The article identifies what it calls Japan’s dilemma in its differing official immigration policy with regards to skilled and unskilled workers. It highlights the issue that while, on the one hand, the rapidly increased numbers of illegal workers who do mostly unskilled work threaten Japan with what it calls “adverse effects of foreign migration” Japan’s growing economy, on the other hand, provides the steady demand for this same illegal workforce to continue growing. The article also exhaustively discusses other significant “pull” forces that serve to ultimately attract illegal foreign workers to Japan such as, among others, rising labor costs attributed to the strong yen value and the increasing labor shortage due to the consistently dropping birth rate. Conversely, the “push” factors such as the deteriorating economic conditions in less developed Asian countries are also well discussed.
Situating its analysis within the context of the Japanese immigration system and the economic and social factors that this system attempts to respond to, it discusses the key issues influencing Japan’s policy toward migrant laborers such as, among others, the fear by local Japanese laborers of their wage levels dropping, of deteriorating working conditions, of the risk of economic dependence on migrant workers and even the fear of whether the Japanese society is ready to accept an external group to be part of the Japanese society.
The article concludes that both the political, economic and educational/academic sectors in Japan have no consensus on how to manage the opposing and varying factors that have given rise to the current situation of large numbers of illegal workers in Japan. In spite of that lack of consensus, the article stresses that inaction will by itself constitute a “de facto immigration policy” that may not be necessarily promote a human working and social environment for the current and future migrant workers that cannot be stopped from entering Japan.
While the article provides factual data for its assertions, it relies principally on the economic “pull-push” migration perspective and may have done well to highlight more fully a number of social effects to an increasingly multi-cultural labor force (i.e. the sharing of best practices across various cultures and industries, a continued benchmarking of work standards, etc). Clearly, the article’s assertions may need to be updated and re-validated given that it was written nearly two decades back. Its value though can be seen by the fact that it shows the historical conditions and arguments that form the bases of Japan’s present day (circa 2009) immigration policy.
2. Wood, W.B., (1994). Forced Migration: Local Conflicts and International Dilemmas. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 84, 607-634.
This article presents another kind of irregular migrant, the forced migrant, who flee their home countries due to natural calamities or persecution. It clarifies the varying impetus to forced migration that define, in turn, the varying types of forced migrants – namely: anticipatory flows, that is, those who flee based on a decision to protect themselves from a deteriorating condition, and acute flows, that is, those who are forced to flee from an impending disaster. It further makes the important distinction that not all forced migrants cross international borders, the larger volume in fact becoming forced migrants within their own country.
The article argues that the preoccupation with mandatory repatriation and deportation which only aggravates the human condition of the refugees without addressing the root causes of their becoming forced migrants must be addressed by more a more effective and expanded United Nations body and international non-government organizations.
The article is useful in that it expands the scope of irregular migration as not just being due to economic reasons but also being due to natural causes, political, cultural and social repression.
3. Hanson, G.H., (2006). Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States. Journal of Economic Literature, 44, 869-924.
This article uses various quantitative approaches to analyzing newly available data to create more accurate demographic profiles of illegal and legal migrants from Mexico to the USA. One significant assertion of the author is that illegal migrants comprise one-third to one-half of new immigrant inflows to the USA, and that they are more likely to be female. It argues that there is a need to highlight the life cycle behavior of an immigrant from illegal entry to finding work and to eventually going back to his home country and back again to the immigrant country.
The author concludes that the immigration policy of the USA needs to be rationalized in terms of why it is now moving towards amnesty for irregular migrants after having spent so much in enforcing and keeping migrants out.
The author’s analysis using quantitative methods to make deductions on the profile of migrants is useful for my planned topic as it shows that in fact, in spite of the lack of direct data, one can use various data sources to describe fairly well the profile of a migrant group.
4. Haas, H., (2007). Turning the Tide? Why Development Will Not Stop Migration. Development and Change, 38, 819–841.
The article discusses the ineffectiveness of the immigration policies of the US and EU in stopping immigration from Africa and Latin America. It argues that, in fact, the perceived proactive or “smart solutions, “ that is, the promotion of trade, remittances, and other international aid to emigration countries, has in fact ironically had the effect of increasing immigration volumes, in the short- and medium-term.
One main thesis of the article is that migration has become increasingly difficult to manage due to its globalized character and the effect of transnational networks in making migrants more resilient and adaptive to immigration countries’ policies.
This article is helpful to the present study in that it presents an alternative view that in fact irregular migration is part of the process of globalization process and cannot be “managed” effectively with policies that do not inherently recognize the features of the global economic integration.
5. Geddes, A., (2005). Chronicle of a Crisis Foretold: The Politics of Irregular Migration, Human Trafficking and People Smuggling in the UK. BJPIR, 7, 324–339.
This article highlights that current confusion and contradictory nature of the categories of migration employed by the UK. It argues that in fact because of the current association or linking of migration issues with now the “war on terror”, migration has become a regular part of the bilateral relations of UK with other countries.
This article’s perspective is helpful in that it presents a way by which migration has managed to mainstream itself in the consciousness of bilateral relations between countries, that is, due in large part to the current flavor of “war on terror.”
6. Rajaram, P.K., Grundy-Warr, C., (2004). The Irregular Migrant as Homo Sacer: Migration and Detention in Australia, Malaysia, and Thailand. International Migration, 42, 33-65.
This article shifts attention away from the macro perspective, that is, economics, globalization, policies, that majority of migration studies apply, applying instead a unique view on the individual, irregular migrant’s detention and how this provides an insight into the political norms of immigrant countries, particularly Australia, Malaysia and Thailand. The article argues that the concept of “homo sacer,” as applied by immigrant countries, leads to the view that “regular and irregular” are two distinct categories, thus creating the basis of abusive and unfair treatment of irregular migrants especially during detention.
The article concludes how the international body of nations must step in and apply its influence on the territorial state which applies repressive treatment of irregular migrants.
This article is helpful in that it again provides the basis for the international human rights regime’s role in tempering what most nation states perceive is their sole power over treatment methods of irregular migrants.
7. Brennan, E. M., (1984). Irregular Migration: Policy Responses in Africa and Asia. International Migration Review, 18, 409-425.
This article attempts to find commonalities between the current migration policies in both developed and developing countries, highlighting a convergence of ways by which these policies are verbalized and eventually created and implemented. The author finds that regional groups of countries or aggregations of countries with similar development levels show similar features to their current immigration policies.
Focusing on the Africa and Asia, the author concludes that policies have mostly been reactive and largely ineffective particularly in attempting to curb the exodus of irregular migrants from their borders into those of immigrant countries. This ineffectiveness can be traced to their vested interests in laying claim to the fruits of their emigrants’ labor such as, among others, the needed remittances channeled back to the home countries.
The value of the article to the current study is in its historical perspective of the migration policies of Asia and Africa.
8. Palidda, S., (2005). Migration between Prohibitionism and the Perpetuation of Illegal Labour. Migration between Prohibitionism and the Perpetuation of Illegal Labour. History and Anthropology, 16, 63–73.
This article’s main argument states that niche economic conditions in immigrant countries have been largely the source of demand for irregular migrants. It highlights the uneven relations of power between source and destination countries of migrants, arguing that this has, in the particular case of the period after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, resulted in the “criminalization of migrants from Muslim countries.”
The article is helpful to the present study in that it acknowledges that policy formulation to better manage illegal migration must contend with the uneven relations of power between countries and that, to be effective, policies must somehow be able to strike a balance between the oftentimes conflicting interests of involved countries.
9. Skeldon, R., (2000). Trafficking: A Perspective from Asia. International Migration, Special Issue, 8-30.
This article grapples with the difficult subject of trafficking, showing it to be essentially a business and one that interplays with key issues within the affected countries such as democratization, inter-state relations, and human rights issues, among others.
The essentially argues that since trafficking is a business, policies targeted to limit this source of cheap migrant labor will most probably be ineffective in as much as those who are in power, charged with creating and implementing these policies, are most likely from the same group of entrepreneurs that will stand to benefit from the continuation of trafficking.
The article is helpful in that it provides an enlightening insight into the largely conflicting interests of policy makers and government regulators in the management of trafficking.
10. Monzini, P., (2007). Sea-Border Crossings: The Organization of Irregular Migration to Italy. Mediterranean Politics, 12, 163–184.
This article investigates the various travel routes taken by irregular migrants as they enter Italy, focusing on the illegal organizations that are responsible for running these complex operations. It tracks the development of these routes and the simultaneous development of the organizations that run them, identifying three distinct phases of their development, namely: professionalization, articulation of new techniques and route withdrawal and refocus on other geographical areas.
This article is helpful in that it provides an in-depth understanding of the organizational requirements of running an illegal migrant recruitment operation, thus providing policy makers with a more scientific basis of policy options.
11. Jordan, B., & Duvell, F. (2002). Irregular Migration: The Dilemmas of Transnational Mobility. MA, USA: Edwared Elgar Press.
This book investigates the complex facets of irregular migration within 6 major themes, namely: mobility and the global economy, reconciling political welfare with economic welfare for both migrants and local members of communities, the justification of border controls, alternatives to chanelling economic migration, welfare systems and global distributive justice. Using in-depth case studies mainly from the UK, it argues that mobility is an inherent feature of globalization yet states have not institutionalized corresponding processes to facilitate it more fairly.
The scope of the book is clearly limited to only the UK case so that using its arguments will have to be qualified specifically within this single case.
12. Piper, N., (2004). Rights of Foreign Workers and the Politics of Migration in South-East and East Asia. International Migration, 42, 71-96.
This article looks at current issues among migrants in South-East and East Asia and argues that the protection of migrant rights can be achieved only within the context of a micro- and macro-approach. The author focuses on the issue of the difficulty in the ratification of the United Nations Convention on Migrants' Rights (ICMR) and concludes that it is mainly a lack of political will on the part of the ratifying countries.
13. Dauvergne, C., (2008). Making People Illegal: What Globalization Means for Migration and Law. New York: Cambridge University Press.
The author approaches the issue of illegal migration by highlighting its varied legal aspects as it relates to globalization. tackling concrete topics such as human trafficking, refugees and terrorism, the author argues that one can understand the nature of the globalization of today by looking at how migration law interplays within illegal migrant issues. While the author's exposition of the role of migration law in illegal migration and globalization is fairly comprehensive, the readers may need to incorporate other theoretical perspectives in order to holistically contextualize illegal migration within the complex myriad of issues surrounding it.
14. Tannenbaum, M., (2007). Back and Forth: I mmigrants’ Stories of Migration and Return. International Migration, 45 (5), 147-175.
15. Zhang, S., (2008). Chinese Human Smuggling Organizations: Families, Social Networks, and Cultural Imperatives. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.
16. Lefebvre, S., Susin, L.C, (Eds.), (2008). Migration In A Global World. London: SCM Press.
17. Douglass, M, Roberts, G.S, (Eds.), (2000). Japan and Global Migration. London: Routledge.
18. Gill, T, (2001). Men Of Uncertainty. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
19. Fowler, E, (1996). San'ya Blues : Laboring Life in Contemporary Tokyo. Ithaca, NY : Cornell University Press.
20. Shipper, A.W., (2008). Fighting for Foreigners: Immigration and Its Impact on Japanese Democracy. Ithaca, NY : Cornell University Press.