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Hi Blog. Here’s the latest installment of what I like to call “the jig is up” phenomenon affecting Japan’s public policy, specifically the one that is trying to maintain Japan’s exploitative “revolving-door” NJ labor market.
The Nihon Keizai Shinbun has given us an inadvertently amusing article about how the government’s latest policy U-turn towards the Nikkei Brazilian Community (whom they officially bribed to leave Japan a decade ago), and how this wheeze simply isn’t working. ZERO applicants applied for a special labor program in three months. Even though the NJ resident population is at an all-time postwar high, some people have learned their lesson: don’t come to Japan just to be exploited and then summarily sent home. More comment from Debito.org Reader and Submitter Gulf below the article. Dr. Debito Arudou
Japanese-Brazilians snub Tokyo’s diaspora residency program
Effort to bring over young workers attracts zero applications in 3 months
By NAOYUKI TOYAMA, Nikkei staff writer
October 25, 2018, Courtesy of Gulf
SAO PAULO — Japan’s new residency program for fourth-generation Japanese descendants living overseas did not attract a single Japanese-Brazilian applicant in its first three months.
The program, launched in July, allows descendants ranging in age from 18 to 30 to stay in Japan for up to five years and perform specific types of work. The goal is to ease Japan’s labor shortage, and the Justice Ministry initially expected to accept 4,000 people a year. But the Japanese Embassy and consulates in Brazil had not received any applications as of the end of September.
The South American country is home to the largest ethnic Japanese community abroad.
Potential applicants may be put off by the limited period of stay, as well as restrictions on bringing family members along and required certification of Japanese fluency.
The limitations contrast with the rights granted to second- and third-generation Japanese-Brazilians, who are free to live and work in Japan with residency status granted under a 1990 immigration law revision.
Japanese-Brazilian communities are dotted around Japan. Many residents work in the manufacturing sector. But their numbers are in decline: After surging from 170,000 in 1991 to a peak of 310,000 in 2007, the population dropped to 190,000 at the end of 2017 due to a sluggish economy and other domestic factors.
Despite the need for new sources of labor, Japan’s government has insisted participants in the program would not be considered immigrants. An organization representing Japanese descendants in Brazil blasted Japan for “treating Japanese-Brazilians, who are their compatriots, as unskilled workers for a limited period.”
COMMENT FROM SUBMITTER GULF: I shouldn’t laugh, but in a way it’s a relief that there aren’t any takers. I have relatives in Brazil and I lived there when I was 5 and 6 years old. It’s actually the reason I came to know Japanese culture and decided to study the language.
To be fair I doubt there are many 4th generation Nikkeis that speak Japanese, if any. But of course the poor conditions on offer certainly aren’t an incentive to learn their ancestral language.
Thank you as always for your efforts and for keeping up the site as a 20+ year old archive on human rights in Japan. –Sincerely, GULF.
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