Can They Call Japan Home? Japanese Nationalism and Unskilled Labour Immigrants


  • Yusuke Yasuda University of Sussex



Immigration, Unskilled labour migrants, Homogeneity, Japan, Nationalism


Japan is currently facing a demographic crisis with a labour population that remains exclusive against immigrants. Japanese national identity, based on homogeneity of race and culture, has informed immigration policy. While the Technical Intern Trainees Program (TITP) provides an immigrant labour supply in the primary sector of industry, it has been criticized as a human trafficking system under the guise of international development. In 2019, the government introduced a new visa status called Specified Skilled Workers (SSW), allowing the possibility of legitimised settlement in Japan for immigrant workers and their families. This historical shift enables those in the TITP to extend their working period with a legal transition to SSW. Nevertheless, there are concerns that SSW may share similar problems with TITP. Consequently, although SSW represents a major shift in immigration policy, it does not necessarily represent a change in the government’s fundamental stance and attitude towards unskilled labour immigrants. This paper therefore aims to further examine current attitudes in immigration policy to determine whether unskilled labour immigrants can call Japan home.