As populism and a tilt to the political right has prompted many nations to question once welcoming immigration and refugee policies and embrace xenophobia, a nation with a centuries long reputation for insularity has decided to move in the other direction. With its rapidly aging population and an underwhelming birthrate, Japan is opening its doors to large-scale immigration.
From The New York Times:
Under a bill approved by Parliament’s upper house in the early-morning hours, more than a quarter-million visas of five-year duration will be granted to unskilled guest laborers for the first time, starting in 2019.
Under the new measure, between 260,000 and 345,000 five-year visas will be made available for workers in 14 sectors suffering severe labor shortages, including caregiving, construction, agriculture and shipbuilding.
The measure also creates a separate visa category for high-skilled workers, who will be allowed to stay for unlimited periods and enjoy greater benefits, including permission to bring their families to Japan.
As The New York Times points out, over the next 25 years, Japan's population is set to shrink by 16 million people, or 13 percent. During the same period, the number of old folks in Japan will increase to make up 1/3 of the population. This leaves an incredible vacuum of caregivers, laborers and other positions that must be filled.
Not everyone is thrilled with the country's fresh, welcoming approach to immigration. But their feelings on the matter are moot: unless the Japanese start having a shitload of babies, which they're not, the nation will be in a serious bind when the bulk of their current population becomes too old to be able to keep the nation's infrastructure and businesses humming along efficiently.
Image via Séamus Bellamy
This ten-minute video of Japanese toy car, robot, and spacecraft TV commercials bears repeated viewing. The special effects (including stop-motion animation) are fantastic. My favorite is this one for Voltes V toys. Here are photos of the toys from that commercial. As you might guess, these toys sell for a fortune on eBay.
Fukuoka, Japan is home to the Ichiran ramen museum, where you can see ramen noodles being made. You can also eat at an Ichiran restaurant, where you buy a menu item ticket from a vending machine then sit in one of the walled-off cubicles along the counter, so you can eat without having to interact […]
Amami Ōshima is a small Japanese island a little north of Okinawa. A plant called cycad grows in abundance there. It’s poisonous unless it is properly prepared by drying and fermenting it. This video shows you the process and has interviews with people who explain why they revere the cycad plant. Image: YouTube
So you’ve visited the Kennedy Space Center every year. You’ve watched “The Right Stuff” for the 95th time. There must be something to do while you’re waiting to join Space Force for the next manned mission to Mars or the moon. Here’s a combo that should raise a salute from any fan of space or […]
Looking for a new tablet? If you haven’t upgraded in a while, it might be time to check out the latest iPad Pro for two very good reasons. First, the 2018 model is a real workhorse. The 12X Bionic chip processor means it can handle any task you set out for it, and still have […]
You want wireless earbuds to make an impact on your mood and workout, not the environment. If that’s the case, we’ve got a new contender for AirPod market share: Brio Phantom X7 True Wireless Earbuds. The features on these tiny, comfortable buds are impressive even without the environmental angle. Their Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity is good […]