Dealing with Diversity among Japanese and Foreign Residents in Niseko

In recent years, Japan has opened wider doors of opportunity for overseas workers and foreign sojourners from different parts of the globe especially with the relaxation of its immigration rules that allow for less stringent requirements With this revision in its government policy, more and more international immigrants are enticed to stay in the country in order to seek for employment from various Japanese companies and establishments or simply to integrate in their society as foreign residents.


There has been a great surge of international immigrants in the Land of the Rising Sun particularly in major cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Another area in Japan which is reportedly known to have an increasing number of foreign residents is the Niseko Town of Hokkaido Island which is located in the northern part of Japan.


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The town has gained tremendous popularity as a ski resort not only in Japan but also on a universal scale. It is home to some of the most popular hotels with spa, onsen or hot springs, luxury residences, snow school and other outdoor activities for the family, among others.


With the growing number of multinational residents and sojourners in Niseko area, certain adjustments have to be made among the locals and foreigners in order for them to coexist. As of January of 2019, approximately ten percent of its total population is made up of foreign residents. One Japanese citize from Niseko remarked that “It’s difficult living here with the growing number (of foreign residents).”


A number of foreign residents have also been quite vocal in asking for improvements to be made in the town’s public and administrative facilities as well as in the services of institutions engaged in banking and finance. Meanwhile, the locals in the area expressed their sentiments with regard to the foreigner resident’s way of disposing their garbage and their substandard manner in driving.


Another challenge that the town has to deal with is communicating with foreign residents in times of calamities. Currently, Niseko is not equipped with disaster prevention maps written in the English language. But, the municipal government intends to hire local Japanese with excellent English communication skills in order to address the issue.


Reference: Hokkaido ski resort tackles growing tension between Japanese, foreign residents


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