E.g., 06/19/2024
E.g., 06/19/2024
Country Resource - Japan

Japan

JP
  • Population............................................................................123,719,238 (2023 est.)
  • Population growth rate ...................................................................-0.41% (2023 est.)
  • Birth rate.........................................................6.9 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)
  • Death rate..................................................11.74 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)
  • Net migration rate..................................0.74 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)
  • Ethnic groups*.....................................Japanese 97.9%, Chinese 0.6%, Korean 0.4%, other 1.1% (includes Vietnamese, Filipino, and Brazilian) (2017 est.)

* Data represent population by nationality; up to 230,000 Brazilians of Japanese origin migrated to Japan in the 1990s to work in industries; some have returned to Brazil

CIA World Factbook

JapanElderly HanselAndRegrettal Flickr

One of the most rapidly aging societies in the world, Japan is looking to immigration to address increased labor shortages—albeit slowly and largely without public debate. This country profile offers a brief overview of Japan’s migration history and examines the current immigration system, in particular policies and programs to bring in foreign workers, particularly on a temporary basis.

Recent Activity

A man walks through a community affected by river erosion in Bangladesh.

Despite the widespread impression that people inevitably migrate away from climate-vulnerable areas, many adapt to environmental changes, choose to remain in their homeland, or simply cannot leave, due to a lack of money, connections, legal avenues, or other means to do so. These “trapped populations” may be among the most affected victims of climate change, this article explains.

A nurse assists a woman in a wheelchair

Japan is hoping to bring in as many as 350,000 medium-skilled foreign workers over five years to fill labor market gaps in its rapidly aging society. Yet does this system of Specified Skilled Workers represent an effort to secure a workforce without making long-term settlement possible? And considering its linkage to a Technical Intern Training Program much criticized for abusive practices, does this change represent real reform? This article examines these and other issues.

JapanElderly HanselAndRegrettal Flickr

One of the most rapidly aging societies in the world, Japan is looking to immigration to address increased labor shortages—albeit slowly and largely without public debate. This country profile offers a brief overview of Japan’s migration history and examines the current immigration system, in particular policies and programs to bring in foreign workers, particularly on a temporary basis.

TaiChi AsianDevelopmentBank Flickr

With many countries in East Asia facing unfavorable demographic shifts in the form of aging populations, low fertility, and shrinking workforces, governments in 2016 continued to explore immigration as a potential policy solution. However, a tradition of cultural homogeneity and wariness among publics about increased immigration is leading policymakers to test the waters with very small steps.

IOM IOMandJapanhelpSyrians Flickr

Japan is one of the world's most generous contributors to humanitarian appeals, yet accepts a very small number of asylum seekers—indeed only 11 were granted refugee status in 2014. Even as Japan has witnessed a record number of asylum applications, the approval rate has declined. This feature explores Japan's low acceptance of asylum seekers, including institutional barriers and negative public perceptions.

Many countries relied on low-skilled immigrant workers during good times. But Japan, Spain, and the Czech Republic have recently introduced "pay-to-go" programs to reduce the number of unemployed immigrants. MPI's Kristen McCabe, Serena Yi-Ying Lin, and Hiroyuki Tanaka, and Piotr Plewa of the European University Institute examine these programs and the larger policy questions they raise.

ja map

Social and economic factors are pushing Japan toward a more open immigration policy, while other concerns are prompting the country to adopt stricter immigration controls. Chikako Kashiwazaki of Keio University and Tsuneo Akaha of the Monterey Institute of International Studies provide an overview of Japan’s migration issues.

Tsuneo Akaha of the Monterey Institute of International Studies looks at emerging migration patterns in North Korea, China, Russia, and Japan.

Maruja M.B. Asis, of the Philippines Scalabrini Migration Center, maps out the obstacles and opportunities facing the swelling ranks of women migrant workers in Asia.

Despite Japan's decade-long economic downturn, recent patterns of immigration suggest that some sectors still have a persistent demand for foreign workers. Chikako Kashiwazaki, Associate Professor at Keio University, explains why.

Cover image for Mobility Shutdown
Reports
March 2024

Some of the strictest COVID-19 pandemic-era limits on human mobility occurred in the Asia Pacific region. Border closures started in East and Southeast Asia in early 2020 and quickly spread through the entire region, in some cases remaining in place for more than two years. This report examines the approaches countries took and reflects on the immense costs and benefits of using border measures to tackle public-health risks.

Cover image for Refugee Resettlement and Complementary Pathways: Opportunities for Growth
Reports
September 2021

The number of people who have been forcibly displaced has grown to unprecedented levels. While the global refugee protection regime has come under incredible strain as a result, states have also shown creativity in the design of resettlement programs and complementary pathways. This report takes stock of these programs worldwide, identifies opportunities to scale them up, and assesses barriers that have hindered growth.

cover TCM_Hugo_Paper
Reports
October 2008

This report looks at the trends and emerging demographics in Asia. From 1960 to 2000, the region experienced a major population boom, however, by 2040, the 15-to-34 age group population will start to shrink.