Japan has been dealing with an influx of foreigners in the past few years, with overseas residents here reaching 2.38 million in 2016. But how has it been coping with that, and how do foreigners fit into broader government policies for a multicultural Japan?
That was the issue debated by the four panelists at FEW’s October monthly meeting. First, Yusuke Sasaki, a project director at the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR), gave us an overview of the situation and government initiatives to help foreigners, and then Chris Burgess, a professor at Tsuda College, Tokyo, talked about his research into migration issues in Japan, plus his thoughts on the future.
Then, Louise George Kittaka, a newspaper columnist, university lecturer and cross-cultural trainer, gave us some insight into how multiculturalism has touched people’s lives in Japan, and Anjeli Narandran, an international coordinator at Peace Boat, outlined her organisation’s mission in creating a space to allow multiculturalism to flourish.
It quickly became clear that a lot is being done on a grassroots level, for example with CLAIR providing assistance to local governments, and PeaceBoat providing positive experiences to its participants, but that Japan is lacking a clear and concerted immigration policy on a national level.
One of the issues discussed was ‘labeling’, whether it is people of mixed Japanese parentage being referred to as ‘hafu’, or the honorific ‘-san’ not being used for foreigners in business meetings, even though it was used for the Japanese attendees. The panelists discussed how to change that mindset.
The importance of education also came up, especially in creating a safe space for people to consider different ideas in a culture where people aren’t really encouraged to speak up.
Judging by the range of the questions from audience, it’s clearly an issue that affects all our lives in Japan. One important point that everyone took away from the discussion is that education on understanding of the issues is a two-way thing, and that hopefully the distinction between foreigners and Japanese will become less acute over time.
Find out more information about our panelists and their organizations’ work below:
Chris Burgess’s research and writings on Japan: http://abritishprofinjapan.blogspot.jp/p/blog-page.html
Peace Boat: http://peaceboat.org/english/
November Strategic Partner News
Check out the latest member offers and opportunities from our Strategic Partners here! Our Strategic Partners are committed to bringing the best services and products to FEW members. And go to our Strategic Partners page to learn more about all of FEW’s Strategic Partners, who not only support FEW’s activities but also provide professional and personal services […]Published on 31st October 2017
November Community Services Feature with Charles McJilton of Second Harvest
By Tia Haygood, Community Services Director With Winter and the holiday season around the corner, many of us are mapping out our plans for the upcoming thanksgiving dinners, bonenkai, Christmas celebrations, and the like. As we make merry in our end-of-year celebrations, we should still be mindful that in Japan there are 20 million people […]Published on 31st October 2017
How I Got Here: Aya McCrindle
In my life, I’ve experience five personal ‘tsunamis’ that threatened to leave me broken, but instead gave me strength and led to the creation of the Find Your Element Workshop, a 12 week creative evening program that takes participants on a step by step journey of self-awareness and exploration. I was 24 when the first […]Published on 30th October 2017
Strategic Partner Spotlight: Sarah Furuya Coaching- Celebrating 5 Years in Business
As I write this, it is 5 years to the day since I quit my job, hopped on a plane to NYC and went to a three-day event called ‘Rich, Happy and Hot Live’ with 500 entrepreneurs and the world’s finest soulful online entrepreneurs. It was a brilliant way to enter my entrepreneurial life and […]Published on 29th October 2017
Special Event Recap: Make the Connection: Practical Networking Strategies that Work for You
What is networking? How do you prepare for a ‘networking’ event – your approach, look, conversation points, questions? How do you overcome shyness to approach others? Or how do you elegantly end a conversation? What is way the best to follow up and maintain new relationships? Helen Iwata, CEO of Sasuga Communications K.K., answered these questions […]Published on 26th October 2017
Women's Start Up Club: Marketing with a Purpose
Strategy and Implementation Consultant Zsuzsanna Jarfas of Japan Creative Enterprises will demonstrate the basic tools of marketing with purpose and how WSC participants can apply these tactics to their own businesses.
November Midweek Lunch Mixer at Le Pain Quotidien Roppongi
Take a break from work and join us for delicious food and great networking at our monthly midweek lunch gathering. The mixer will again be at Le Pain Quotidien at Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi!
Tokyo Run for the Cure
Join FEW at the Run for the Cure/ Walk for Life Marathon around the Imperial Palace on December 2nd! More details coming soon.
FULLY BOOKED! Radical Boundaries: How to Say No to Make Way for YES
Join us for an exclusive workshop with Sarah Furuya on developing techniques to say 'no' in order to devote your time and attention to the things and people you truly love.