Organized Panel Session
Japan is increasingly opening its borders to migrant workers, tourists, and international students. This panel considers how migration, broadly construed, is managed by stakeholders both formal and informal. As businesses seek labor, universities seek enrollments, and retailers seek customers, their pragmatic embrace of foreign bodies might seem to portend a more diverse future for Japanese society. At the same time, conflict over differing expectations about who is included, how they are included, and whether they are expected to integrate into Japanese society or ultimately return calls into question how further diversification of Japanese society might take place, if at all. Migration and domestic minority populations are not new in Japan, despite notions of Japanese homogeneity. How do new migrants fit into the disjunctures between official expectations of the role they might play, and the actual expectations of the stakeholders who work most closely with them? What happens in the grounded spaces of interaction and negotiation that characterize human movement across borders? How are stakeholders like farmers, universities, government bodies, and unions shaping the conversation around migration, and what are the social forces beyond the influence of intended policy? This panel will address these questions with four papers that take up distinct angles in sociology, political science, and anthropology to assess 1) MEXT international education policy and employment pipelines, 2) a pair of papers on how local communities, farm businesses and unions have engaged short-term labor programs, and 3) how ethnic minorities and rapidly increasing tourism has recentered debates on diversity.