Education woes beset Brazilian children

Symposium highlights the need for comprehensive planning in the face of growing immigration

Hidenori Sakanaka, director of the Japan Immigration Policy Institute, said Japan should be prepared to raise the ratio of foreign immigrants to 10 percent of the population in the next 50 years as the population rapidly declines.

Sakanaka stressed that immigration policy should place importance on nurturing the talents of newcomers by providing more education and training opportunities.

“There is also a need for a change in the Japanese mind-set toward foreigners,” Sakanaka said.

Brazilian lawyer Etsuo Ishikawa, who provides legal advice for the Brazilian community in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, which has the largest population of Brazilians in Japan, said the primary cause of problems besetting the immigrants is the lack of social welfare coupled with unstable employment conditions.

“When the basics of working conditions are met, more parents will be able to appreciate the importance of providing education for their children,” he said.

Ishikawa stressed that direct employment by companies must be promoted as many Brazilians are temporary workers in unstable conditions without social security.

“The government must implement policies that secure the fundamental rights of the people who lead their lives here,” Ishikawa said, adding that giving voting rights to non-Japanese residents in local elections is another important issue that needs consideration.