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New Policies for New Residents

Immigrants, Advocacy, and Governance in Japan and Beyond

by Deborah J. Milly

Publication Year: 2014

In recent decades, many countries have experienced both a rapid increase of in-migration of foreign nationals and a large-scale devolution of governance to the local level. The result has been new government policies to promote the social inclusion of recently arrived residents. In New Policies for New Residents, Deborah J. Milly focuses on the intersection of these trends in Japan. Despite the country's history of restrictive immigration policies, some Japanese favor a more accepting approach to immigrants. Policies supportive of foreign residents could help attract immigrants as the country adjusts to labor market conditions and a looming demographic crisis. As well, local citizen engagement is producing more inclusive approaches to community.

Milly compares the policy discussions and outcomes in Japan with those in South Korea and in two similarly challenged Mediterranean nations, Italy and Spain. All four are recent countries of immigration, and all undertook major policy innovations for immigrants by the 2000s. In Japan and Spain, local NGO-local government collaboration has influenced national policy through the advocacy of local governments. South Korea and Italy included NGO advocates as policy actors and partners at the national level far earlier as they responded to new immigration, producing policy changes that fueled local networks of governance and advocacy. In all these cases, Milly finds, nongovernmental advocacy groups have the power to shape local governance and affect national policy, though in different way.

Published by: Cornell University Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

Figures and Tables

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pp. ix-x


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pp. xi-xiv

Conventions and Abbreviations

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pp. xv-xviii

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Introduction: Advocacy and Governance for Immigrants

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pp. 1-20

About a two-hour train ride from Asakusa station in Tokyo lie the communities of Ōta and Ōizumi. En route from Tokyo, the train passes expansive rice fields and clusters of small factories. Route 354, a main road that forms the boundary between Ōta and Ōizumi, is also the center of Brazil-town, an area of shops and businesses that cater to the local Brazilian community. In 2013, about 3.3% of Ōta’s population of slightly more than 220,000 were registered foreigners...

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1. Trajectories of the Advocacy-Governance Linkage

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pp. 21-43

As a beneficiary of a program to encourage local economic competitiveness through administrative deregulation, the Japanese city of Ōta was designated a special district for developing international education at the primary and junior high school levels. It is a member of the Conference of Cities with Large Foreign Populations, an organization whose members came together to share information and lobby the national government for changes. With its initiatives for...

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2. National Policy Change Compared

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pp. 44-59

Policy advocacy exerted under different forms of governance provides a comparative perspective for interpreting national policy change in Japan. Although nongovernmental advocates have been influential in Italy, Korea, and Spain, the timing of their incorporation in national discussion, the source of advocacy that was effective in bringing about reforms, and the process through which their voices were incorporated into elite processes have varied....

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3. Changing Japan’s Policies—Slowly

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pp. 60-81

Ōta and Ōizumi reflect some if not all of the growing pressures for reform in Japan’s immigrant policies. They also have participated in a process of advocacy-promoting governance in which local communities and nongovernmental advocacy groups have developed their own programs and networks that expand outward and upward to the national level. To the extent that national policy reforms to support immigrants and foreign residents occurred in the 1990s, they...

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4. Local Governance and National Policy Advocacy in Japan

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pp. 82-109

During 2005 and 2006, surveyors for the city of Ōta visited the homes of foreign residents to determine how many foreign children in Ōta were not attending school and why. Ōta’s officials originally thought that 24% of foreign children were not in school, but they discovered that the reality was less than 1%; they blamed insufficient record keeping by the alien registration system...

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5. Japan’s Webs of Nongovernmental Advocacy and Governance

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pp. 110-130

In 1999, activist Watanabe Hidetoshi appeared as an expert witness before the Legal Affairs Committee of the Japanese House of Representatives after being recommended by both the Japan Communist Party and the Kōmeitō, a coalition partner of the LDP. Invited to testify in connection with planned revision of the immigration law, Watanabe later reflected that “this would have been unheard...

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6. Landscapes of Multilevel Governance

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pp. 131-166

Just as the preceding two chapters addressed the role of local governments and civil society groups in Japan in working toward immigrants’ social inclusion, this chapter examines similar dynamics in Italy, Korea, and Spain in a more limited manner. Focusing mainly on the policy areas of housing, health, and education, I explore the role of subnational governments and their collaboration with nonprofit...

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7. Shocks to the System

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pp. 167-191

By late 2008 a financial crisis was spreading throughout the world and triggering declines in production, high unemployment, and fiscal crises. This economic turmoil presents an opportunity to assess the contribution of multilevel governance to the stable inclusion of foreign residents in the four societies discussed here. Economic crises can reverse local demand for foreign labor, incur costs on...

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Conclusion: Advocacy toward Inclusion?

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pp. 192-204

This book has been a narrative of pathways to change—in policies to include noncitizens and in processes of citizen inclusion in multilevel governance. Processes of crafting governance, advocacy, membership, and policies have all been part of the mix. As citizens claim a greater role for themselves in decision making in multilevel governance, they also contribute to defining the membership of...


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pp. 205-238


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pp. 239-254


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pp. 255-260

E-ISBN-13: 9780801470790
E-ISBN-10: 080147079X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801452222
Print-ISBN-10: 0801452228

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2014

Edition: 1

OCLC Number: 870273150
MUSE Marc Record: Download for New Policies for New Residents

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Immigrants -- Government policy -- Japan.
  • Japan -- Emigration and immigration.
  • Decentralization in government -- Japan.
  • Immigrants -- Government policy -- Cross-cultural studies.
  • Emigration and immigration -- Government policy -- Cross-cultural studies.
  • Decentralization in government -- Cross-cultural studies.
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