TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

How could Japan accept migration.

The population of Japan is decreasing with quite a rapid pace. And it is becoming more and more inevitable to accept migration in order to maintain the national population growth. However, Japan is such a homogeneous society and hardly had been any cultural mixture with other Asian countries. In fact, if we see the history, we found that Japan has been isolated from Asian countries whose westernization in the mid 1800s was quite notable. Many psychologists suggests that Japanese people do not perceive themselves as belonging to Asian region, rather, a part of western civilization. There are many cases of discrimination against other Asian countries, and they are so not willing to accept migration. Of course the big conflict of interest among Asian countries including Japan, but I think it is time to be accepting each other. Is it really hard? My opinion is it is really hard, but necessary, therefore there should be some way to do that. Thank you.

Share:
  • thumb
    May 3 2014: Perhaps Japan is experiencing what every country, especially the poor ones, should experience. Considering the population of the world has exceeded what scientists call "carrying capacity": Is it bad if a country experiences negative population growth?
  • thumb
    May 3 2014: Jon Heese: a councillor in the city of Tsukuba and one of the few foreign-born politicians in Japan.

    Based on your experience living in Japan, why do you think the Japanese are so averse to immigration?

    There are no easy answers to that question, but I can list a few.

    The first is fear. People fear change. Most Japanese are used to doing things a certain way. They are afraid they will have to change the way things are done to accommodate the newcomers.

    Young people in Tsukuba are so used to seeing visible minorities that no one pays attention anymore. But just go a few kilometres out of town and walk down the street and one constantly hears “Gaijin da,” from the kids. The adults are too polite, but I see them looking too. Probably because I’m so handsome (laughs).

    There’s also the education factor. The Japanese have a long history of being brainwashed into fearing foreigners. Though one never hears the really racist epitaphs anymore (“yabunjin,” “kebunjin”), we now see police posters with foreign faces advising locals to watch out for strange activities. Chinese gangs are regularly blamed for break-ins in every newspaper. Many Japanese believe foreigners are more likely to commit crimes, in spite of statistics showing otherwise.

    Finally, we have excessive nationalism. Many people born in a country are taught to love and honor their homeland. In my opinion, it’s as bad as religion. When new people show up and want to take a part of that for their own, it becomes hard for people who were born there to accept that someone not born there could love a place as much as them, much less deserve a part of it. If there were a war, will the “outsiders” fight and die for their adopted country? Can they be trusted?
    http://www.japantoday.com/category/opinions/view/why-are-japanese-averse-to-immigration
    • May 11 2014: francisco: I spent a year or so in Japan, and they are admirable people. In addition to having the most excellent justified reasons for their "fear of foreigners", they are also clever enough to see through the Wests persistant efforts to colonize them, as was done to most of the Eastern world. But not in Japan.. We so easily forget that the US unapologetically shot its way into Japan in 1854', though the Japanese had , for 250 years , made it quite clear that they had no interest whatever in joining what we so intensely insisted was the "Modern World.", and after they finally were forced to, and got to be pretty good Imperialists themselves, we then engineered Pearl Harbor, and blamed them for it.
  • May 11 2014: Yes, Heather, I know about the demographic proportions. I merely doubt that a lot of immigrants are going to provide "loving " care for a bunch of strangers, either in Japan, or the US, where I live. I am myself one of the Aged, though I don't need any care, so far.. I can't say that I have any solution for this, except my own plan, which is no doubt not for everyone. I would say, let's reinvent the "Boarding Houses" of former times, as a sort of Co-op. If it were a nonprofit, we could afford to hire some help. It is my belief that "Jobs" , especially well paying middle class ones, are essentially doomed, by robotics, AI, and the "Business" model derived from Ayn Rand. It has already happened, but our society is in Denial about it.
  • May 11 2014: The Japanese have wisely avoided , so far , the cultural suicide that often is an unforeseen byproduct of Immigration. The last few hundred years of warfare prominently features vicious wars resulting from "minority" problems, called "Balkanization" I am still waiting for a coherent description of just why Japan would want that. Japan has been called overpopulatedd anyway, for a long time. That was one reason for WW2. They are in the lead for making robots, which can certainly subsititute for a great many immigrants. I thinkl the clamor for immigration is merely faddish emulation. the US, in particular , loves to be told that immigration is just great, and that even more would be even greater.
  • thumb
    May 10 2014: Whether Japan accepts immigration or not, there will be no problem populating Japan. Humans will make sure Japan will have more than enough humans living in it.
  • thumb
    May 9 2014: With 25% of the population of Japan aged over 65 and the birth rate for basic replacement in the negative, it would be wise to allow some migration. But in-comers must be accepted, welcomed and valued by the population otherwise resentment sets in.
    • May 11 2014: Heather : You are certainly right about resentments setting in . Why wouldn't they? You didn't make it clear that resentments are usually on BOTH sides, but you also didn't make it clear just why you think they "need" it. I have been hearing all my life that Japan was overpopulated. So what's the problem again that we want to solve for them, whether they like it or not?!
      • thumb
        May 11 2014: Hi Shawn, If you read what I wrote, you will notice that I justified my opinion of the wisdom of Japan accepting "some" migration on the grounds that their demographic is skewed strongly towards that of an aged population.

        25% of people in Japan are aged over 65. Only 13% are aged under 15. Almost twice as many old people as young. The yearly population growth percentage of Japan is 0.08%. This equates to 293 more people dying than being born - each day. The population is falling due to the low birth rate. Thus there is going to be an increasing burden on the shrinking adult population as time goes by, to look after the old. Add to this the fact that more and more people in Japan are living to very old age (50,000 people in Japan are over 100), and you have a care crisis in the making. Who will care for the elderly if most working age people in Japan are needed in full time work?

        Clearly, old age, in itself, is not a problem if the elderly are fit and healthy. Elders are a great asset to any nation, guiding the young and inexperienced, helping with child care, passing on traditions and calming worries - but very old people do eventually become frail and need the loving care of their families or high quality purchased care. this has a cost - either taking an adult out of the work force or families having to pay for private care. Who will provide this care in a society that aspires its young people with higher education and blue-chip careers?

        When comparing the percentage of young people to old in India, they have 30% of their population aged under 15 against 5.2% aged over 65. In Nigeria they have 43% aged under 15 with only 3.4% aged over 65.

        I got the stats from GeoHive website. http://www.geohive.com/earth/population_age_2.aspx
  • thumb
    May 8 2014: Japan wants to preserve its way of life and doesn't want to experience cultural and economic strangulation.

    "Strangler fig is the common name for a number of tropical and subtropical plant species, including some banyans and unrelated vines... They all share a common "strangling" growth habit that is found in many tropical forest species, particularly of the genus Ficus. This growth habit is an adaptation for growing in dark forests where the competition for light is intense. These plants begin life as epiphytes, when their seeds, often bird-dispersed, germinate in crevices atop other trees. These seedlings grow their roots downward and envelop the host tree while also growing upward to reach into the sunlight zone above the canopy."

    An original support tree can sometimes die, so that the strangler fig becomes a "columnar tree" with a hollow central core."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strangler_fig
  • May 3 2014: My opinion is it is really hard because it is bad to have more "toes to tread on."