comparative politics Japan-related research

JPOSS #4 “Can University Education Cultivate Immigrant Integration? The Case of Local Enfranchisement for Foreign Residents in Japan”

The fourth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on October 1, 2020. Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Fan Lu (Queens University) and Gento Kato (Nazarbayev University) presented their paper, “Can University Education Cultivate Immigrant Integration? The Case of Local Enfranchisement for Foreign Residents in Japan.” In their presentation, Lu and Kato introduced an original theoretical argument that more clearly specifies the relationship between support for immigration and natives’ level of education than existing political science and migration studies have done. Moreover, their innovative theoretical model is tailored to explain the nuances of the Japanese context. Using sophisticated matching techniques to analyze public opinion surveys fielded between 2009 and 2014, Lu and Kato argue that Japanese university education broadly has a limited impact on public support for granting voting rights to foreign residents. However, they do find that university education does stronger effect when it is mediated through improved attitudes toward Koreans (the dominant group of permanent foreign residents in Japan also referred to as Zainichi Koreans) and that females are more likely to support enfranchisement of foreign residents than males.

Discussant comments were offered by Reiko Kage (University of Tokyo) and Rocio Titiunik (Princeton). The discussion raised interesting questions about the ways in which university education may instill progressive social and political views in students as well as the nuances and uniqueness of Japan’s legacy of disenfranchised former colonial subjects. The discussants and the audience also offered many constructive suggestions on the framing of the argument, research methods, and possible future directions of the research.

This event attracted around forty participants and produced an engaging Q&A session. The organizers would like to thank the presenters, discussants, and participants, as well as the staff at the Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, who provided administrative support. We look forward to seeing you at the next session of JPOSS: