*Humanity has always been on the move. According to one influential theory, the first major human migration occurred when early humans moved out of Africa to spread out around the world. In more recent times, Africa was again the source of a major population movement when possibly 12 million people were forcibly transported to *the New World as slaves between the 16th and 19th centuries. Greater than this, though, was the movement of 59 million people from Europe to North and South America, Australia and New Zealand between 1846 and 1939.

While the mass migration and settlement that characterized the growth of the Americas in the 19th century has ended, modern migration is still considerable. Around 3% of the world’s population are currently classed as migrants — that is, people living outside their countries of birth. This number is increasing as the globalization of the world proceeds, and is likely to increase further. However, migration has also become more complex and the traditional image of a male migrant and his family leaving their homeland forever to start a new life in a foreign land is now a thing of the past.

For one thing, migration is no longer a matter of one-way flows of people from one clearly defined region to another, as in the example above of Europeans leaving for America. These days nearly all countries are part of networks of immigration and emigration linked to multiple destinations. Moreover, many migrants take advantage of modern transportation and communications technology to maintain contact with their homelands — migration is no longer necessarily a clean break with the past as it once was. Many migrants move repeatedly back and forth between countries in a phenomenon known as “circular migration” or “*sojourning.” And these days, more and more of these modern migrants are women.

International migration is no longer solely for economic reasons, though the desire to earn more money and have a better life is clearly still a major factor in the decision to migrate. Increasingly, millions of people are *displaced by wars, persecution and natural disasters to become refugees, many of whom seek *asylum and a new life away from danger. At the other extreme, wealthy people often migrate for lifestyle reasons such as retirement in a country with a better climate.

All these factors have led to migration becoming a major political issue, both at the international level where countries seek to admit or restrict certain types of migrant, and at the local level where immigration can cause social tension between newcomers and local people, especially when there are clear differences in culture or appearance. For instance, (1)many countries in Europe that once encouraged immigration to fill labour shortages are now openly debating whether immigration should be restricted. The problems of social tension, poverty, lack of integration, even violence and terrorism, are seen by many ordinary people to be greater than the advantages that migrants bring to the economy and society as workers, taxpayers, and contributors to national cultural life. Some even fear a loss of national identity. While many of (2)the negative consequences are exaggerated and, in general, often not the fault of immigrants, anti-immigration political parties are (3)gaining ground in many countries.

Japan, too, is part of this global network of migration. Over a million Japanese have left Japan as emigrants since 1880, mostly to Hawaii and to North and South America. It is estimated that there are currently around 2.6 million people of Japanese descent outside Japan. Moreover, around 850,000 Japanese citizens live outside Japan for work, study or other forms of long-term travel. On the other hand, immigration to Japan is increasing rapidly. In 2008, legal long-term foreign residents numbered around 2.2 million, twice as many as in the 1980s.

Some migrants are highly skilled workers such as professors or bankers. Most, though, work in low skilled jobs, often as small factory, service or care workers. Many have married Japanese and some are taking Japanese citizenship. Although official policy does not encourage permanent migration to Japan, more and more migrants are in fact settling permanently. As Japan’s population declines and ages, leaving fewer Japanese workers and taxpayers to support the elderly population, (4)this trend is likely to continue.

Against the background of increasing globalization, it is therefore likely that immigration will become one of the most important issues for the Japanese government and society in the 21st century.




人類は常に移住し続けてきた。ある有力な理論によれば,人間の最初の大移動は,初期の人類がアフリカから出て世界中に広がったときに起きた。さらに最近の時代になってアフリカは再び人口の大移動の起点となり,おそらく1,200 万人ほどの人々が16 19 世紀に奴隷として新世界へ強制的に運ばれた。しかしそれよりも大きかったのは,1846 1939 年の間に起きた,ヨーロッパから南北アメリカ,オーストラリア,ニュージーランドへの5,900 万人の移動である。

19 世紀の南北アメリカ大陸の成長を特徴づけた大規模な移動と定住が終わった現代でも,移動は依然としてかなり多い。世界の人口の約3%が移民,つまり生まれた国の外で暮らす人々に分類される。この数は世界の国際化が進行するにつれて増えており,今後もさらに増えそうである。しかし,移民(の形態)はますます複雑にもなっており,男性の移住者とその家族が外国の土地で新しい生活を始めるために祖国を永遠に離れるという従来のイメージは,今では過去のものである。



これらの要因はすべて,移民が大きな政治問題になるという結果を生んでおり,国際的なレベルでは各国がある種の移住者の受け入れや制限を試み,局地的なレベルでは,特に文化や風貌の点で明らかな違いがある場合に,移民が新参者と地元民との間に社会的緊張を引き起こすことがある。たとえば,かつては労働力不足を補うために移民を奨励していたヨーロッパの多くの国は,今では移民が制限されるべきかどうかを公然と議論している。社会的緊張,貧困,統一性の欠如, あるいは暴力やテロリズムといった問題まで,移民が労働者, 納税者,国の文化的生活への貢献者として経済と社会にもたらす利点よりも大きいと多くの一般人が考えている。中には国家の本質が失われると恐れる人々もいる。マイナスの影響の多くは誇張であり,概して移住者のせいではないことが多いのだが,移民に反対する政党は多くの国で勢力を伸ばしている。

日本もまた,この世界的な移住のネットワークの一部である。1880 年以来100 万人を超える日本人が外国への移住者として日本を離れ,大半はハワイと南北アメリカへ向かった。現在では約260 万人の日系人が国外にいると推定されている。さらに,約85 万人の日本人が仕事,学業,その他の長期旅行の形で日本国外に住んでいる。一方で,日本への移住が急増している。2008 年には,外国人の合法的な長期居住者は1980 年代の2倍の約220 万人に達した。

移住者の中には,大学教授や銀行員のような高度な技術を持つ労働者もいる。しかしほとんどは,小工場の工員,サービス業や介護のスタッフとして,高い技術を必要としない仕事についていることが多い。多くの移住者は日本人と結婚し, 日本の公民権を取得する人もいる。公的政策は日本への永住を奨励していないが,実際は永住する移住者が増えている。日本の人口が減少して高齢化し,高齢者を養うべき日本人労働者および納税者が少なくなるのに伴って,この傾向は続きそうである。

進む国際化を背景として,移民はそれゆえに21 世紀の日本政府と社会にとって最も重要な問題の1つになりそうである。