Multiculturalism in Japan: Citizenship Policy for Immigrants

Hideki Tarumoto

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Abstract

Since the increase in international migration, all advanced societies have tried to cope with culturally different minorities in order to bring about social order and establish just societies. A key public policy for governing multicultural societies is to grant citizenship to immigrants. Japan is a typical example of an East Asian country that has become a multicultural society with a considerable number of immigrants and has developed a citizenship policy for immigrants in some areas such as residential status, alien registration, social benefits and perhaps voting in local elections. However, an “internal multicultural logic”, which implies that the government responds to the ethno-cultural diversity within society emphasised by researchers on multiculturalism, is not the Japanese Government’s main incentive to advance citizenship policy. Rather, an “external logic” from outside the society, especially international pressure, changes governmental behaviour concerning citizenship policies for immigrants.

Suggested bibliographic reference for this article:

Tarumoto, Hideki. Multiculturalism in Japan: Citizenship Policy for Immigrants. IJMS: International Journal on Multicultural Societies. 2003, vol. 5, no.1, pp. 88-103. UNESCO. ISSN 1817-4574. www.unesco.org/shs/ijms/vol5/issue1/art6

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