Latin Americans of the Japanese Origin (Nikkeijin) Working in Japan ---A survey


Since the revision of the Japanese immigration law in 1990, there has been a dramatic influx of the Latin American, mostly Brazilian, of Japanese origin (Nikkeijin) working in Japan because these people are now allowed to do whatever activities in Japan, including an unskilled work. In spite of their importance, their detailed characteristics and the prospect for future migration and remittances are not well known. In view of this, the major purpose of the present paper is to examine policy, migration and remittance issues pertaining to Nikkeijin working in Japan. Although the main focus of the paper is placed on Nikkeijin Workers in Japan, I will include some discussions of migrant workers in general and the discussion of the history of Japanese emigration to Latin America (mostly Brazil), in order to better understand Nikkeiji workers in Japan .

Nikkeijin workers in early years (i.e., in early 1990s) were mostly temporary guest workers, who intended to return home in a few years with a big money earned in Japan. However, as time goes by, they have become settlers in Japan with their family. Since Nikkeijin are clustered in certain cities, (e.g., Hamamatsu, Toyota, Toyoshashi, Oizumi etc.), the social and economic impacts of Nikkeijin workers on these cities are enormous. Therefore, governments, as well as NGOs, are making various efforts to create harmonious living of Nikkeijin workers in Japanese communities. While current amount of remittances by Nikkeijin is huge, its future prospect might not rosy, because the amount of remittances tends to decline as the degree of settling of these workers in the host country increases.

Junichi GOTO
Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration
Kobe University
Rokkodai-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe
657-8501 Japan
Phone: (81) 78 803 7036
Fax: (81) 78 803 7059