Immigration Politics in Japan

Help (Not) Wanted: Immigration Politics in Japan is a new book by Michael Strausz, published by SUNY Press. The book is reviewed for JCA by Paul Capobianco of Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.

As its population declines, immigration to Japan has begun to attract more attention.  The reviewer notes taht this book examines how “political elites” have conceptualised “the nation’s relationship to foreign workers and how an ‘influential strain of elite discourse’  is in large part responsible for shaping Japan’s migration policy.”

The book, Capobianco says, “explains that foreigners are accepted into Japan as ‘labourers’ rather than true ‘immigrants,’ and as a result, they do not have the same rights as ‘immigrants’ or would-be citizens.”

While praising the book, the reviewer says the book lacks and sufficient attention to socio-cultural perspectives and he would have liked to have heard more from migrants and politicians. Capobianco concludes by noting that the book is written “in a very clear style that is accessible to non-specialists, yet also informative to specialists and Japan scholars.” He adds that the “accessibility of this book also makes it fantastic for use in an undergraduate course in Japanese society or politics.”

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