Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SMJ) was organized by NGOs, Labor unions and citizen networks in 1997, in order to protect migrants’ rights, support their empowerment and create a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society in Japan. Most of groups that comprise SMJ have been struggling to support human rights in fields for 10 years, 20 years or more. Based on our experiences, we see problems migrant works and their families face in Japan and propose what policies are required for multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society.
Under former LDP administration, noting the fact that working population is decreasing in aging society with fewer children, the need to accept “foreign workforce” used to be highlighted. However, on the other hand, policies that strengthen control against foreign immigration and residence were given priority. Today, in the era with immigrant population burgeoning, we sincerely hope that Hatoyama administration will settle former one’s policies under the initiative of bureaucracy and put up immigration policies that make the most of what new administration has.
“Living together with migrants and ethnic minorities in Japan”, published by SMJ in March 2009, compiles our policy proposals done three times since 2002. We would like to encourage each ministry of new administration to refer to it and make promptly an integrated policy for the purpose that foreign citizens are accepted as a member of Japanese society.
１ Implement fundamental laws concerning foreigners such as foreigners’ human rights basic laws and racism elimination acts
We believe it essential to prepare laws to guarantee basic rights of people who are our neighbors that make up Japanese society together and are also tax payers, in the era we can not avoid from rising foreigners’ population. In respect to the above, we would like to request you the following.
(1) Implement “Foreigners’ human rights basic law”(tentative title); stipulates that rights guaranteed by Japanese Constitution and international conventions on human rights, rights for life, fortune, working, family, education, social security, and as citizen etc., are applied to foreign residents.
(2) Implement “Racism elimination acts” (tentative title); stipulates that it prohibits discrimination against foreigners and ethnic minority and establish an organization independent from authority to save victims effectively.
２ Implement integrated immigration policy
To implement integrated immigration policy is an urgent task for Japanese future. National Policy Unit established by the new administration should be an adequate organization for developing an integrated immigration policy, consolidating foreigners acceptance policies that each of ministry have worked on respectively. Please set up immigration policy department and prompt actions are highly encouraged.
３ Implement enforcement organization of immigration policies
As enforcement organization of integrated policy mentioned above and as integrated enforcement organization of foreigners’ measures aiming at that, we believe it necessary to establish not a simple liaison facility that used to be but an expert organization. With respect to this, we would like to request you the following.
(1）Establish “Multi-ethnic and Multi-cultural Office” (tentative title) in Cabinet Office
(2) Upgrade Council for the Promotion of Measures for Foreign Residents in Cabinet Office to one of Administrative Organs on National Government Organization Law in the meantime and deal with various problems.
１ Implement legalization measures of undocumented people from the humanitarian perspective
２ Promote humanitarian acceptance of refugees
３ Ratify United Nations ”Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families” and retract suspension on Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and Convention on the Rights of Children.
４ Eradication of Xenophobia
The former administration left xenophobia spread around Japanese society. Above all, the law enforcement authorities have leaded “Foreign crime” campaigns through media for the long time and fueled xenophobia. In recent years, in the name of “Anti-terrorism measures”, crackdown on immigration has been strengthened on premise that “terrorist” be foreigners obviously.
Such measures that make people consider foreigners dangerous contradict multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society and it’s concerned it will make racism promoted. With respect to this, we would like to request you the following.
(1) Reconsider the way of publication of statistics that overemphasizes on “Foreign crime” and fuels xenophobia.
(2) Consider appropriate way of enlightenment and publicity based on facts in order to abolish prejudice of “Illegal immigrants create fertile soils for crimes” spread in Japanese society. Please conduct educational trainings for public officers such as law enforcement and immigration authorities especially.