Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Categories: Episodes
Japan Population Crash - Sakanaka Hidenori
The population of Japan is officially shrinking. In 2005 -- the latest year for which data is available -- deaths outnumbered births by 10,000 people. At that rate, Japan's population will drop by more than 15 per cent over the next 40 years. On top of that, Japan's population is an aging one ... facing fears of labour shortages and economic stagnation in the world's third-largest economy.
Other countries have responded to declining population pressures by increasing immigration. But Japan is an unusually homogenous nation. And the idea of multi-culturalism ruffles a lot of feathers.
Sakanaka Hidenori spent 35 years urging his country to bring in more immigrants. He is the former Director of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau. And in 2005 he wrote, Immigration Battle Diary, a book that details his own experiences and lays out a manifesto for the future of Japanese immigration policy. Sakanaka Hidenori is now the Executive Director of the Japan Immigration Policy Institute. He joined us from Tokyo this morning, as part of our project, Shift. Our producer, Chris Wodskou provided the translation.
Japan Population Crash - Ito Peng
Arudou Debito was born in the United States. He's a naturalized citizen of Japan. He married a Japanese woman, and they had two daughters. But he's not very optimistic when it comes to increasing immigration to Japan. We aired his story to illustrate why.
For more on how Japan has reached this demographic reckoning... And what the rest of the world should take from it, we were joined by Ito Peng. She's the Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary and International Affairs at the University of Toronto.