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Hamamatsu’s Foreign Resident Population

Hamamatsu’s History of Accepting Foreign Residents

(The below is a general summary, simplified and made easier to understand. It is at most a generalized version of events, and does not encapsulate the full situation. Thank you for your understanding. – 31st November 2021


Japanese Citizens Emigrate to Brazil

In 1908, the Japanese people began their emigration to Brazil thanks to a government policy. They generally worked on coffee plantations and gradually formed a Japanese community there.
The first immigrants were first generation Japanese people, their children were second generation immigrants, and their grandchildren became third generation immigrants. It is said that there are currently approximately over 1,900,000 Japanese Brazilian living in Brazil.

<For those who wish to learn more>

【100 year of Emigration to Brazil】https://www.ndl.go.jp/brasil/

1980 Bubble Economy Leads to a Shortage in Workers

In the 1980s, the bubble economy of Japan led to a serious shortage of simple labour, especially in the manufacturing sector. However, the Japanese government did not approve the acceptance of foreign simple labourers. Therefore, many single men from South East Asian, South Asian and Middle Eastern countries came to Japan under the guise of tourism and worked in the shortage of labour in the manufacturing industry, often working outside their qualifications or overstaying.

The Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) has been amended to allow third-generation Japanese emigrants to stay in Japan without restrictions on their activities under a new status of residence called “Teijusha”, also called long-term residency. No restrictions on activities means no restrictions on employment. At the same time, Brazil was facing a serious economic crisis due to hyperinflation. Thus, a combination of Japanese and Brazilian factors led to the arrival of Nikkei in Japan, mainly from Brazil and other South American countries, for “dekasegi”, work away from home.

The Increase of Brazilian Residents in Hamamatsu

Hamamatsu is home to many world-famous automobile, motorbike and musical instrument manufacturers, as well as their subcontractors, small and medium-sized micro-enterprises, which needed many workers in their factories. Originally, these manufacturers recruited workers from rural areas all over Japan during the period of Japan’s rapid economic growth from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s, but due to the shortage of workers in Japan, they began to rely on workers from overseas. In this way, the manufacturing industry in Hamamatsu has been supported by the help of Japanese Brazilians and Peruvians.

Resettlement Continues

Initially, Japanese emigrant (Nikkei) had planned to return to their home countries after working abroad “dekasegi” for a few years, or had lived back and forth between Japan and their home countries. However, as they lived in Japan for longer periods of time, got married, had children, and started families, their living expenses became more expensive, and they began to base their lives in Japan.

In 2008, the economic crisis caused by “Lehman Shock” resulted in unemployment for many people. This was because many Japanese nationals were working as non-regular employees in temporary employment agencies and contracting companies. Some took the opportunity to return to their home countries with the help of the Japanese government, while others chose to stay permanently in Japan for reasons such as the continuation of their children’s education.

Second Generation Immigrants Activities and Issues of an Aging Society

In families that chose to move to Japan permanently, the second generation, who were born or at least raised and educated in Japan, grew up and began to work.

The environment surrounding the education of the second generation has been challenging, as they have had to move back and forth between Japan and their home countries, meanwhile in the midst of all this, the second generation are beginning to reach self-fulfillment.

On the other hand, their parents’ generation is aging, and problems regarding pensions, nursing care etc. are beginning to emerge.

Internationalization and Increase in Technical Trainees

From around 2016 (confirmed required), there has been an increase in the number of Filipinos coming to Japan. The increase has been mostly Japanese-Filipinos. Additionally, there have been an increasing number of technical interns nationwide.

Naturally, Hamamatsu City has also seen an increase in the number of single young people from Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam and Indonesia, who are coming to Japan to work as technical interns.

Although the impact of the recently established “specified skills” status of residence (2019) has yet to significantly affect numbers of foreign residents nationwide and in Hamamatsu City, it is expected that the number of foreign residents living in Japan as technical interns or with specified skills status will continue to increase in the future.

Reference Materials

“Brazilians and Internationalizing Local Communities: Housing, Education, and Health Care”, Edited by IKEGAMI Shigehiro (2001, Akashi Shoten)
“The Faceless Settlers: Japanese-Brazilians and Nation, History, and Immigrant Networks”, by KAJITA Takamichi, TANNO Kiyoto, and HIGUCHI Naoto (2005, Nagoya University Press)

Foreign Resident Population (As of 1st of April 2021)

Population of Foreign Residents

As of the 1st of April 2021 , Hamamatsu has 25,593 Foreign Residents living there, the 89 highest in the country.

The most recently updated figures for foreign residents can be viewed on this page.