The 2nd Meeting of the Policy Council on "Prospects and Challenges for the Acceptance of Foreigners to Japan" Held

The 2nd meeting of the JFIR Policy Council on "Prospects and Challenges for the Acceptance of Foreigners to Japan" was held on 27 October 2009. 25 members of Policy Council and 3 Task Force members headed by Prof. IGUCHI Yasushi attended the meeting. Mr. TSURUNEN Marutei, member of the House of Councilors, presented his views as follows.

It is important to introduce a view that foreigners in Japan are by themselves a necessary component of the Japanese society. If foreigners in Japan and the Japanese would come to co-exist in harmony, though not an easy task as it is, the Japanese and the Japanese society should perhaps become more opened to the outside world. When it comes to systematizing acceptance of foreigners to Japan, we should come up with a migration model which is in the interests of both the sending and recipient countries as well as migrants themselves, instead of adopting the “rotation system” which denies unskilled foreign laborers freedom of movement. Although the current basic principle of the Japanese Government on the acceptance of foreign laborers is to "be cautious about letting in unskilled laborers,” it should consider another approach of “letting in unskilled laborers also, and having them acquire professional qualifications in Japan.” While it is basically important to abolish discriminations against foreigners in Japan and to grant them the same legal standings as the Japanese, it is necessary to establish a new law on employment and work of foreigners. Besides, employment of foreigners should be so conditioned that they are qualified for social and employment insurances. As for expansion of the political rights of foreigners in Japan, it is important to let them make their own choices whether or not to be naturalized in order to obtain suffrage. Although some people assert that, as the number of foreigners increases, the crime rate should accordingly rise, the actual number of crimes committed by foreigners is on the decline, and even roughly matches those committed by the Japanese.

In response to the above presentation of Mr. TSURUNEN, members of the Policy Council exchanged their views actively.


The Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR)