Birthright Citizenship: Adopt, Not Adopt?

Japan’s population pyramid is upside-down, and the government fears a ticking time bomb.  The country seems trapped in a demographic downward spiral, with a rapidly aging population and ultra-low birth rates of young people.  In 2016, for the first time, Japan’s official census reported that in just five years (2010-2015) Japan’s population had shrunk by almost 1 million people.  All this, combined with one of the longest average lifespans in the world, means Japan faces an aging population that will soon lack enough young and healthy workers to pay for the benefits of the elderly.  As a drastic fall in population looms, the government fears the damage it will do to the economy and to Japanese living standards.

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Without a substantial increase in the birthrate or a loosening of Japanese resistance to immigration, the population is forecast to fall from the current 127 million to about 108 million by 2050 and to 80 million by 2065.In September 2015, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that maintaining a population of at least 100 million people over the next 50 years was a priority. However, considering how hard it would be to meet the population target by raising the fertility rate alone, the government has been considering accepting more immigrants. In February 2014, the Cabinet Office revealed that Japan will likely only be able to maintain a population of more than 100 million if it accepts 200,000 immigrants annually from 2015 and the total fertility rate recovers to 2.07 by 2030. “We need an immigration revolution to bring in 10 million people in the next 50 years, otherwise the Japanese economy will collapse,” said Hidenori Sakanaka, the former head of Tokyo’s Immigration Bureau, in 2015. But large-scale immigration is something that many Japanese find unthinkable. Japan has traditionally been closed to immigration. Unlike the United States, the country has no birthright citizenship law that grants Japanese citizenship to all individuals born in U.S. territory regardless of their legal status. People who get visas to work in Japan pass on their foreign citizenship to their children, unless those children go through the long process of naturalization. This tends to create a class of permanent outsiders, who suffer all sorts of institutional and informal discrimination; and Japanese cultural attitudes towards immigration remain conservative at best.

Team E (Allow)Team F (Not Allow)
Angele Fauchet, James Savino, Shiyue ZhuAJ Brown, Julian Olbinski, Sean Fischer,Yusen Xia, Zhizhou Zhang
Team E Resolution and Slideshow

Team F Resolution and Slideshow