Japan Struggles With Immigration

The current economic crisis is creating new problems with Japan since their aging population has required allowing thousands of immigrants to enter and take jobs not sought by native Japanese. However, massive layoffs are mainly impacting these foreign workers and already thousands are heading back home. Their children have limited opportunity to secure a university education and they are not covered by medical insurance. Susumu Ishihara, president of the Japan Immigration Agency, points out that once the economic crisis ends, Japan once again will be required to rely on the work of immigrants in many sectors of society. In 2007, Japan was home to 2.15 million foreigners which represents nearly twice as many as were in the country in 1990.

At some point, the Japanese population has to recognize they need immigrants to deal with so many work needs that native born people do not wish to do. There is need to assure immigrants their children will have access to education including intensive language training, that their families will be covered by medical insurance and they will not be compelled to leave the country everytime there is an economic downturn. As the Japanese population ages, a younger immigrant population will have to emerge.