Domestic Companies in Japan Urged to Address Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

As of April 2019, the Japanese government has undertaken a major leap in order to open more and more doors of employment opportunities for foreign workers in their country through the amendment of its immigration laws that used to provide stringent visa requirements. The new visa types introduced in the said amendment is intended to attract more foreign nationals in Japan as a means to address the issue on chronic labor shortage in Japan.


However, with the influx of foreign workers in the Land of the Rising Sun, an increasing number of domestic firms and establishments in the country are also coping with the issue on racism and discrimination in the work place.


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Despite the proliferation of racial harassment cases across the globe which encompasses jokes or personal attacks against certain individuals on account of their race, awareness of this global problem is still missing in Japan. While it is true that these actions are illegal and highly offensive in some countries, Japan still lacks measures and sanctions imposed in order to regulate and totally ban these acts.


Based on the data collected by the Japanese Justice Ministry, there are more than two million seven hundred thousand foreign residents in Japan as of the end of 2018. Out of this general figure, about three hundred thousand foreign nationals have acquired Japanese citizenship. Yet, based on a 2016 survey conducted by the government, thirty percent of foreign residents answered that they have “frequently” or “occasionally” been the target of discriminatory remark.


A lot of foreign residents are now more vocal about their sentiments and feelings of racial discrimination despite the fact that there are no definite punishments in relation to racial discrimination. According to a bi-racial researcher at Osaka City University, Julian Keane, it is very important for the Japanese government to initiate public awareness of racial harassment issues and to introduce new laws that will serve as countermeasures against discrimination. It is essential as well to incorporate penalties against racial harassment in every company employment regulations or policy.


Reference: As Japan opens doors wider, firms confront reality of workplace racism


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