Japanese Immigration: A Brief Review & Current Issues

David Green is an associate professor of political science at Meijo University in Nagoya, Japan. He has previously held positions at Nagoya University Northeastern University in the United States. His research focuses on immigration and integration issues in Japan, including public opinion toward immigration, local and national policy divides on immigrant integration, and education policy addressing foreign residents.  

This presentation will provide an outline of the development of modern Japanese immigration policy, discuss current immigration-related issues Japan is grappling with, and look to draw comparisons to immigration policy and issues in Denmark.


Long an isolated, ethnically homogenous country, Japan has enjoyed considerable economic and social prosperity. However, economic stagnation coupled with having one of the world’s most rapidly-aging populations have been major causes for concern in recent years. With these issues in mind, immigration has grown precipitously in Japan since the early 1990s across various government schemes, although the foreign population remains at only 2% of the total population and refugee admissions are extremely low.