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  4. Points of Discussion Regarding Accepting Foreigners and Integrating Them into Society in an Age of Population Decline

2017 Vol.3
Points of Discussion Regarding Accepting Foreigners and Integrating Them into Society in an Age of Population Decline

2017/07/27

This paper considers the acceptance and subsequent social integration of foreigners, which is a topic that has not been actively discussed in Japan, even though the Japanese labor force is insufficient. From a medium- to long-term standpoint, we examine what sort of discussion is required and what specific actions should be taken. First, to provide a foundation for later discussion, various data on foreigners in Japan are summarized. The number of permanent residents and naturalized citizens continues to rise in Japan despite the absence of a policy promoting permanent residency. Most of the increasing dependency on foreign workers is fulfilled by foreigners who were allowed to enter or stay in Japan for non-employment reasons. According to future population estimates, the number of people of foreign origin will continue to increase in Japan, whereas the total population will decrease. Based on these data and estimates, we examine the action needed in the future and relevant policy issues to be discussed, focusing on two areas: (1) immigration control policy (entry-related issues surrounding the acceptance of foreigners) and (2) social integration policy (post-acceptance issues involving foreigners already living in Japan). Regarding immigration control policy, this paper summarizes issues to be considered in future discussions about accepting foreigners with mid-level skills, who are not qualified as highly skilled professionals and are not properly considered in the current residency qualification system. Three issues are pointed out in relation to social integration policy: (1) enactment of laws regarding the treatment of foreigners living in Japan, (2) formation of consensus for using public funds for Japanese language lessons for foreigners, and (3) cooperation among host regions because foreigners’ places of residence are widely dispersed.

Report