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  • SITYS: Japan Times: “Points System” visa of 2012 being overhauled for being too strict; only 700 applicants for 2000 slots

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on February 8th, 2014

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    Hi Blog. When looking through my “Draft” posts (i.e., the ones I put on hold for publication later), I noticed that I forgot to blog this one when it came out. It’s another instance where got it right (filed under the category of SITYS, or “See I Told You So”).

    When the GOJ came out with its “Points System” in 2012, we said that it would be a failure (actually even before that — in its embryonic stage still doomsaid, see here and here), because, as the previous links discuss, a) its standards are awry and too high (even giving no real weight to the NJ who took the trouble to learn Japanese), and b) it is underpinned with an elite arrogance that NJ are beating down the doors to enter rich and safe Japan no matter what (without paving the way for them to be treated equally with Japanese in terms of employment or civil rights). Japan isn’t as attractive a labor market as Japan’s bureaucrats might think, for structural and systemic reasons that has been substantiating for decades.  And yes, as the article below substantiates, the “Points System” has failed — less than half the number of people the GOJ was aiming for bothered to apply.

    Sorry for the delay in postings these days (I have a monster project that I have to finish up, so blogging has to go on the back burner). Let me just put this post up as a matter of record (I already incorporated the information into my January Japan Times JBC column; see Item 4), and I’ll put something different up tomorrow for discussion. ARUDOU, Debito

    Initiative fails to lure high-skilled foreigners
    The Japan Times, DEC 24, 2013

    After drawing too few applicants, a government-led initiative to attract “highly skilled foreigners” was overhauled Tuesday by the Justice Ministry.

    Started in May 2012, the program is designed to shore up the thinning domestic labor force. Statistics from the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research show the population will plunge to about 90 million by 2050 from 127 million at present.

    Foreign applicants receive “points” based on such criteria as academic achievement, career background and annual income. More than 70 points earns access to a raft of visa perks, such as the right to work no matter the visa status, visas for parents and housekeepers to care for children, and a fast track to permanent residence. Examples of highly skilled professionals include researchers, university professors, corporate executives and engineers.

    While the ministry believed 2,000 foreign residents in Japan a year would qualify, only 700 had applied as of September, immigration bureau official Nobuko Fukuhara said.

    The system has been criticized as setting too high a bar for applicants. For example, those under 30 years of age had to earn at least ¥3.4 million annually to qualify, while those over 40 needed to exceed ¥6 million.

    With the changes Tuesday, anyone earning over ¥3 million is eligible. The minimum income requirement will be scrapped altogether for academics, who are at a disadvantage due to their relatively lower income.

    In another move to help academics, their scholarly achievements will be given more points.

    Bonus points will also be added for applicants’ Japanese language skills and experience studying at Japanese schools.

    “We’re fully aware just giving foreigners visa perks wouldn’t be such a big incentive for them to come to Japan,” said Fukuhara, who noted Japan needs to adopt more fundamental reforms, such as raising salaries.


    ONE MORE COMMENT FROM DEBITO:  The Coda is maintained at the very end of the article, reinforcing the stereotype that NJ only alight in Japan for money…

    3 Responses to “SITYS: Japan Times: “Points System” visa of 2012 being overhauled for being too strict; only 700 applicants for 2000 slots”

    1. Baudrillard Says:

      Sadly, with no civil or work rights, a declining nightlife (no dancing allowed!), an overworked, stressed out population trying to make ends meet and less fun/time to waste on pesky NJs, and an irradiated food chain, what else IS there except for money?

      Though actually most people just come to Japan for an East Asian cultural experience, though it is increasingly a random toss up between Japan (which is increasingly seen as expensive, difficult or even racist), China, Korea, or other.

      And 3 million yen is peanuts, especially now the yen is so weak. That is a salary for a 22 year old (who, thanks to the “Cool Japan” propaganda/re branding/postmodern twisting of the meaning of “cool”- see this blog for some succinct posts of why Japan is LAME, not cool are the only ones likely to come here and then quite possibly leave as disappointed detractors).

      -“anyone earning over ¥3 million is eligible. The minimum income requirement will be scrapped altogether for academics, who are at a disadvantage due to their relatively lower income.”

      Reading between the lines this translates as “We are still primarily attracting young fresh graduates who can be genki teachers (academics) for low pay)”. No one can put down roots for 3 million yen year, especially in Tokyo. Its 17,850 British pounds. The average UK salary is 26,500 pounds.

      Thus, anyone coming here must only be coming for the “cultural experience” for a year or two before getting a “real” job in the UK, or risk stepping off the career track. A mistake a lot of us made in the 80s and 90s in Japan, as we were promised career advancement IF we learned Japanese and worked hard.

      Nothing has changed since the 80s, except that the teacher salaries are now even lower than then.

    2. Jim Di Griz Says:

      How to reconcile the news that Japan wants to attract foreigners (allegedly) with this research, which aimed at proving that the ‘flyjin’ phenomena was for real?

      Seriously, what’s the point in wasting time on this research, if not to prove how disloyal NJ are?
      Whilst the article claims that NJ were more likely to ‘flee’, it provides no numbers on the Japanese who did a runner.
      With this attitude, I’m sure that *elite* foreigners will continue to fall over themselves to get into Imperial Japan V 2.0

    3. scarecrow Says:

      ONE MORE COMMENT FROM DEBITO: The Coda is maintained at the very end of the article, reinforcing the stereotype that NJ only alight in Japan for money…

      I think you are being a little bit harsh here. I think the last line is a frank admission that only so much can be done with visa-related incentives. Nearly everyone who would qualify on the points system would otherwise qualify for a work visa anyway, and while there are a few visa-related benifits, they are not that outstandingly attractive. Money would be attractive surely – thats just a fact of life.

      Its a border control office proposal and there is no coordination with other ministries to improve conditions for overseas workers. So they can provide the incentives they can provide, but not much else. It really was doomed to failure from the beginning. By design? I dont know – more likely incompetence than anything sinister.

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