Why Divide Migrants by Their Types?: Contacts and Perceptions of Migrants in Japan

  • VOL. 21 NO. 1
  • pp. pp.1-25

Yujin Woo

  • Keywords

    public perception, Japan, migrant types, survey analysis, contact theory, Abenomics

  • Abstract

    This article compares the public perceptions of various types of migrants in Japan and examines whether Japanese view them equally. Using an original survey, which presented six types of migrants that Japanese people most commonly face in their daily lives, I show several interesting results. First, respondents express the most negative views toward labor migrants. Second, respondents who have migrant friends tend to have more positive feelings for all types of migrants. In contrast, simple coexistence with migrants fails to enhance public sentiment toward labor migrants, particularly those whose stay is temporary. Overall, my statistical results suggest that Japanese people are not pessimistic about every kind of migrant, and their openness increases as migrants acculturate into Japanese society and interact with Japanese people. These findings provide evidence to influence policy discussions on whether Japan should recruit labor migrants in its current form in order to fight its aging population.

  • Author(s) Bio

    Yujin Woo (yujinwoo0613@gmail.com) is postdoctoral researcher of political science at Waseda University, supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and was previously research scholar at Stanford University. She earned a PhD in political science from the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on migration policymaking and public sentiment toward migrants.