The Great Recession and Unemployment Among Brazilian Immigrants in Japan

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 3:00 PM
Room: 311+312
Oral Presentation
Hirohisa TAKENOSHITA , Sociology, Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan
The economic recession which occurred during the period from 2007 to 2010 led to a massive growth in unemployment among workers in many countries. Conversely, it is important to note that the gap in unemployment between immigrants and native-born population differ markedly across nations. In particular, in Spain and Portugal, unemployment rates among the foreign-born increased much more than those among the native-born whereas in several other countries, there were few divergences between these two groups with respect to unemployment growth over time. This cross-national variation appears to depend on institutional arrangements of the labour market structure, industrial relations and employment policies.

Japanese labour market has been characterised by a higher level of employment security for regular workers. However, increasing global economic competition has forced the labour market to become more flexible and has thus led to rapid growth in the number of non-standard workers. During this period, immigrant workers who came from Asia and Latin America have been incorporated into the sector of non-standard employment. They can be easily dismissed during the time of economic slowdown because of their nature of employment contract. In fact, many immigrants became unemployed during the recent financial crisis.

This study focuses primarily on Brazilian immigrants in Japan because Brazilian workers represent typical cases of the precarity of employment status among immigrants in Japan. Approximately 80 per cent of Brazilian workers have been employed as temporary workers by temporary help agencies. Because of that, the growth of unemployment after economic crisis was considerably greater among Brazilian workers than among Japanese workers. This study addresses the question of what resulted in unemployment among Brazilian workers in Japan. I will investigate the effect of human capital and assimilation, employment status and industrial sector on their likelihood of unemployment during the economic crisis.