Japan Times: “Immigrants” magazine & advocates’ moves to establish J immigration policy


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Hi Blog.  On the other end of the cantilever balancing out those who would sooner cleanse Japanese society of the foreign element, we have those who accept the reality of immigration and call for something to be done to help people.  Excerpting from the Japan Times.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

The Japan Times, Thursday, April 30, 2009

Opening the door to foreigners

Expert warns Japan shuns the very immigrants it needs to thrive


…”Japan’s immigration policy has always been a patchwork. We need to have proper laws and regulations in place when accepting people from abroad,” Susumu Ishihara, 57, president of the Japan Immigrant Information Agency, said during a recent interview with The Japan Times.

Motivated by a sense of urgency, Ishihara recently spent ¥5 million of his own money to launch a quarterly Japanese-language magazine, called Immigrants, focusing on immigration issues. The goal is to provide more information on foreigners living here to Japanese people to bridge the gap between the two sides.

The first issue of the quarterly, circulation 10,000, included messages from ambassadors of South American countries as well as interviews with immigration policyexperts, including Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Taro Kono, and Shigehiko Shiramizu, a professor of global media studies at Komazawa University…

“When I use the term ‘immigration policy,’ people may think I am urging Japan to accept more foreigners, but it’s not quite true. What I’m saying is that there are already so many foreigners living here, so we have to think about them. We have already opened the door to foreigners, and companies need them, too,” Ishihara said.

His views are shared by politicians in the Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito ruling bloc. In February last year, about 80 LDP politicians, led by former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hidenao Nakagawa, formed a group to promote foreign personnel exchanges.

The group submitted a proposal to educate and train foreigners who wish to come to Japan and to accept 10 million immigrants over the next 50 years. The policy proposal also called for accepting 1,000asylum seekers annually and others who need protection on humanitarian grounds.

Separately, current Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamuraestablished a lawmakers’ group to create a bill to support schools for foreigners living in Japan. In addition, the Cabinet Office set up an office especially to deal with problems facing foreigners here earlier this year….


End excerpt.  Full text of the article at


4 comments on “Japan Times: “Immigrants” magazine & advocates’ moves to establish J immigration policy

  • “current Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamuraestablished a lawmakers’ group to create a bill to support schools for foreigners living in Japan. ”

    I would love to know more about this. As a “non ex-pat” local hire trying to raise a family in Japan, it is a massive challenge if you want to build up the kids English ability and exposure to western culture. The international schools are out of reach for the vast majority of local hires, and anyway a sizable proportion of the kids in them are Japanese anyway. The Japanese are lucky in this respect – the Japanese govenment subsides Japanese schools overseas (e.g. London) so Japanese sent overseas can continue to give their kids a Japanese education at almost no cost (about 21man a year). Whether it is the Japanese governments responsibility to provide schools for minority groups or not is another question. Even in the UK there are very few schools for minorities, I read recently theres only 3 Sikh schools in the country for example.

  • What, they want to create segregated schools to keep folks apart? Hasn’t part of the problem for the Brazilian communities been precisely that they have been excluded from mainstream society and that kids who have found it hard to keep up, or catch up in school have simply been dropping out? How would ghettoizing communities help?

  • WOW! Ishihara itself gave some money?? Unbelievable! I think he really wants 2016 Olympic in Tokyo, so at least now he feel like show some gestures toward foreigners. I think these money are from his bank anyway who got subsidies from GoJ so not big loss for him.

    — I don’t think that’s quite it. I think there’s a stage in successful old men when they begin to see their mortality, and wonder what’s going to be left behind after they go. You saw it in Andrew Carnegie (a terrible man if you only consider his business record), for example, who decided in his twilight years to become the philanthropist who left his names on all sorts of books, buildings, and institutions. Ditto with Ishihara, who I bet wants to be remembered for his Olympics, not his constant public nastiness. Good luck. (Actually, I take that back.). But that’s a vain old man’s way of going out with a bang.

  • sendaiben says:

    Actually, AWK, I don’t think it is the same governor of Tokyo Ishihara, but rather the head of the immigration agency, a different Ishihara. Couldn’t see the former contributing to magazines that put immigration in a positive (or even neutral) light…


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