Help (Not) Wanted: Immigration Politics in Japan

Colloquium | September 20 | 4-6 p.m. | 180 Doe Library

 Michael Strausz, Texas Christian University

 Steven Vogel, UC Berkeley

 Center for Japanese Studies (CJS)

Why has Japan’s immigration policy remained so restrictive, especially in light of economic, demographic, and international political forces that are pushing Japan to admit more immigrants? In this presentation, Strausz will argue that Japan’s immigration policy has remained restrictive for two reasons. First, Japan’s labor-intensive businesses have failed to defeat anti-immigration forces within the Japanese state, particularly those in the Ministry of Justice and the Japanese Diet. Second, no influential strain of elite thought in postwar Japan exists to support the idea that significant numbers of foreign nationals have a legitimate claim to residency and citizenship.

In addition to an overview of postwar Japan’s immigration control policy, this presentation will also use the book’s framework to provide context to recent developments in Japanese immigration policy – particularly the December 2018 decision to admit more than 300,000 low skilled foreign laborers.

Author bio: Michael Strausz is an associate professor of political science and the director of Asian Studies at Texas Christian University. He earned his PhD in political science from the University of Washington in 2007, and he has published a variety of journal articles and book chapters on topics relating to human rights, Japan’s immigration policy, and Japanese whaling policy. His book, Help (Not) Wanted: Immigration Politics in Japan is forthcoming with SUNY Press. His research has been funded by grants from the Fulbright Foundation and the Japan Foundation, and he is a member of Cohort III of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation U.S.-Japan Network for the Future., 510-642-3415