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From Debito's doctoral research:

Embedded Racism: Japan's Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination

  • Embedded Racism: Japan's Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination
  • (Lexington Books, Rowman & Littlefield HB 2015, PB 2016)

    Click on book cover for reviews, previews, and 30% discount direct from publisher. Available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle eBook on

  • Book IN APPROPRIATE: A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan
  • MOJ: Numbers of people naturalizing into Japan 1999-2008

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on May 17th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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    Hi Blog.  I usually like to start Mondays off with a bang, but since I had a long weekend down south, getting back late last night, and a morning this morning too beautiful to avoid cycling to work, let me open this week with a tired whimper.  Dovetailing with the article yesterday talking about Americans who give up their US citizenship, here are some statistics for people taking out Japanese citizenship.

    Source:  Ministry of Justice.

    These are all the numbers of people who applied between 1999 and 2008.  The numbers have been up and down like a sine curve, but about 15,000 per year (which will add up to quite a substantial number over time).   Most of them are of Korean descent (probably Zainichi).   The trend is for fewer Koreans, about the same Chinese, but a doubling in the “other countries” column (I am one of the 725 in 2000).  The numbers rejected are very small (about one or two percent), but as I argue in an old discussion on Mutantfrog (thanks to them for this link), this is unindicative of a lax system, since the entrance interviews weed out obviously most of the unsuitable candidates before they even apply.  More on my experience with Japanese naturalization more than a decade ago here.

    Anyway, no booms here.  Yet.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    5 Responses to “MOJ: Numbers of people naturalizing into Japan 1999-2008”

    1. Jeff Says:

      Even taking into account what might be hidden because there is no reporting on the entrance
      interview applicants, these are fairly robust numbers, IMHO. Robust in the sense that this is a
      meaningful 150k+ people per decade which is between 5 and 10% of the NJ population (if I
      remember the numbers right) over the same period. Good in the sense that there appears not
      to be arbitrary processing (post application?).

      Good! Really quite good, I think.
      Now, about that lack of a trend towards positive numbers…

    2. Jeff Says:

      I wrote:
      “Now, about that lack of a trend towards positive numbers…”

      And here we go, BBC does the framing of the why question for us

      The reporter is quite good (at spinning).
      Not once does he use “Racist” or “Xenophobic”, just “Japanese prefer” :-)

      “Japan, like many countries across the globe, is facing huge challenges in caring for its aging population.
      Its hospitals are stretched because there are not enough nurses to cope.
      The low birth rate there means foreign workers need to be recruited but there is a widespread opposition to immigration in the country as many Japanese value an ethnically homogenous society.
      For some, robots may be preferable to allowing foreigners to work there.
      Roland Buerk reports from Osaka.”

      Watch video

      — Nor does BBC mention that as an alternative to NJ immigration, robots don’t pay taxes. What is the British media fascination with Japan’s alleged robotic alternative to immigration?

    3. Mark Hunter Says:

      I too saw the BBC report about the robots and thought that investigative journalism has hit a new, shallow bottom. All the major networks are not above a bit of simplistic, but sensationalist journalism to feed our need for mental pablum. Why are people so afraid to label racism as such when it is right in front of their faces?

    4. Michael Weidner Says:

      Jeff wrote:
      “Why are people so afraid to label racism as such when it is right in front of their faces?”

      Simple. They can be sued. When you make a definitive accusation of Racism, you can be sued for Libel or Slander, where as if you say something along the robotic lie, you may be skirting the issue, but at least you don’t wind up in court over the issue.

      At a time when Japan’s international relations are in a bit of a pickle, it’s probably a good idea to not stir the pot, so to speak.

      Is it acceptable? No. Should they call it for what it is? Certainly. Alas, until all the lawyers in the world cease to exist, such a thing may never happen.

      (not saying that all lawyers will take such things court, but it’s hard to prosecute a case of libel or slander if you don’t have a lawyer to help you)

    5. Luke Says:

      But to be honest, when technology develops enough nearly all humans will be out of a job, certainly those in the manufacturing sector. So the current world system will have to go through a revolution of change once again when that time comes. But it is interesting that Japan is one of the leading countries in robotics development. [incomprehensible sentence deleted]

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