Asia

Foreigners Are Still Being Discriminated Against in Japan

Foreigners living in Japan are still experiencing a significant degree of discrimination, a recent survey has found.

According to research conducted by the Centre for Human Rights Education and Training, 25% of foreign residents who sought employment in Japan were rejected, while 40% of home-buyers got their applications turned down.

Incidentally, the number of foreigners seeking jobs and residence in Japan have increased significantly in recent years as the country gears up to hosting the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Unfortunately, Japanese society, being majorly homogeneous, continues to see immigration in an unwelcoming light.

Despite Japan being in desperate need of an influx of immigrants due to its aging population, the foreign population in the country remains less than 2%, Reuters reports. 

According to the survey, Japanese language skills are not even a problem. In fact, about 95% of foreigners whose job applications were rejected and over 90% of those whose housing applications were denied are able to speak Japanese “conversationally, professionally or fluently.”

“The landlord said I couldn’t live in the flat because of my nationality,” a Korean respondent was quoted in the survey as saying. “I was born and raised in Japan and Japanese is the only language I know. There is still so much bias and discrimination in Japan.”

The Japanese Justice Ministry stated that the research was conducted to better determine what type of discrimination and human rights problems foreigners in Japan face. After identifying the issues, the departments says they will work to find means to protect their rights.

The survey, which was carried out in November and December last year, took data from 4,252 respondents. The majority of the participants were identified as Chinese and Korean, and over 40% of them had lived in Japan for over a decade.

Out of the 2,788 respondents who had looked for work in the past five years, 20% reported consistently receiving lower pay than local Japanese people for the same job.

Over 17% expressed that they couldn’t get promoted just because they were foreigners, while 13% confided that their working conditions were worse than those for Japanese co-workers. They also complained of longer hours and fewer days off.

In another study, it was revealed that employment violations affecting foreign workers in Japan have increased from 2015.

A whopping 30% of the participants claimed that they were insulted or discriminated against occasionally or frequently.

“One time, when I tried to enter a small shop in Harajuku, the staff told me it’s for Japanese only,” a Brazilian woman said.

“Japan is my home and I love Japan, but discrimination against foreigners is deeply rooted. I wish for a society that recognizes diversity,” an elderly Korean living in Japan lamented.  


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