The Impact of COVID-19 on Foreign Residents in ‘No Immigration’ Japan

New NODE UK|Japan Working Paper (NODE no. 7) out today. Professor Chris Burgess of Tsuda University writes that, while few have remained untouched by the effects of COVID-19, migrants have been disproportionally affected by the pandemic in terms of mobility (movement restrictions), employment (loss of jobs), and health (high infection rates). He also points out that a further risk unique to migrants is that the progress made to date on integrating into host communities could be reversed or even erased.

While government health and financial support policies during the pandemic generally treated foreign residents equally, structural inequity meant that many foreigners had difficulties accessing the resources. A key reason for this “gap” is argued to be Japanese-style multiculturalism, a non-integrative policy that provides services to those ‘Others’ in need of assistance but disempowers them by failing to foster the skills and abilities they need to access resources equitably and become a fully-functioning independent member of society. Professor Burgess concludes that a new approach is needed, one that recognises the importance of building social capital in the integration process.

Discover previous papers in NODE working paper series here.

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