Japan Times: Foreigners will have a much better opportunity to move to, or continue to live in, Japan under a new immigration plan drafted by Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers to accept 10 million immigrants in the next 50 years.
“The plan means (some politicians) are seriously thinking about Japan’s future,” said Debito Arudou, who is originally from the United States but has lived in Japan for 20 years and became a naturalized citizen in 2000. “While it is no surprise by global standards, it is a surprisingly big step forward for Japan.”
The group of some 80 lawmakers, led by former LDP Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa, finalized the plan on June 12 and aims to submit it to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda later this week.
The plan is “the most effective way to counter the labor shortage Japan is doomed to face amid a decreasing number of children,” Nakagawa said…
Japan had 2.08 million foreign residents in 2006, accounting for 1.6 percent of the population of 128 million. Raising the total to 10 million, or close to 10 percent of the population, may sound bold but is actually modest considering that most European countries, not to mention the U.S., have already exceeded this proportion, Sakanaka said.
Fukuda outlined in a policy speech in January his aim to raise the number of foreign students to 300,000 from the current 130,000, but without specifying a timetable.
However, the immigration plan calls for the goal to be achieved soon and for the government to aim for 1 million foreign students by 2025. It also proposes accepting an annual 1,000 asylum seekers and other people who need protection for humanitarian reasons…
Arudou, a foreigners’ rights activist, noted the importance of establishing a legal basis for specifically banning discrimination against non-Japanese.
“Founding a legal basis is important because people do not become open just because the government opens the door,” he said…
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