Saturday, September 12, 2015

Will Japan welcome the refugees of the world?

With the refugee crisis in Europe set to see the largest mass migration since the Second World War with hundreds of thousands fleeing the violence, it's interesting to note that in 2014 Japan took a sum total of 11 (yes, eleven) refugees. Interesting this is actually more than were killed in gun related crime in Japan that year, which stands at 8, compared to something in the order of 30,000 in the US (guns don't kill people, bullets kill people...) although this number in turn is approximately equal to the number of suicides in Japan during 2014.

Japan is seeing an endemic population decline that commenced in 2011 and is set to enter free fall with a reduction of some 40% by 2060 and so, at some point, the nation is going to face a decision. Open the doors or accept economic collapse. Currently there isn't the will to allow mass immigration but with ghost villages in the countryside as the populace either dies or moves to the cities, it's probably simply a matter of time until the decision is made by itself.

The new tax laws are certainly not designed to help the situation; the exit tax being a direct disincentive to arrive in Japan in the first place and the new inheritance tax on non-resident beneficiaries of the estates of relatives residing in Japan defies explanation but has a lot of non-voters questioning whether to come here at all. But if Australia can offer a new home to 12,000 Syrians, Japan has a chance to take a stance. Although, as a country, it might be dead set against the concept of immigration, it's actually very welcoming to immigrants. I know, for I am one.

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