Historically, the Japanese have taken ideas and innovations from abroad and re-engineered these ideas and products so well, that many are superior to the original version first created in the West. They achieved this with industrial electronics, consumer products and automobiles. Now they have taken the concept of migrant workers and developed what is looking to be a superior model to the one currently deployed in the West, by incorporating overseas labor with robots, to create a Japan version of “immigration” into society.
The Cabinet of PM Shinzo Abe approved a bill on Friday that aims to make significant changes to the nation’s immigration control law to reflect the changes in the workforce and society. Japan as a graying nation with a shrinking workforce needs both robots and outside help especially in the areas of construction, transportation, retail and life sciences. Thus there will be the creation of a new residence class for foreign workers, but critically different from the West, they will only ever have visitor status – they will not be allowed to stay en mass.
Japanese Prime Minister Abe made it clear, “We are not adopting a policy on people who will settle permanently in the country, or so-called immigrants.” Japan does not practice uncontrolled mass migration and benefits to their society continue to stack up.
In May of 2018, the unemployment rate in Japan fell to 2.2 percent, while the new job-to-appliant ration was 2.5 to 1. These statistics suggest a shockingly healthy labor market, that points to great job offerings for the Japanese youth, who are not forced to compete with immigrants at any time in their careers. Japan is an ethno-state, with 99 percent of the population being Japanese.
According to geopolitical scientist, Ian Bremmer, Japan is in a fantastic position as it does not import waves of uncontrolled immigration and as a result, sees a robust and energetic labor market, and workers are enjoying a 5 year period of growth in jobs, and most importantly better working conditions.
In contrast, Europe since 2015 has imported numerous ills, but most critically the massive number of terrorist attacks in the UK, France and Germany at concerts, on bridges and even at the UK Parliament building. The truck attacks that are too numerous to count in Spain, the UK, France, Sweden and in Germany amongst others, but such occurrences, NEVER, NEVER take place in Japan.
When asked about Japan, Mr Bremmer mentioned that currently in liberal advanced industrial democracies immigration as it is today is not working and as a result imported extremism is rising in these countries. However, “Japan is still seen as a model for how a liberal democracy can work,” according to this strategist. He goes on to say that the strongest leader among liberal democracies is not in the UK, US nor Germany but in Japan.
According to the Abe government, new visas will be used only to the extent that workers are needed at a specific time or in a specific situation and can be ended if necessary. Clearly Japan has solid immigration controls and will allow foreigners into the country as and when they are needed. Mr Abe was crystal clear when he said that Japan has need for temporary workers, but has no need for “so-called immigrants.”
Mr Abe is showing leadership that the Americans, Canadians, and Germans should study. A useful and safe temporary workforce, working alongside robots to the care of an aging population is an idea that has long-term benefits for all, which addresses the problems and unwanted social baggage that migrants bring to western democracies. Possibly, like it did in autos and consumer electronics in the 1980s and 1990s, Japan could export this immigration model to the West in the near future.