Panel on Japan’s Latest Immigration Issues

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SAN FRANCISCO — In collaboration with the Center for Global Studies at the University of Shizuoka, the Japanese American National Library is pleased to present a panel of four speakers about Japan’s latest immigration issues on Saturday, Jan. 23, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Hospitality Room of Union Bank, Post and Buchanan streets in San Francisco Japantown (enter Japan Center’s East Mall from Peace Plaza).

The title is “Beyond Local Citizenship: Immigrant Community and Immigrant Incorporation in Japan.”

Keiko Yamanaka

Keiko Yamanaka

The 2008 economic crisis of Japan significantly altered the landscape of immigrant communities. This is most visible in a sharp drop of foreign worker populations, the largest of which are the Brazilians registering in manufacturing cities. The other newcomer communities, such as Filipinos and Vietnamese, witnessed a gradual population growth. What is happening to these immigrant communities spread widely throughout the country?

This panel will examine policies of local administrations and activities of immigrant communities in support of their participation and empowerment. Such efforts, encapsulated in the concept of “local citizenship,” however, remain ineffective in the absence of national policy for immigrant incorporation despite Japan’s alarming demographic trend.

The panel begins with introduction by UC Berkeley’s Keiko Yamanaka, followed by an overview of Japan’s recent immigration policy by Yuka Ishii of University of Shizuoka. Then Yamanaka and Sachi Takahata of University of Shizuoka discuss community activism by citizens and immigrants—Brazilians, Filipinos, and Vietnamese—intended to enhance their rights in both rural and urban areas. Lastly, UC Berkeley’s Deana Mitchell screens her short documentary video about Brazilian youths struggling to establish a sense of belonging in Japan.

A Q&A session will follow the panel discussion.

Admission is free. For more information, contact Karl Matsushita at (415) 567-5006.

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