comparative politics Japan-related research

JPOSS #1 “The New Consensus on Immigration? Identifying the Racial Undertones of Immigrant Selection Outside the Western Context”

The inaugural session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on July 9, 2020. Phillip Lipscy (University of Toronto) offered welcome remarks and encouraged participants to submit papers for future sessions at Amy Catalinac (New York University) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Nicholas A. R. Fraser (University of Toronto) and John W. Cheng (Tsuda University) presented their paper, “The New Consensus on Immigration?: Identifying the Racial Undertones of Immigrant Selection Outside the Western Context.” In their presentation, Fraser and Cheng explored Japanese attitudes toward immigration—a topic that is increasingly salient in contemporary Japanese politics. Specifically, they discussed the results of a survey-based study that asks respondents to consider allowing randomly generated profiles of hypothetical immigrants to enter Japan. Building on previous studies that explore public support for immigration, they demonstrated that Japanese respondents tend to prefer high-skilled immigrants. Moreover, Fraser and Cheng’s study finds that Japanese tend to prefer white immigrants from developed countries over those from developing countries. Fraser and Cheng explained how their paper contributes to our understanding of Japanese immigration policy and the politics that shape it.

Discussant comments were offered by Hilary Holbrow (Harvard University), Rieko Kage (University of Tokyo), Charles Crabtree (Dartmouth College), and Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth College). The discussion raised fascinating questions about whether and how racial biases in the West translate to the Japanese context. The discussants and audience also offered many constructive suggestions on the framing, research design, and analysis of the paper.

The seminar attracted around sixty participants from all over the world. 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. You can learn more here: