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Labor Migration of Health-Caregivers to Japan

Starting from the health-care sector, Japan from the mid-2000s on, has gradually opened its labor market to an international workforce outside of the high-skilled segment. The immigration of health-caregivers to Japan is regulated, among others, through Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA), which Japan has concluded with selected partner countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam. This research project focuses on the multi-level and multi-actor process of designing and implementing labor immigration to Japan. It also discusses the potential contribution of the EPA migration avenue to alleviate the labor shortage in the health-care sector, to trigger reforms to Japan’s migration policy, and to contribute to a rebranding of Japan as a multicultural country.

Principle researcher: Gabriele Vogt

Grants:

  • Fieldwork stays in Japan that contributed to this project were supported by the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), among others.
  • International symposia and workshops on this project received funding by the Japan Foundation, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, among others.

Selected publications:

Monograph:

Vogt, G. (2018): Population Aging and International Health-Caregiver Migration to Japan. Cham: Springer Briefs in Population Studies.

Editorship:

  • Vogt, G. (2014): Destination Japan: Population Aging and International Labor Migration. As: Contemporary Japan. Journal of the German Institute for Japanese Studies Tokyo, 26, 2, special issue.
  • Vogt, G. (2012): International Labor Migration to Japan: Current Models and Future Outlook. As: ASIEN The German Journal on Contemporary Asia, 124, special issue.
  • Vogt, G. and G. S. Roberts (2011) Migration and Integration – Japan in Comparative Perspective (DIJ Series on Japan and Europe). München: iudicium.

Journal papers and book chapters:

  • Vogt, G. (2017): Multiculturalism and trust in Japan: educational policies and schooling practices. In: Japan Forum, 29, 1, pp. 77-99.
  • Vogt, G. (2015): Foreign Workers in Japan. In: Babb, James D. (ed.): The SAGE Handbook of Modern Japanese Studies. London: SAGE, pp. 567-582.
  • Vogt, G. (2013): When the Leading Goose Gets Lost: Japan’s Demographic Change and the Non-Reform of its Migration Policy. In: Asian Studies. Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia 49, 2, pp. 14-44.
  • Vogt, G. and P. S. Holdgrün (2012): Gender and Ethnicity in Japan’s Health-Care Labor Market. In: ASIEN The German Journal on Contemporary Asia, no. 124, pp. 69-94.
  • Vogt, G. (2011): The Political Economy of Health-Care Migration: A Japanese Perspective. In: Coulmas, Florian and Ralph Lützeler (eds.): Imploding Populations in Japan and Germany: A Comparison. Leiden, Boston: Brill, pp. 323-346.

Media contributions:

  • Olímpicos de Tokio: las minorías que desafían el concepto de “una sola nación” de Japón (by Mar Pichel). In: BBC News Mundo (2021/07/20).
  • Internationale Migration von Pflegkräften nach Japan. In: OAG Notizen (2018/5 ).
  • Bucking a Global Trend, Japan Seeks More Immigrants. Ambivalently (by Motoko Rich). In: The New York Times (2018/12/07).
  • 「未来の市民」か「客」か In: 毎日新聞 (2018/11/23).
  • 「日本は『移民強国』を目指すしかない」 In: 選択 (44/10, October 2018).
  • Gender and Ethnicity in Japan’s Eldercare. In: inGenere – Gender, Data, Policies (2018/02/01).

For a full list of her publications on this project, please see Gabriele’s personal website.

Selected events:

International symposia and conference panels:

  • International Migration of Health-Care Professionals in the Asia-Pacific Region. At: IPSA/AISP 25th World Congress of Political Science (organizer of a panel including the following speakers/commentators: Atsuko Abe, David Arase, Wako Asato, Dominic Diocera, Lesleyanne Hawthorne, Reiko Ogawa), 2018/07/21-25, Brisbane/Australia.
  • Migration and Intimate Care in Japan. At: Inaugural EAJS Conference in Japan (organizer of a panel including the following speakers/commentators: Junichi Akashi, Wako Asato, Beata Switek, Glenda S. Roberts), 2013/09/28-29, Kyoto/Japan.
  • International Migration of Highly Skilled Workers to Japan and Germany. Current Models and Future Outlooks (organizer of an international symposium), 2011/12/15-16, Handelskammer Hamburg.

Presentations:

  • COVID-19 and the Future of Labor Mobility and Health in Asia (panel discussion). At: The Future of Transnational Migrant Labor and Global Health Governance in Asia, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Japan, 2021/11/04, Online.
  • Managing Migration in Japan: Short-term Labour, Tourists, and International Students (panel commentator). At: Association for Asian Studies Virtual Annual Conference, 2021/03/22, Online.
  • When Politics Gets in The Way: Japan, Southeast Asia and the Institutionalization of Borders to Labor Migration. At: IPSA/AISP 25th World Congress of Political Science (RC18.04 International Migration of Health-Care Professionals in the Asia-Pacific Region), 2018/07/23, Brisbane/Australia.
  • Population Ageing and International Health-Caregiver Migration to Japan. At: The University of Melbourne, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, 2018/07/18, Melbourne/Australia.
  • Health-Care Professionals on the Global Labor Market: A Comparative Study of (Non-)Migration Policies in Japan and Germany. At: Monash University, Japanese Studies Centre, 2018/07/17, Melbourne/Australia.
  • Policies Designed to Fail: Health-Caregiver Migration to Japan and Germany. At: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, Migration and Mobility Research Network, 2018/07/13, Melbourne/Australia.
  • Population Aging and International Health-Caregiver Migration to Japan. At: Waseda University, Graduate School for Asia Pacific Studies (GSAPS), 2018/03/05, Tokyo/Japan.
  • EPA Health-Caregiver Migration to Japan and the TWP Counterpart of Migration to Germany. At: Kyūshū University, 2017/10/30, Fukuoka/Japan.
  • Policies Designed to Fail: Health-Caregiver Migration to Japan and Germany. At: The University of the Ryūkyūs, 2017/10/23, Okinawa/Japan.
  • When Politics Gets in the Way: Japan, Southeast Asia and the Institutionalization of Borders to Labor Migration. At: ISA-IDSS/CISS Conference, 2017/06/27-30, Bologna/Italy
  • Health-Caregivers on the Global Labor Market: A Comparative Study of Japan’s Economic Partnership Agreements and Germany’s Triple Win Program. At: 3rd ISA Forum of Sociology, RC15: Sociology of Health, 2016/07/10-11, Vienna/Austria.
  • Health-Caregivers on the Global Labor Market: A Comparative Study of Japan’s EPA and Germany’s Triple Win. At: Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, 2015/03/26-29, Chicago, IL/USA.

For a full list of her presentations and other activities on this project, please see Gabriele’s personal website.