Mainichi Editorial: Foreign workers would also serve roles as consumers, taxpayers. Bravo. It needs to be said by somebody in the Wajin media


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Hi Blog.  I just uncovered this post sitting in my Drafts folder for the past couple of years.  It is eminently sensible and needs to be said by somebody in the Wajin Media, not just here repeatedly on Let’s put it up.  As submitter JK says:


The article below is a nice change: imagining 外国人 as not just 労働者 but also 消費者 and 納税者.

Of course it would have been great if the article had gone a bit further (i.e. 可能な日本人としての役割), but baby steps I guess? –JK


Editorial: Foreign workers would also serve roles as consumers, taxpayers

November 9, 2018, Mainichi Shinbun

Important viewpoints are apparently lacking in discussions on accepting more foreign workers to Japan. The discourse treats foreigners only as a “workforce” to alleviate labor shortages, and fails to shed light on a variety of other roles they can play.

Boosting the workforce is a vital challenge for the Japanese economy. Seeking people from overseas when labor-saving measures alone are not enough is a natural response to the reality.

But foreigners working in Japan can contribute more than labor to Japanese society. This point should not be overlooked.

First of all, they are also consumers.

The rapid depopulation of the Japanese workforce, which forms the core of household consumption, can cause national demand to shrink and drag down economic growth.

Greater use of artificial intelligence (AI) may ease labor shortages to a certain extent, but AIs do not eat or drive cars.

Foreign workers will push up housing and educational spending, like Japanese households do, when they live in Japan with their family members for longer periods of time.

Moreover, their wide-ranging needs can be expected to create new products and services and even lead to new jobs.

Another important role that foreigners can play is paying taxes. They pay income tax when they work, and they shoulder the consumption tax as Japanese do in the course of their daily lives.

A look at the United States gives insight in the situation. According to the New American Economy, a multipartisan organization studying and making proposals on immigration issues, the combined disposable income of people who came from overseas topped almost 100 trillion yen in 2014, making up for 14.3 percent of total households in America. The ratio was higher than the percentage of people born outside the U.S. at 13.2 percent.

This population group pays some 37 trillion yen in federal, state and local taxes. This amount is as large as the combined revenue from Japan’s income and consumption taxes in fiscal 2017.

We should discuss which choice we want to make — hiring young single workers on an ad hoc basis, or inviting long-term settlers with family members to increase their income and spending.

If we choose the second option, we need to make necessary preparations, and make corresponding commitments. This means exploring ways to benefit both foreign workers and the Japanese economy.

Japanese version

就労外国人 多面的な役割 消費者、納税者としても
就労外国人 多面的な役割 消費者、納税者としても
毎日新聞2018年11月9日 東京朝刊
















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3 comments on “Mainichi Editorial: Foreign workers would also serve roles as consumers, taxpayers. Bravo. It needs to be said by somebody in the Wajin media

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    I’ve been saying this for years.
    But Japan won’t listen; they’ve told themselves the myth that Japan is a country of super-advanced robot know-how and these robots will fix ALL Japan’s labor woes, which totally ignores the economic effect of the demographic timebomb.
    People want simple and comforting narratives instead of complicated and frightening realities.
    Don’t believe me?
    Hosting the Olympics will bring joy to people who lost everything in 2011. Remember that?

  • Great article.

    Just a nitpick — “would”?

    Foreign workers “would” also serve roles as consumers, taxpayers?

    We do we do we do.

    Surprising how many people think of foreigners as only leaches even though we pay our taxes despite not being guaranteed the benefits of social security systems.

    • I a afraid you are right, as Dr D said, this article is ” imagining 外国人 as not just 労働者 but also 消費者 and 納税者.”

      The use of “would” is for unreal, hypothetical situations. Which is how they imagine this brave new world of NJ inclusion.

      Great imagination.


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