad/13-pinoy-nurses-pass-tough-japan-nursing-exams