Even with the relative success of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s aggressive economic policies — if somewhat aptly dubbed “Abenomics” — many believe that Japan’s current immigration polices could be a roadblock to its continued economic recovery. As such Abe, along with Japan’s immigration bureau, is currently reviewing regulations in accepting migrant workers to push for long-term economic growth of the country.
Japan has had long-time restrictions with foreign workers coming to the country. But as its population continues to shrink and age, it may be forced to ease up on its own immigration policies just to keep the economy afloat and continue on the momentum of Abe’s financial strategies. Former Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau Director Hidenori Sakanaka said, “If the working population keeps shrinking, it will keep pushing down consumption and the country will be unable to maintain economic growth. In short, this means the growth strategies of ‘Abenomics’ can’t be successful without accepting immigrants.” With a shrinking population usually comes a decreased gross domestic product, and that in itself is one of Japan’s fears — that the world’s third-biggest economy will be relegated to a minor player in the world market, thus reducing its political power as well. In relation to this, the government has set up an advisory panel that is preparing for the deregulation of current immigration policies. One of the proposals was to ease up visa requirements so more foreign professionals can come in and foreigners who are applying to offer household help services can work in the country. In the said proposal, visas of foreign workers may be extended from three to five years, this according to Abe who has until now declined giving free rein to immigrants in his very conservative views on keeping Japanese society homogenous and exclusive.
Abe maintains that the proposals are not intended to be measures for immigration as he still wishes the workers to go home to their country after working the contract period. As long as Abe and other nationalistic legislators maintain a tight hold on foreign workers entering the country, the nation will continue to suffer the effects of its ageing population and Abenomics will essentially be a failure.
[via The Japan Times]
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