International Migration and the Employment of “Workers” By Farm Households in Japan

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 15:00
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Hiroshi KOJIMA, Ghent University, Belgium, Waseda University, Japan
As in other parts of the globalized world, farmers in Japan have been much more rapidly aging than the general work force and some of them started to rely on foreign “workers” (under the name of “technical intern-trainees”) to increase or maintain their production to cope with global competition.  Farm “inheritors” started to marry foreign women for the reproduction of farm family, particularly Chinese and Filipinas, which also facilitated the employment of foreign “workers.”  There are estimated to be 24,000 technical intern-trainees in agriculture in 2011, amounting to 15% of regular employees in agriculture.

Due to the lack of direct statistical information, this study uses the municipality-level aggregate data on foreign population from the 2010 Population Census and the micro-data from the 2010 Agriculture Census for selected prefectures (with high concentration of foreign “workers” and “brides”) to assess the effects of international migration at the municipality level on the employment of regular and temporary farm workers at the farm household level.  

According to the results of the ZIP (Zero-inflated Poisson) model for the employment of regular farm workers by farm households, the effect of municipality-level proportions of Chinese and Filipinos are not unidirectional across prefectures with a higher concentration of foreigners in rural municipalities.  The effect of municipality-level proportions of women among Chinese and Filipinos are not unidirectional across selected prefectures.  The results for the employment of temporary farm workers are more distinct, but not unidirectional, either.  The estimated baseline proportions of households employing no regular farm workers and no temporary farm workers fit much better with the actual proportion of non-employment for temporary workers than for regular workers.  It is possibly because Japanese farm households hiring temporary foreign “workers” tend to produce agricultural goods which face more severe global competition than those hiring regular “workers.”