Historic: the number of foreign workers in Japan will exceed the bar of one million this year, the government has calculated. Since 2009 this population has grown by 49%. Exponential growth, visible above all in Tokyo, where 30% of the foreign labour is concentrated: you only have to open the doors of a konbini, one of the local grocers that dot the country, to typically find Chinese people in front of the tills. Is this a sign of a new tolerance towards immigration in Japan? Not yet. In all respects, the archipelago remains extraordinarily strict and circumspect on the question. The prime minister never misses a chance to recall that the third-largest economy in the world does not have an immigration policy, to the great satisfaction of public opinion and Japanese trade unions, who have never been lulled to sleep by the "Internationale" when foreign workers were discussed. Even if the number of foreigners is increasing, it's at the same level as in 2008, before the terrible Lehman shock and the Fukushima catastrophe, which caused many people to return to their countries.
The criteria for obtaining professional visas remain very strict.
"The problem of accepting foreigners is that there is a risk they will acquire Japanese nationality. We don't want to find ourselves in the situation fo France," bluntly declares Akira Morita, director general of the National Population Institute IPSS.Source