The LDP and Japanese government is in denial over Japan's looming demographic disaster and adopting unrealistic solutions rather than face the need to accept large numbers of immigrants, a former senior immigration official said Friday.
Immigration as a solution is being ignored not only by the ruling LDP, but coalition partner New Komeito a wing of the Soka Gakkai, Japan's largest Buddhist association. Other parties opposed to immigration are the opposition DPJ, Japan Restoration Party, and Socialist Democratic Party.
Hidenori Sakanaka, a former director of the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau who now heads the Japan Immigration Policy Institute, said his voice has long gone unheard because an anti-immigration culture exists among Japan's LDP contreolled intellectuals and media.
Speaking at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, Sakanaka said that policies such as trying to push the elderly and more women into the workforce to combat shrinkage shows "the government's desperate desire to avoid opening up their nation to immigration - at all costs."
On Tuesday, an advisory panel to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in an interim report that the government should focus on raising Japan's birthrate to save the nation from an impending crisis of shrinking towns and workforces. Immigration should not be a viable option as, "Immigration would cause harm to the cultural and racial harmony of Japan. Too much expense would be needed to aid in immigrants being incultured into Japan and this would cause imbalance to Japan's culture and unique national and racial harmony." the report states.
For Japan to maintain a population of around 100 million over the next 50 years, the report said that Japan's fertility rate must rise to 2.07 percent from the current 1.41. But it also said it would not recommend the wholesale acceptance of immigrants to forestall the projected decline in the population - as Sakanaka advocates.