Message posted on 03/05/2024

[ONLINE lecture] May 8 (10am, CET)/ 17:00 JST “From Side Doors to Skill-Level Shifts: Japanese Labor Migration Policy and Its Impact on Ethnic Diversity” by Prof. Chikako Kashiwazaki (Keio University)

Dear members,

We are organizing our first lecture as a part of Research Forum
=E2=80=9CDiversifying Immigrant Societies in (East) Asia=E2=80=9D by the In=
stitute of East
Asian Studies (IN-EAST) in the University of Duisburg-Essen. This forum is
co-organized with collaborative research project QuaMaFA (Qualification and
Skill in the Migration =C2=ADProcess of Foreign Workers in Asia) funded by =
Federal Ministry of Education and Research Germany (BMBF). Prof.
Kashiwazaki will give a talk entitled =E2=80=9C*From side doors to skill-le=
shifts: Japanese labor migration policy and its impact on ethnic diversity*=
on *8th May 2024, 10 (am/CET)* / 17:00 (JST) ONLINE.

You can join this lecture via Zoom (registration):

Look forward to seeing you all online!


The 2018 revision to Japanese immigration control law introduced new
residential statuses, =E2=80=9CSpecified Skilled Worker=E2=80=9D Types 1 an=
d 2, and was
widely reported as a significant policy change. The scheme certainly seemed
novel in that it would apparently open the =E2=80=9Cfront door=E2=80=9D for=
foreign labor,
with a prospect for long-term settlement. However, was it really a major
departure from the previous Japanese policy toward labor migration? What
implications does this new opening have for the acceptance of ethnic
diversity in Japan?

To tackle these questions, I revisit the late 1980s to early 1990s when the
question of accepting foreign workers was a subject of heated debate in
Japan. There were two major events: the revision to the Immigration Control
and Refugee Recognition Act, which went into effect in 1990, and the
launching of the Technical Intern Training Program in 1993.

My contention is that the 2018 legal change was similar to, and an
outgrowth of, the pattern observed three decades earlier. Between 1990 and
1993, =E2=80=9Cside doors=E2=80=9D were enlarged as alternatives to the =E2=
=80=9Cfront door.=E2=80=9D
Likewise, in the 2018 law, skill categories were redefined to incorporate a
broader set of occupations into what was acceptable as =E2=80=9Cskilled wor=
kers.=E2=80=9D I
will also discuss potential negative impact of the drive to increase
migrant workers on efforts to develop an ethnically inclusive society.


Chikako KASHIWAZAKI is Professor at the Faculty of Economics, Keio
University. She earned a Doctorate in Sociology from Brown University. Her
research interests include ethnicity, citizenship, nationalism, and
immigration policies. She has published articles and book chapters on the
discursive aspects of Japanese immigration policies, social integration
policies and programs at the local government level, and citizenship and
identity issues concerning zainichi Koreans. She has also collaborated with
local governments in conducting surveys and reviewing policy plans
concerning foreign residents.

Dr. Aimi Muranaka (=E6=9D=91=E4=B8=AD =E3=81=82=E3=81=84=E3=81=BF=EF=BC=89
Post-doc/ Research Associate
Institute of East Asian Studies, University of Duisburg-Essen
Tel (Germany): +49 203 379-2166
Research project website:
*Latest publications:*
Muranaka, Aimi (2024): "Being a Foreigner During the COVID-19 Pandemic:
Researcher Positionality in Online Interviews". *Forum Qualitative
Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research*, *25*(1).
Muranaka, Aimi (2023): "'Framing' and 'Packaging' of Foreign Skilled
Workers: Diversity of the Intermediary Actors in the Cross-Border Labour
Market Between Japan and Vietnam". *Globalizations*. DOI:
Tran, Huy An and Aimi Muranaka (2022): "Editorial - Transnational Flows of
Contemporary Asia: Trends and Futures". *The German Journal on Contemporary
Asia*. 162/163: 7-14.
Muranaka, Aimi (2022): "Brokerage in the cross-border labour market:
Recruitment and training of Vietnamese IT workers by Japanese temporary
staffing firms". *Asian Studies Review. *46(4): 578-596. DOI:
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