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Future of Japanese Immigration Subject of “Brainstorming” Workshop

Private Meeting Will Bring Together Scholars, Government Officials, Advocates, and Business Leaders

Media Contact: Public Affairs, 212-854-2650, publicaffairs@law.columbia.edu


New York, Oct. 25, 2010—Japan’s relatively closed stance toward immigration and whether a more open attitude could benefit the country will be discussed in a workshop next month at Columbia Law School.

The private “brainstorming” session will also look at whether arguments against a major shift in Japan’s immigration policy outweigh any potential advantages.

The Nov. 4-5 workshop will be run by the Center for Japanese Legal Studies at Columbia Law School and the Center on Japanese Economy and Business at Columbia Business School. It aims to identify the most relevant and pressing topics related to immigration in Japan, and then use those topics to develop a public conference on immigration to be held at Columbia and in Tokyo at a future date.

“We do not have a particular view on the direction of Japanese immigration policy but are interested in furthering a discussion of the major issues,” said Curtis Milhaupt, the Parker Professor of Comparative Law and Fuyo Professor of Japanese Law.

Milhaupt, who also serves as vice dean and is director of the Center for Japanese Legal Studies, said the intent of the brainstorming session is to create a private environment where a diverse group of scholars, government officials, business leaders and activists may openly look at immigration in Japan from all perspectives.

“We have invited a diverse group of legal and policy experts from the U.S., Japan and the UN,” Milhaupt said. “We anticipate that the workshop will help us identify issues for discussion at public events at Columbia University.”

Topics for discussion might include:

•    Japan’s shrinking population/labor force, aging, and other demographic concerns;
•    Japan’s legal treatment of foreign residents, including permanent residents;
•    Japanese cultural identity issues and assimilation;
•    Varying attitudes in Japan toward diverse immigrant cultures; and
•    Typical “immigrant driven” industries and NGOs.

The Center for Japanese Legal Studies is the first and only center of its kind in the U.S. It actively promotes research on Japanese law, and strives to be the principal source of intellectual exchange between the legal professions of the U.S. Among the wealth of resources available is the Toshiba Library for Japanese Legal Research, which is considered to be among the finest private collections of Japanese Law and is the country’s premier collection of Japanese law materials.


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