Winners and Losers in the Asia-Pacific
Edited by Noel Gaston and Ahmed M. Khalid
Chapter 10: Aging and Migration in Japan
Junichi Goto INTRODUCTION Due to the low and declining fertility rate, the Japanese population is rapidly aging. As a result, Japan is facing a potentially serious labor shortage in the near future. Many people argue that Japan should admit more migrant workers in order to compensate for the decline in working population due to aging. However, there are various alternatives to international migration, such as the increased labor participation of women and older persons. Moreover, instead of importing workers from abroad, Japan can utilize foreign labor indirectly through imports of labor-intensive products made abroad. In view of the above, this chapter will examine merits of the international movement of labor and various alternatives to it, using a rigorous framework. In the next section, the impact of migration on the host county is analyzed theoretically, using a rigorous, but general, equilibrium model. Although traditional economic theorists are generally in favor of migration, at least as far as the economic effects are concerned, it is demonstrated that such a rosy scenario depends on fairly restrictive assumptions, such as perfect competition, and that when we relax some assumptions of the traditional theory, the admission of migrant workers can create adverse economic effects to the host country. In the third section, the social effects of migration are discussed because migration involves the movement of workers as human beings as a whole, rather than the movement of labor as a factor of production. The fourth section, discusses some empirical issues about the relative benefit of...
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