1st Quarterly, 2006 No.139

2004 Nabari City Survey Concerning Human Rights <Part IV>
Desirable relationships between foreign residents and Japanese

Since the mid-1980s an influx of "newcomers" has led to a dramatic increase in the number of foreign residents in Japan. In 1985 there were 9,199 foreign residents living in Mie Prefecture and 144 in Nabari City, but these numbers increased nearly 5-fold to 43,621 and 657 respectively by 2004. As of 2003, Mie ranks as Japan's eighth-most multicultural prefecture in terms of proportion of foreign residents, who make up around 2.1% of the prefecture's population. While Nabari has followed a similar trend to Mie with an increase in number of foreign residents, they still only represent a relatively small proportion (0.7%) of the city's population. However, with the increase in number of Brazilian and Chinese residents in particular, this upward trend is expected to continue.

Multicultural or assimilative view

Figures 15 and 16 show answers to the question if (a) Japanese people and foreign residents should preserve their own cultures and respect each other (multicultural view), or (b) Japanese people should preserve Japanese culture, while foreign residents should embrace Japanese culture as far as they live in Japan (assimilative view).

Figure 15 contrasts the responses by Brazilians and Japanese people. Brazilians are less multicultural-

oriented than Japanese are. They are more oriented toward the assimilation than Japanese want them to be.

Figure 16 contrasts the responses by Koreans and Japanese. Korean respondents are slightly more oriented toward multicultural view than the Japanese counterpart. At the same time, they are also more oriented toward assimilation than the Japanese respondents want them to be.

These outcomes may be results of the fact that discrimination and prejudice against foreign residents exist among Japanese. Orientation toward assimilation among foreign residents as well as pressure toward assimilation among Japanese is closely related to discrimination and prejudice against foreign residents.

Concerning Brazilian respondents, the fact that majority of them intend to eventually return home considering their stay in Japan temporal may be related to their strong orientation toward assimilation.

Integration or separation

Figure 17 and 18 show answers by nationality to the question which respondents think better: (a) Japanese people and foreign residents socialize in a proactive way, though they may sometime face conflicts caused by cultural differences (integration), or (b) both Japanese and foreign residents associate within their own groups (separation).

Figure 17 contrasts responses by Brazilians and Japanese (how they see the question in relation to Brazilians). Among Brazilian respondents, more than 80% are oriented toward integration, whereas some 70% of Japanese respondents are oriented toward the same. Especially, those who are strongly oriented toward integration among Brazilians account for some 70%, while those among Japanese account only for some 30%.

Figure 18 contrasts responses by Koreans and Japanese (how they see the question in relation to Korean residents). All Korean respondents excluding those with no answer are oriented toward integration, whereas those who are oriented toward integration account some 70% among Japanese respondents. Especially, Korean respondents with strong orientation toward integration account for nearly 90%, whereas those among Japanese account only around 30%. The above shows a big gap in orientation toward integration between foreign residents and Japanese. (Responses by Chinese residents have a similar trend.) Differences in understanding of the reality and orientation between Japanese and foreign residents may cause frictions or misunderstanding between the two. It is sought to create various opportunities for interactions, know each other well, and nurture common understandings among all residents of Nabari City .

<Buraku Liberation and Human Rights Research Institute is Responsible to translation>

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