Presentation on theme: "Third Consultative Meeting of the MIREM Project"— Presentation transcript:
1 Third Consultative Meeting of the MIREM Project Nikkeijin in Japan: Institutional Framework and Issues of Reintegration David ChiavacciThird Consultative Meeting of the MIREM ProjectRobert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University InstituteFlorence, 3-4 November 2008
2 IntroductionFrom late 1980s onwards, significant return migration of former Japanese emigrants and their descendants (Nikkeijin, 日系人) from South America to JapanToday, about 400,000 Nikkeijin residing in JapanReturn migration not accompanied by national integration policyIntegration policy for Nikkeijin on local level, but huge problems concerning economic and social integrationRecently, new and substantials initiatives concerning a national integration policy
3 Overview Background of Return Migration to Japan Nikkeijin in Japan: Problems regarding ReintegrationNew National Policy InitiativesConcluding Remarks
4 The Political Making of Return Migration to Japan Late 1980s, increasingly irregular foreign workers in Japan, debate about new immigration policy1990 revision of Japanese immigration law (Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, 出入国管理および難民認定法)Several minor changesMajor point in the reform: new working visa for Japanese emigrants and their descendants up to the third generationReturn migration of Nikkeijin of often seen as part of ethnic preference in Japanese immigration policyHowever, very complex policy making processNeither intended as an active immigration policy, nor regarded as a labor market policy by Japanese government
5 The Economic Context of Return Migration to Japan , “bubble economy” in Japan (high growth and labor shortage)Late 1980s, hyperinflation and economic crisis in many South American economiesReturn migration started already in late 1980sPrivate migration industry established at the time of the immigration reform in 1990Large number of return migrants surprised Japanese officialsUp to late 1990s primarily circular migration (出稼ぎ) by Nikkeijin, especially between Brazil and Japan
6 Number of registered Brazilian and Peruvian residents in Japan, 1987-2007 Source: Ministry of Justice.
7 Overview Background of Return Migration to Japan Nikkeijin in Japan: Problems regarding ReintegrationNew National Policy InitiativesConcluding Remarks
8 Juristic and Political Context of Nikkeijin Reintegration Large majority of Nikkeijin are not Japanese citizenship and have only very limited Japanese language abilities, but denizen status in JapanHowever, Japanese industry structurally depending on Nikkeijin as fundamental part of labor forceNikkeijin as contract and dispatched workers indispensable for achieving high flexibility in manufacturing (especially among secondary and tertiary subcontractors in automobile and electronics parts sectors)Integration policyNo comprehensive national integration policy for return migrantsRegional concentration of Nikkeijin in smaller cities around major industrial centersActive integration policy and support through NGOs on regional and local level
9 Labor Market and Social Security Nearly 80% of Nikkeijin indirectly employed on demandContract with private temporary staff agenciesIndirectly and temporarily hired as contract or dispatched workersNikkeijin in South America regarded as model minority with high educational attainmentsHowever, very limited Japanese language abilitiesLevel of human capital of Nikkeijin only very limited influence on their job opportunities and incomeNormally not integrated into social security systemsAbout 10% of Nikkeijin enrolled in employees‘ health insurance and pension insurance systemAbout 20-30% of Nikkeijin enrolled in Japanese national pension systemAccident or sickness? Retirement?
10 Education SystemAccording to Japanese law, compulsory education for all children aged 6 to 15 in Japan, but foreign children exemptedMany children of Nikkeijin not integrated into (Japanese) education systemE.g. Brazilian children: about 9,000 in Brazilian schools, 10,000 in Japanese schools, about 15,000 not enrolled in any schoolProblems in adaption to Japanese school system (language, educational level, behavior etc.)Some initiatives for foreign school children by Ministry of EducationAssistance teacher and extra language classes for foreign childrenStill, 99% of Japanese school children graduate from high school, but up to 75% of Nikkeijin school children do not attend high school
11 Social and Political Participation Residence of Nikkeijin concentrated in social housing and tenement blocks in smaller industrial citiesSome frictions (noise, garbage etc.), but overall quite smooth coexistence side by side with Japanese populationTendencies for local Nikkeijin enclavesActive integration policy on local level and support through NGOsSupport for problems in everyday life through translation services, Japanese language classesStressing multicultural community (Japanese festival and Brazilian carneval)In some municipalities council by foreign residence
12 Overview Background of Return Migration to Japan Nikkeijin in Japan: Problems regarding ReintegrationNew National Policy InitiativesConcluding Remarks
13 Demands and New Initiatives for National Integration Policy Possibility of Nikkeijin becoming an uncoupled social underclassDemand for stronger support and national integration policy by local administrations, NGOs etc.Moreover, increasingly demand for active immigration policy in view of demographic development and (potential) labor shortage by economic interest groupsNational integration policy generally regarded as precondition for more active immigration and foreign workers policyNew initiatives on national levelCompulsory education for foreign childrenNew legislation regarding foreign residents (scheduled for 2009)Integration/Immigration Agency?
14 Overview Background of Return Migration to Japan Nikkeijin in Japan: Problems regarding ReintegrationNew National Policy InitiativesConcluding Remarks
15 Nikkeijin in Japan: Between Integration and Exclusion Nikkeijin important part of renewed success story of Japanese industries and industrial productionsNo full integration of NikkeijinPrecarious position in labor market and not included in social welfare stateSocial upward mobility seems very difficultIntegration efforts not helped by cultural differences and circular migration movementsBetter integration on level of local society, but national integration policy crucialComprehensive national integration policy currently under constructionBrazilian Nikkeijin bridge to rising Brazil? (BRIC)