Immigration and Public Opinion in Japan: Keys to Fostering Integration

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 11:30 AM
Room: F203
Oral Presentation
David GREEN , School of Law, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
It is often hoped that efforts at integrating foreign immigrant populations on the part of both local communities and government will bring about a more favorable perception by the public at large. Yet as immigrant populations increase, public opposition remains strong in most of the developed world. In the Japanese case, research examining public opinion on immigration in Japan is surprisingly rare. Public opposition to immigration is often unquestioningly taken as a given with little subsequent analysis, either due to language barriers or a lack of interest on the part of Western scholars. Utilizing data from nationally representative public opinion polls, this paper aims to bridge this gap. We propose to dig deeper into public opinion on immigration in Japan, arguing that while the public perception may remain negative overall, there are a number of important mitigating factors that can elicit more positive associations with immigration in the country. If communities and local policymakers hope to foster integration and improve relations with immigrant communities, this research can provide important clues as to what sort of actions can be taken.