Well, this is going to be a bit of a long post... First off, while I was studying in Japan, I did get to know a lot of immigrants (mostly from India/Pakistan/Bangladesh, some from elsewhere), and I'm a bit familiar with some of their immigration laws as a result. Some of this is coming from that perspective, just as a warning that I do have a disposition against Japanese immigration policies.
Diadem wrote:They are specifically targetting Latin-American immigrants of Japanese descent? Is that some kind of weird inverted racism? Or are they thinking along the lines of "You betrayed our nation by leaving once, now don't come back"? I really don't get it.
If I were a racist, I would try to stop immigrants, and try to get them to return. But why would I target immigrants who are originally Japanese?
The Great Hippo wrote:They aren't 'Japanese', they're 'part Japanese'. Check out 'Mulatto' in the US for a corollary - most racist narratives involve the expulsion of not only those who are not of your 'race', but those who are only partly your 'race'.
Hippo's actually a bit off with this one... Japanese descent is the reason they were able to come in and work in Japan in the first place. It's not that they're discriminating against them because they're only part-Japanese, but there's almost no one who's fully Latino on a legal work visa in the country.
Basically, Japan has a racial preference system when it comes to immigration (work visas or citizenship especially). So, someone with Japanese descent, or second-generation Japanese (nikkeijin), can be on a 'fast-track' for immigration. A few generations ago, many Japanese immigrated to Brazil (which has something like the 2nd or 3rd highest Japanese population outside of Japan--the US, Brazil, and Peru are the top three if memory serves me right). So, when the economy of Japan was noticeably better than Brazil's, many of their descendants started immigrating back. For someone who has no Japanese descent, it's nearly impossible to get a work visa--especially
if you're coming in for a blue-collar job.
BoomFrog wrote:However, where I disagree with storm is that your quality of life can be improved by immigration. For example it is very expensive to higher a nanny in Japan because there aren't poor immigrents to fill the job.*
I noticed a lot of Filipinos working as nurses to deal with that shortage as well.
Just agreeing with BoomFrog here and providing a second example.
Gelsamel wrote:Actually I'm seriously considering doing that JET program, I hope they don't randomly scrap it.
They're cutting back on a ton of positions, either letting people go right now, or not renewing positions at the end of contracts (so there won't be an opening after many people are finished). JET itself is unlikely to go completely, but it's gotten ridiculously competitive in the last few years, and it's just going to get more so.
Dibley wrote:Wait, I know they have some issues with misogyny, and a very low birthrate, but I was unaware they were related. Explain please?
Gelsamel and cycoden already covered part of this. I'll try to give a quick version of some of the problems I see.
More women are generally putting off marriage compared to a generation ago (late 20s as opposed to early 20s), and either having fewer children, or no children at all--the current birthrate is something like 1.6 if I remember correctly (it's below 2.1 replacement levels, but I can't remember exactly off the top of my head). Where this ties into misogyny, if you ask me, is when it comes to the labor market.
Although this is
gradually changing, in a lot of companies you'll rarely find things like paid maternity leave, day care services, or sometimes general understanding that you need to have free time to spend with your families (and so you can't stay after work from 6pm to 11pm drinking with coworkers, and can't come in every Saturday)--a lot of things we sort of take for granted in the US. What's worse is that if a woman tries to get a job, she can run up against an employer who assumes that she'll leave once she gets married. Since there's more of an "employment for life" model within Japanese companies (you start at the bottom and work your way up, and there's little switching between companies since you'd have to start at the bottom again) this provides an incentive for said employer to put her in part-time or menial work, so that when she presumably leaves, she's not in any irreplaceable position.
I do hear this is changing, depending on the company. But that, plus the lack of a decent support structure for working mothers, is one thing that contributes to women wanting to put off marriage for later or indefinitely. Also, raising a family in Japan is expensive
, given the general cost of living and property, so there are also financial disincentives for having many children.
So... now it's time for my dawg's posts. This should be fun:
Stormlock wrote:Their work force is too small because it is aging. Increasing the workforce will simply make the problem bigger and put it off for a generation.
Basic demographics. I'll try to give a crash-course here.
Before you begin, check out the population pyramids for:United States
These are graphs showing population by age groups for the entire country, and projections for 2025 and 2050. Bear in mind that the working-age population is generally 20 to 65. For Japan, do you see that sharp decline as you go below the 25-29 age group? That's the result of the current low birthrates. Now, note the 2025 projection: do you see how the population has "aged upwards"? There are more people in the 65-and-over group (Japan has the highest life expectancy of the world, at about 84 last I checked); this means a higher population, but fewer people around to support that standard of living.
Keep in mind that people who are retired draw off of savings accounts and pensions. The health of these is generally tied into the health of the economy. So, anyone who is working is supporting the elderly, either directly or indirectly. So if there's a drastically reduced number of people working in the country, and a greater number of elderly, then that does spell problems for everyone's well-being.
The general solution is either to (a) make your diminished workforce more productive, or (b) fill in the population gap with a workforce from abroad. The US generally gets by on a mixture of (a) and (b); Japan tries to get by mostly with (a), and occasionally in desperation lawmakers will allow a bit of (b).
Stormlock wrote: An influx of young workers will help with the aging workplace right now... but 40 years down the line when they are aging, you'll have to increase the population even more. Repeat until you want to swallow the pill of population dropping or at least remaining stable, which sucks, but is necessary in the long term.
A basic understanding of how demographics works will clear up the confusion you're having here. At a simple level, an influx of young workers will help the aging workplace right now, and until the elderly-to-working age ratio is more evenly balanced (not necessarily numerically). After that point, unless someone discovers immortality, the small birthrate over the last 2 decades will translate into a smaller number of elderly (refer to the population pyramid again and picture the population aging upwards, or just look at the 2025/2050 projections). On the long-term level, if immigrants can remain and support families there, it could have other effects on raising their birthrate closer to replacement levels.
Stormlock wrote:I don't know what the streets are paved with, but the housing is about 1000$ a month for a tiny one person apartment. Good luck finding a job that pays that much + other expenses if you don't know the language or even culture.
...it's not that difficult. And I wish
I were only paying $1000 for my apartment. If you get accommodations an hour outside a major city and live with other people, then it becomes more affordable. On a blue-collar salary, it's not great, but it's not impossible.
Re: pissing off your boss, recall that the original post refers to people who were brought over in order to work for a particular company. It's extremely difficult (if not impossible) to get a work-visa to come to Japan if there isn't already a company offering you a job there--in other words, you can't get in and then
look for work.
Stormlock wrote:I mean, imagine Tokyo with slums. A labour shortage is a good thing compared to the alternative. More competition for employees, higher average wages, better working conditions.
The Tokyo slums just look better than your average slums here. The crime rate's ridiculously low, though, and I'll grant that. But we're not talking about some paradise where nobody is poor.
Stormlock wrote:Immigration is a great (and evil) idea if you own a large business and would like to hire some cheap workers for less than you'd pay a native resident. See the US - Mexican border. It does, however, have the downside of basically importing a lot of poor people to the country, whom will often send money out of the country to their family. Given that poor people are more prone to being involved in crime, have poorer education and health, and pay little or no taxes, is this really a good option? Sure, if a wealthy person wants to immigrate there they'd be foolish to turn him down, but why would a wealthy person want to? It'd likely be harder to do business after all.
It's not as though they're going to dwindle away to nothing. Birthrates naturally rise and fall with economies. Once enough old people kick the bucket there'll be more money in the system per person and more people can afford to have bigger families.
The first paragraph makes a lot of assumptions that I find too unsubstantiated to really bother with. However, I will say that it's not an issue of it being a "good" option, but of it being the best option available. Right now, it seems that lawmakers are more interested in going entirely with productivity improvements and mechanization, which isn't going to be enough for all sectors of the economy. For your second paragraph, I gotta refer you to the population pyramids and basic demographics again: yes, once there are fewer elderly then there will be less of a problem, but that won't occur for about 60 years, and in the meantime the working-age's production has to be boosted somehow
Well, that's it for now. KF