First Recommended Books in Australia Study Trip
The Marginal State: Japan's Final Choice under Declining Population" by Toshihiro Menju

Have you ever heard of the term "marginalized communities"? By 2050, more than 60 percent of the country's villages will have less than half the population of 2010. Mr. Menju described this situation as "the entire Japanese archipelago is in danger of becoming a marginalized nation. He argues that the final choice should be "acceptance of immigrants" and makes the following arguments.

  1. There are concerns about the rising number of crimes committed by foreigners, the rising cost of social security, and the decline in employment of Japanese people, as well as the possibility of using the Japanese labor force, reducing the size of the nation, and increasing productivity. However, the number of crimes committed by foreigners is not increasing, and accepting foreign residents has a positive effect on the pension system. In addition, the Japanese labor force alone cannot compensate for the decline in population, and the only way to keep all industries in Japan from diminishing, protect the culture of the country, and guarantee the quality of life is to accept foreign residents.
  2. In response to the question of whether the system is not ready to accept foreigners, the local government is ready to accept them, and the fact that foreign residents have a high opinion of the Japanese people and life in Japan, as well as the fact that there are not so many religious problems as there are in Europe, shows that Japan has been successful in accepting foreigner, he stated.

These two points, namely, the clear statement of the necessity of settled foreigners and the idea that Japan is succeeding in accepting foreigners, were both shocking to those of us who study population issues. Therefore, we have been researching the actual situation of acceptance of foreigners at the local government level, with an emphasis on rural areas where the population has been declining significantly, in order to find out how desirable it is for both Japanese and foreigners to accept foreigners. Of course, settled foreigners are one of the major options, but we would like to think about what we can and should do as young people in the future as we have a responsibility to do in Japanese society. If you are interested in this theme, please contact KIP.

(Kyoka Ishizuki, Faculty of Law, Keio University)