Seminar Series

The politics of immigration in the wake of the “specified skills visa”

Thursday, 8 December 2022 | 9:00 - 10:00 (JST)
Zoom Webinar
  • Michael Strausz Professor of Political Science, Texas Christian University
  • Kenneth Mori McElwain Professor, Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo

In recent years, labor shortages caused by an aging and declining population have created pressures for Japan to find new ways to admit foreign laborers. The Japanese government has responded to these pressures with a number of policy innovations. Most interestingly, the government created the “specified skills visa” in December of 2018 to admit manual laborers as a defined category for the first time. Just a few months after this new visa category went into effect, Japanese voters went to the polls to elect their representatives in the House of Counselors. What does that election tell us about the politics of immigration in Japan? This paper combines quantitative analyses of Diet candidates’ positions on the issue of immigration in 2019 and other recent elections with qualitative case studies of LDP two candidates in the 2019 election to assess the new political context in which immigration policy is made in Japan.


Michael Strausz is a Professor of Political Science at Texas Christian University. His research focuses on immigration policy and public opinion relating to immigration, and his recent book Help (Not) Wanted: Immigration Politics in Japan (SUNY Press 2019) explains the persistent restrictiveness of Japan’s immigration control policy. He has conducted research in Japan on grants from the Fulbright Program and the Japan Foundation. He is a member of cohort three of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation’s US-Japan Network for the Future. He earned his Ph.D. in 2007 from the University of Washington.