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Four Types of Attitudes Towards Foreign Workers: Evidence from a Survey in Japan

Rosenbluth, Frances; Kage, Rieko; Tanaka, Seiki

Employing a survey method to explore attitudes towards foreign workers in Japan, we uncover evidence that upends the conventional wisdom that “socio-tropic values” are anchored in perceptions of threat. Building a new typology that differentiates among native-born citizens who value or fear foreigners for their expected effects on the economic and cultural dimensions, we find that Japanese corporate managers, especially in labor-scarce sectors, appreciate the positive effects of foreign labor more than they dread the dilution of cultural beliefs and practices that underpinned the fabled Japanese labor force. This finding is significant because, even without becoming whole-hearted multi-culturalists, a positive disposition of Japanese corporate management towards foreign workers could signal a shift in policy. Although ethnocentrists remain in Japan (as elsewhere), the views of the business community are likely to have more bearing on government policy than those of other groups.

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Publisher
Center on Japanese Economy and Business, Columbia University
Series
Center on Japanese Economy and Business Working Papers, 351
Academic Units
Center on Japanese Economy and Business
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