Resistance to Shinzo Abe’s Plan for Foreign Workers
Japan has always had a strict immigration policy, which made it become one of the world’s most homogeneous societies. But now Shinzo Abe’s plan to invite many foreigners to work in the country has arose resistance.
Abe’s new legislation will allow immigrants to fill jobs positions in sectors that are majorly hit by the shrink in Japanese population. Local media have reported that there will be probably an increase of 40 percent over the 1.3 million foreign workers now living in Japan. But the government has not released a target yet.
In a survey published by the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in June, two-thirds of companies said they were in need of workers. Abe’s plan involves the creation of two classes of foreign workers to serve 10 still unspecified industries. Lower-skilled migrants will not be able to take their families with them and will be allowed to work as long as five years. Highly-skilled workers will be able to bring their families and stay longer. Read here our article for more information.
If this legislation passes, it will lead to Japan’s biggest immigration overhaul since the 1990s, when it accepted “trainees” from Asian nations in the country. Foreigners were just 1.7 percent of Japan’s population, compared to 3.4 percent in South Korea and 12 percent in Germany.
But here comes the resistance. On Sunday October 14, more than 100 protesters marched through Tokyo’s Ginza shopping district waving imperial flags and asking to stop the plan. But they were outnumbered by police and there were also counter protesters shouting: “racists go home”. The movement calls itself “Japan First”, and the head of the Tokyo chapter, Mikio Okamura, asked the government to spend money to improve pay and conditions for Japanese citizens, rather than relying on foreigners.
Other more mainstream groups have also expressed concerns, for example the group called Rengo, which has said that foreign workers should not be accepted without careful consideration.
Sources: Japantimes.com, scmp.com
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Article by Elena Laghi