According to Mag2 News, the Japanese government has been accepting around 200,000 new immigrants every year, and based on a rough calculation, if the birth rate recovers, Japan will be able to maintain their 100-million population. However, based on the same estimation, if nothing is done about Japan’s aging population, the total population would drop to under 50 million by 2110 (most people today probably won’t be alive unless the flatworm research works out to something).
The problem is, like many Singaporeans, there may be Japanese people who think that crime rate will increase with the increase in the number of foreigners. So Mag2 News decided to do a survey on the topic: Should Japan proactively accept immigrants?
Respondents will make a simple choice between
– Yes: There are more benefits so we should accept more immigrants
– No: There are more demerits so we should not grant entry too easily
Out of 758 votes (accurate as of March 10, 2015), 639 responded with a “No,” which is over 80% of the total. The reasons being increased crime rate, difficulty in keeping track of new immigrants’ behaviors (I don’t even know what this means), etc.
Below is an excerpt from one of the respondents who said “No”:
Looking at European nations that accepted large numbers of immigrants due to lack of manpower, I feel that it is better that we not follow suit. If we were to accept immigrants, we should carefully plan, and only accept people with abilities, and who do not cause troubles. Otherwise, crime rate will increase and even other foreigners will suffer. In a period of high growth, even without bringing in foreigners, we can still manage if we bring more women into the workforce, so we should prioritize creating a more conducive environment for women to work.
We cannot go against the fact that values of people with different cultural and religious background had been difficult to reconcile historically. Mediating racial and religious conflicts with law and authority will only worsen the situation and cause eternal grudge. Having people of different races in their own countries (i.e. to have them live separately) is the only way we can co-exist harmoniously and show respect for one another. That Europe went against this is the reason why they have faced so many racial and religious conflicts.
Japan is an island nation. In spite of the progress in globalization, the number of Japanese people who can connect with foreigners are still few and far between… (omitted). Further, it’s not like Japanese people are all fully employed… (omitted). I am not for accepting a large number of people who do not understand our language and culture.
On the other hand, the 119 “Yes” votes gave reasons such as that it is an inevitable path for nations with matured economies, and there is a severe lack of manpower, etc.
Below is an excerpt from one of the respondents who said “Yes”:
This is an issue that developed nations cannot avoid. Personally, I feel that if the population estimation is anything to go by, there will be a day when Japan has no choice but to accept foreigners. If you look at the dismal state of domestic expenditure following the consumption tax increment and the sheer amount of tourist dollars from Asian visitors recently, the difference is painfully obvious. Thus, it is only logical to allow more foreigners who love Japan to grow their roots here while Japan is still being sought after.
It is also necessary to become a multi-cultural nation (like Singapore, eh?).
Let’s look at the facts. The lack of manpower in areas such as construction, sales services, cleaning, nursing, labor-intensive work, etc. cannot be resolved by IT and smartphones. Even the unnecessarily splendid-looking roads and bridges in the countryside that seek to gain something from Tokyo’s popularity cannot happen without workers.
Sure enough, we can always drive those from the rural areas out of Tokyo, back into their countryside, and the number of violent crimes will greatly decrease, creating a safe and peaceful place. However, as long as dangerous, tough, and dirty work places exist, that cannot be possible.
While the survey revealed that more than 80% of Japanese people are against accepting too many immigrants, many people also felt the need to accept them. No doubt that there may be various such problems as safety and communication, but the severe lack of manpower resulting in delays in preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is also a fact. The author of this article hopes that the government can come up with better immigration policies that can reconcile the two.