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Japan’s rethink on immigration in the face of an impending labour force crisis was in the spotlight at The Australian National University’s annual Japan Update on Wednesday 4 September.
In the keynote address to this year’s conference, Japanese MP Yoko Kamikawa outlined how the East Asian country, long resistant to immigration, is now opening its doors to foreign workers.
Ms Kamikawa was the Japanese politician charged with overseeing the policy.
ANU Japan expert Dr Lauren Richardson said this year’s conference examined Japan’s increasing leadership role on the global stage, as well as challenges back home.
“Japan is taking a front seat role in the world’s economic and political order,” Dr Richardson said. “This has been driven by a range of factors, including the election of Donald Trump as US President and the rise of China. Japan hosted the G20 earlier this year and will welcome the world for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
“But at the same time, Japan’s relationship with neighbour South Korea is in freefall and it lives in the shadow of a nuclear-armed North Korea.
“Back home, Japan boasts the world’s third largest economy and a stable government, with Shinzo Abe about to become Japan’s longest serving prime minister.
“However, the country is dealing with a shrinking and ageing population, a weak opposition and huge government debt.
“How Japan and its leaders can navigate these complex challenges is of major interest and concern for Australia and the world.”
The 2019 Japan Update - Leadership in a time of uncertainty was hosted by the Australia Japan Research Centre and the ANU Japan Institute