Coping with the Ageing Society? : Migration of Care Workers to Japan and Taiwan

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 6:00 PM
Room: 313+314
Oral Presentation
Reiko OGAWA , Graduate School Faculty of Law, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan
Challenged by the demographic change of low fertility rate and rapid population ageing, Japan and Taiwan are trying to cope with the crisis of care in a very different way regarding its policy to introduce migrant workers to undertake long term care. Taiwan has started to invite migrant caregivers since early 1990s and approximately 200,000 migrants from Southeast Asia are currently working mainly in private homes. Japan started to introduce the migrants since 2008 under the bilateral agreements with governments in Southeast Asia under the condition that they have to pass the national exam on caregiving in Japanese within a certain period of time.

Unlike migrants in the highly skilled sector or productive sector, care work performed in the intimate space entails not only the political economy of care but a normative value underpinned by cultural notion of what care ought to be in each specific context. The comparison aims to situate the Southeast Asian migrants within the nexus of migration regime and care regime in Japan and Taiwan and discusses the discursive construction of the migrants as well as care work in East Asia. Building on the rich literature on gender and migration, the paper focus on care work undertaken by the migrants in relation to the national long term care system and examines the inclusion and exclusion of the migrants in the host societies including career prospects, citizenship and racism.