Immigrant occupational attainment in Japan and its determinants: is it a 'structured settlement'?

Yu Korekawa, National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, Tokyo

Japan, as a “post-transitional society,” has recently shifted to a “new” country of immigration, similar to southern European countries. However, there are few studies on the integration of immigrants into the Japanese labor market. This is due to the scarcity of relevant reports on the nationwide situation of immigrants’ integration and its determinants. Based on the above-mentioned context, the present study aims to reveal immigrants’ occupational attainment in Japan, and its determinants, by comparing immigrants’ occupational distributions to those of their Japanese counterparts using micro-data from the Japanese census, conducted in 2010. The following findings were discovered: to the first question, we answered that socioeconomic compositional differences cannot explain the differences in the occupational distribution between immigrants and the Japanese. With regards to the second question, it is revealed that the return on immigrant educational attainment is higher for immigrants than for the Japanese, partly due to the high level of international transferability of educational attainment among the highly educated, or due to the high ambition necessary for educational achievement. Concerning the third question, we can argue that there is an “educational-attainment-driven” attainment for highly skilled males, as well as a “duration-of-residency-driven” attainment for married/family immigrants and females. To the fourth question, the settlement mostly promotes immigrant occupational attainment, and mostly has a positive impact on the Japanese labor market; however, the expected occupational distributions in the medium-term might be a mosaic of positive and negative values, depending on the mode of incorporation. Taken together, the relations between each determinant are similar to findings in previous studies in western developed countries. However, it is also revealed that Japan has simultaneously experienced multiple modes of incorporating immigrants; in other words, a “structured settlement” as a feature in a “new” country of immigration.

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Presented in Poster Session 1

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