Japan and International Migration: Recent Developments, Emerging Dynamics
While nationalism and anti-immigrant sentiments have grown in many industrialized countries, Japan’s situation has been quite different. Although nationalism has been on the rise and the concerns for ethnic and cultural diversity still exist, the Japanese public has become much more open to migration than in the past. The number of migrants hit a record high in 2019, and while the total migration level slightly declined in 2020 due to border restrictions, skilled migration increased even under COVID. Due to the acceleration of population aging and labor shortage, it has become evident that the long-term sustainability of the Japanese economy, population, social security system, and even traditional cultural heritage and legacies depends on migrants. This awareness has been particularly acute in regional areas. This presentation consists of three parts. First, it will briefly discuss the impacts of COVID on migration and the governments’ responses in Japan. Second, it will examine the linkage between nationalism and migration by analyzing the major shifts in public discourses on migration. Lastly, it will discuss migration in post-COVID Japan based on the findings of my quantitative research (Oishi and Igarashi, forthcoming), showing the positive relationship between nationalism and pro-migrant sentiments in the depopulated areas.
Dr. Nana Oishi is Associate Professor in Japanese Studies at the University of Melbourne. She received a PhD in Sociology from Harvard University as a Fulbright Scholar. Prior to her current position, she worked as Policy Analyst at the UN agency (ILO) in Geneva and taught at Sophia University in Tokyo as Professor of Sociology. Her research fields are migration, social integration, care work, D&I (diversity and inclusion), and gender in Japan and Australia. Dr Oishi served multiple national advisory boards on migration in Japan and assisted the UN’s migration-related work in various capacities. She is the recipient of several awards, including ISS-OUP Prize for Modern Japanese Studies (awarded by Oxford University Press and University of Tokyo) in 2019. She currently serves as a board member of the International Sociological Association, RC32, as well as the Japan Association for Migration Policy Studies. Her recent publications include: “Structural Economic Nationalism and Migration in Japan” with A. Igarashi (forthcoming) in A. Pickel ed. Handbook of Economic Nationalism (Edward Elgar); “Country Risks and Brain Drain: the Emigration Potential of Japanese Skilled Workers,” with Y. Horiuchi (2021), Social Science Japan Journal; “Skilled or Unskilled?: The Reconfiguration of Migration Policies in Japan” (2021), Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies; "North-North Care Migration: the Low Wage Labour of Japanese Female Workers in Australia and Their Challenges" with A. Ono (2020) in M. Matsuo & C. Mori (eds), Relational Studies on Global Crises (Iwanami Shoten); ‘Silent Exits: Post-3.11 Japanese Skilled Migration to Australia’ with I. Hamada (2019) Social Science Japan Journal.
The lecture will be conducted via Zoom. You are kindly requested to register with Zoom in advance: