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Public Lecture Slides (5.28.2019) Japan's new immigration policy

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Speaker: Naohiro Yashiro, Professor of Economics at Showa Women’s University

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Public Lecture Slides (5.28.2019) Japan's new immigration policy

  1. 1. 1 Japan’s New Immigration Policy Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS) May 28, 2019 Naohiro Yashiro Showa Women’s University
  2. 2. Long-run stagnation of Japan’s economy reflecting the Population Onus -6 -1 4 9 14 1956 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2018 Source: Prime Minister's Office, National Accounts Real GDP growth (%) -3,000 2,000 7,000 12,000 17,000 22,000 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018 Source:IMF GDP (in US dollar) USA Japan China
  3. 3. An increasing total dependency ratio 0.00 0.20 0.40 0.60 0.80 1.00 1.20 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 Source: Population and Social Security Research Institute Dependency ratio Youth Old Total
  4. 4. Japan’ s 20-64 age population declined by 10 million form its peak in 2000 -12,000 -10,000 -8,000 -6,000 -4,000 -2,000 0 2,000 2005 2010 2015 2020 Source: Population Reserch Institute Net increase in population from the peak in 2000 (1000 person) Total population 20-64 age population
  5. 5. Tightening labor market conditions despite lower economic growth 0.00 0.20 0.40 0.60 0.80 1.00 1.20 1.40 1.60 1.80 0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 2000 2005 2010 2015 2019(1-3) unemployment rate Job offer/job seeker ratios (right hand scale)
  6. 6. Foreign workers are 2% of total employment, but 40% of the increase in the last decade. 6 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018 Source:Immigration Office Foreign workers (1000) 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 Total workers Foreignworkers Net increase in workers in the last decade (1000)
  7. 7. Most of the increase in foreign workers are in unskilled jobs • Highly-skilled workers accounts for less than 20% of the net increase in total foreign workers; • It is not consistent with Japan’s immigration policy of accepting in principle the foreign workers with highly specialized, professional skills. 7 30.8 22.7 27.2 19.2 Share of the increase in working visa (2008-2018) Trainee Students Legal status Professional
  8. 8. New Immigration Control Law • Creating new visa statuses (Special skills) for accepting the foreign workers in blue-collar jobs; • The first category is for those having a certain level of skills in 14 industrial sectors mainly blue-collar jobs, and they can stay for 5 years; • The second category is for those having the higher level of skills, and they can stay indefinitely with their families.
  9. 9. Various types of visa in Japan Including new type of VISA • Legal status as Japanese decent, permanent foreign residents; • People with highly specialized skills; • Trainees to transfer skills to developing countries. • Students working in part- time up to 28 hours a week. Flexibilityinjobs Longer stay ForeignersbytypesofVISA(1000,2018) Legalstatus496 Professionalskills277 Specialactivities36 SpecialskillsII SpecialskillsI Trainees308 Students277
  10. 10. An assessment to the new immigration law • Misunderstanding that the new law changes the traditional Japanese immigration policy toward accepting unskilled foreign workers; • In reality, it is accepting the skilled blue-collar workers just like the skilled white-collar professionals. • Assuring the labor mobility of skilled blue-collar workers unlike the current trainees. • The official view is that the new policy is not for accepting immigrants;
  11. 11. Qualifications for the new working status • Those 14 industries which cannot get sufficient number of Japanese workers; • The specified industries including construction and shipbuilding (both category 1 and 2), care- giving, agriculture, fishing, restaurants and several manufacturing industries (category 1); • Requirement of specific skills in each industry and fluency in Japanese language (N4) or equivalent level of the CEFR A2.
  12. 12. Major issues on new immigration law • A lack of coordination between the Immigration Agency and the Labor Department; • Need for the law on regulating the employer of foreign workers by the Labor Standard Office; • Expanding the Japanese language training program for the foreign workers and the family; • Existing Japanese language schools for foreign students entering colleges need to be improved.
  13. 13. A key role of the equal pay for equal work principle • Requirement of the same wage level as the Japanese workers in the same job; • Gray zone for the Japanese standard of the “equal pay for equal work” based on years of experience in the same firm; • Large wage gap between regular and non- regular Japanese employees in the similar jobs; • Japan’s firm-based labor unions.
  14. 14. A lesson from the Japan-Germany treaty on immigration of coal minors in 1956 • Exporting the excess Japanese coal minors to Germany based on the government agreement; • Strict rule on equal pay for equal work; • Welcomed by Germany but declining applicants in Japan under a rapid economic growth; • A similar treatment between Japan and the other East Asian countries would be useful including the social security contribution issues.
  15. 15. Avoiding social frictions with a new social class made up of foreigners • Immigration policy should not be rushed without careful and comprehensive consideration; • A “big push” is necessary to open the door to foreigners who wish to work in Japan; • Not only quantity but qualitative effects of immigration are important by stimulating diversity in the society.
  16. 16. My Publications • The Economic Effects of Aging in the United States and Japan, co-edited with Michael D. Hurd (University of Chicago, 1997) • Health Care Issues in the United States and Japan, co- edited with David A. Wise (University of Chicago, 2006) • “Myth about Japanese Employment Practices: An Increasing Insider–Outsider Conflict of Interests” in Contemporary Japan, vol. 23, no. 2 (2011) • “Human Capital in Japan’s Demographic Transition: Implications for Other Asian Countries” in Human Capital Formation and Economic Growth in Asia and the Pacific, edited by Wendy Dobson (Routledge, 2013).

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