Japan actually has some immigrants

Japan’s working age population peaked in 1990 at roughly 85 million. This population will be about 52 million in 2040.

In 2019 there were about 3 million foreign born residents in Japan, about 2.3% of the total population. The number of foreign workers doubled from 700,000 in 2013 to 1.5 million in 2018. According to Noah Smith, “In 2017 Japan implemented fast-track permanent residency for skilled workers. In 2018 it passed a law that will greatly expand the number of blue-collar work visas, and — crucially — provide these workers with a path to permanent residency if they want it. These changes thus represent true immigration, as opposed to temporary guest-worker policies.”
The next two or three decades will reveal whether the country’s culture and institutions will be able to learn from Europe’s experience and manage a smooth transition, or whether immigration will spark a nativist backlash that closes the country off once again.

Douglass and the composite society

Returning to past posts, I am excepting from an 1869 speech by Frederick Douglass. He argued that Chinese should be allowed to immigrate and become citizens. He presented his vision of composite nationality under conditions of “perfect human equality.”

The Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 prohibited Chinese labor migration to the United States and barred Chinese residents from obtaining U.S. citizenship. The law was repealed in 1943. (see here.)

From his remarks:

I want a home here not only for the negro, the mulatto and the Latin races; but I want the Asiatic to find a home here in the United States, and feel at home here, both for his sake and for ours. Right wrongs no man. If respect is had to majorities, the fact that only one fifth of the population of the globe is white, the other four fifths are colored, ought to have some weight and influence in disposing of this and similar questions. It would be a sad reflection upon the laws of nature and upon the idea of justice, to say nothing of a common Creator, if four fifths of mankind were deprived of the rights of migration to make room for the one fifth.

The voice of civilization speaks an unmistakable language against the isolation of families, nations and races, and pleads for composite nationality as essential to her triumphs.

Our Republic is itself a strong argument in favor of composite nationality. It is no disparagement to Americans of English descent, to affirm that much of the wealth, leisure, culture, refinement and civilization of the country are due to the arm of the negro and the muscle of the Irishman. Without these and the wealth created by their sturdy toil, English civilization had still lingered this side of the Alleghanies, and the wolf still be howling on their summits.

The grand right of migration and the great wisdom of incorporating foreign elements into our body politic, are founded not upon any genealogical or archeological theory, however learned, but upon the broad fact of a common human nature.

Man is man, the world over. This fact is affirmed and admitted in any effort to deny it. The sentiments we exhibit, whether love or hate, confidence or fear, respect or contempt, will always imply a like humanity.

If our action shall be in accordance with the principles of justice, liberty, and perfect human equality, no eloquence can adequately portray the greatness and grandeur of the future