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International Labor Mobility in Contemporary Japan

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Title: International Labor Mobility in Contemporary Japan
Author(s): Tsokkinen, Riku
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Degree program: Master's Programme in Global Politics and Communication
Specialisation: Global and Political Economy
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2019
This study employs an exploratory look into the immigration policy in the contemporary Japan, in the light of an ongoing demographic transition. As the native Japanese population ages, the government officials have turned their attention towards foreign labor to fill the labor deficits in several working sectors. The scrutiny in the study focuses on examining the immigration policy environment and the government operations in increasing the international labor mobility in Japan. The exploratory approach in the study reflects the aspirations of the study to act as a groundwork for further research of the topic by creating hypotheses of the matters examined. Through the use of an analytical framework and a rational logic model based on policy analysis, the study analyzes the Japanese governments immigration policy plan from 2015 and the implemented policies until second quarter of 2019. The examined material is comprised of official publications from the Japanese Ministry of Justice. The results of the study show a set of distinguishable tendencies of the immigration policy in the second decade of the 21st century; a clear preference for highly skilled foreign labor over less skilled one, reluctance of major reforms in opening the labor market for foreign labor, lack of centralized support for multicultural coexistence, preferential treatment for Japanese descendants, and the election of time-limited measures to tackle labor deficits. The study concludes, that even after the realization of the demographic change and the labor deficits by the Japanese officials, the opening of the labor market for the foreign labor remains constricted. Of the immigration policies, the trainee programs show major potential in attracting the low and medium skilled labor, the type of labor most required, and the further revision of the program could promote it to be a cornerstone for increasing the international labor mobility in Japan.
Keyword(s): Japan Labor Mobility Immigration Policy Demographic Change

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