Interesting Sandy.While not clearly encouraging immigration, Abe has made a number of changes that have encouraged foreigners to come to Japan, and stay here for a while. There's more facilities in for gaijin all the time, such as increasing numbers of hospitals and clinics catering for English speakers:
Abe has changed the qualification for the Japanese pension from 25 years to 10 years. Everyone doing normal work in Japan (except intra company transferees) has to contribute to the Japanese pension. But with the long qualifying period, gaijin couldn't get their contributed pension money, except for a special clause allowing gaijin leaving Japan, to get a lump sum of 3 years pension, relinquishing any claim to the rest. So for example, if you lived 8 years in Japan, you would lose 5 years of contributed money, so there was no great incentive to stay longer than 3 years. With the changes, staying 10 years is more attractive.
But what's this got to do with population? Staying in Japan for 10 years increases the chances of gaijin marrying Japanese women, and it's more common for gaijin to have children here, than Japanese men. The number of foreign marriages peaked in 2005 at around 40,000/year, when changes were made to immigration laws. This was to combat visa irregularities by women from poorer Asian countries. This had an effect on marriages between Japanese men and these women. Current foreign marriages stand at around 20,000/year, which is around 9% of the total number of foreign residents in any one year.
Interesting stats, 2013:
- Nationality of foreign women married to Japanese men: Chinese 40.4%, Philippine 20.1%, Korean 17.7%, Thai 6.3%, Brazillian about 1%, American about 1%, other 14%
- Nationality of foreign men married to Japanese women: Korean 27.9%, American about 19.1%, Chinese 11.8%, Brazillian 4.7%, British 4%, other 33%. (many of the "other" are men from western Europe, Australia)
** There's a large existing population of Chinese and Korean people, born in Japan, but not citizens. There's a number of ethnic Japanese in Brazil, who were at one stage enticed to "return" to Japan.
If you exclude these, then you get:
- Nationality of foreign women married to Japanese men: Philippine 20.1%, Thai 6.3%, American about 1%
- Nationality of foreign men married to Japanese women: American about 19.1%, British 4%
With recent changes, there are likely to be an increase in foreign residents in Japan, and marriages between gaijin men and Japanese women....
Another thing Abe can do, is to change the work culture in Japan, that sees workers leaving work at 8-9-10-11pm, with little chance to meet women!!!!
Re the last para - Haven't they been talking about that for years now? Has anything changed in the work culture?