Sunday, September 7, 2014

Bilog Salary Baseline

Income is realized as a confluence of social variables is consummated, if you will, by reflexive choices.  In what specific ways does “bilogness” insert itself into income generation?

Bingo and Subaru attest to a feverish employees’ market during their early years in Japan (late 80s and early 90s).  Recruiters, they narrated, would begin offering work the moment they stepped out of trains, the quoted salary starting at ¥13,000/day eventually increasing to ¥18,000/day as you approached the station exit.  Yet the impact of this contextual variable (recall the contextual theme discussed above) on bilog work choices and duration seemed to be secondary to one’s social network.

Let’s scrutinize the four cases further.

While Bingo and Subaru both tried multiple blue-collar jobs at different periods, only one or two of those were their major jobs which they kept for years on end.  Boy’s case is notable in that he stayed in one job for his entire nine years in Japan.  Yumi would have persevered as an entertainer for her entire tenure had she not changed residence status midstream into Child of Japanese, also thru bogus documentation.  Taken together average yearly salary baseline is ¥1.8million (see Textbox 6).

All these jobs were secured thru direct referrals from members of their social networks.  Undeniably, contacts would have no jobs to refer if the economy were down.  In this sense, contextual factors indirectly bear down on “bilogness.”  But neither can bilogs access labor markets directly given their lack of documentation.   The default, and in most cases, the only, actionable option would be to tap into networks in the job searching process.  Unlike legal migrants, bilogs cannot make cold applications for job openings without any referral.

One could say then that while contextual factors may influence the general outcome of a job search in that an economic downturn might lessen the overall number of available jobs, the job searching process in “bilogness” nevertheless persists as the vitality of their social networks is independent of the volume of available jobs.  Stated differently, as bilogs reflexively mobilize social networks in their job searching – one result of which may be that no job is found – their activation of their networks already, by itself, cultivates it, regardless of the result of the search.

Thus “Bilogness” – constituted by the state as a zero-sum feature, that is, that its intended benefit to the host country comes at the cost of the effective excision of bilogs from full labor market participation – seems to position its constituting parts in specific ways that, when in full interaction, cause its emergent properties to manifest.

Elder-Vass (2008, p.284-285) explains this relational aspect of emergence:

Wholes are emergent when they possess emergent properties, and properties of wholes are emergent if they would not be possessed by their parts, were those parts not organized into such a whole. … It is the particular relations that exist between the parts when they are organized into just this sort of whole that lead to the whole being more than the sum of its parts, in the sense that the whole has properties that the parts would not have if they were not organized into this sort of whole. 

That a ¥1.8million yearly salary baseline was realized suggests that some resulting arrangement or alignment of the constituting parts is in play, subverting, if not, indeed, emerging from, the zero-sum that is “bilogness.”   Social networks, as one among many invested parts in “bilogness,” upon reflexive activation by bilogs, align themselves into a positive role in their income generation.   This will be discussed further below.

Relational emergence may also clarify the constitution of “bilogness” within Coniglio et al’s “skill waste” concept.  With the exception of Yumi who received pre-departure training, Bingo, Boy and Subaru learned their job skills in Japan.  Bingo became quite adept at assembly and production processes of bicycles, rubber and cement; Boy eventually mastered all Japanese dishes offered in the menu; Subaru became a master baker.  Learning skills on-the-job, however, is not enhanced by a migrant’s lack of legal status.  

“Bilogness” uniquely qualifies skill waste in that employment status (and thus security and income) remains static despite skills acquisition over long tenures.  We may say that this qualification is relationally significant because the process of worker training is designed a little differently in other work situations.  Yamanaka (1973, p.75) explains that the Japanese make a distinction between “unskilled labor” (hijukuren rodo) and “skilled-labor-to-be” (mijukuren rodo).  The former are those employed as temporary workers in smaller companies doing manual, repetitive tasks with no expected vertical path in skill and status.  The latter are those newly-employed for the long haul by larger companies and, as such, they undergo a skills acquisition program.

Bilogs, with their specific characteristics (recall discussion on comparative theme), now enter into this pre-arranged distinction and – regardless even if it is applied to both local and foreign workers with legal status – further compound the resulting interplay.  Bingo, Boy and Subaru began as hijukuren rodo(unskilled labor) – as they learned their craft in the early years – but their “bilogness” predisposed them to be utilized as senmon rodo (skilled labor) – becoming a skilled production worker, master cook and master baker—but with the pay and status of the tanjun sagyo (unskilled labor).

Relational emergence in “bilogness” then clarifies that skill waste may be more aptly renamed “skills transformation” to capture its embedded, emergent aggregation of three processes:  first, underemployment, second, cheap skills, and third, skill expansion.

Ultimately, we say that this relationally predisposed “bilogness” in income generation becomes emergent because the reflexive choices made by bilogs to remedy this situation presents new, ensuing realities.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Irregular Migration and the Democratisation Process: A Postregular Challenge to the Nation State [DISCUSSION PAPER]

First published in ejcjs on 30 July 2014: Volume 14, Issue 2 (Discussion 6 in 2014).

States have tried nearly all possible interventions at keeping migration within the parameters of the “regular” process, yet irregular migrants persist.  The legal status of irregular migrants, or the lack of it, formally excludes them from virtually all aspects of the host society, yet they successfully endure.  Are they simply existing on the periphery or can they be seen as playing a role in the democratisation processes of the nation states that they find themselves in?

This paper presents six cases of Filipino irregular migrants in Japan, each building innovative and practical survival tactics and strategies, enabling them to persevere in Japan, even thriving to hitherto unreached potential when a confluence of societal forces cooperated with their own investments of effort, diligence, sacrifice and guts.
By re-interpreting the experiences of irregular migrants and contrasting these with the struggles and issues of regular migrants, the author argues that former act as a foil through which the latter’s democratisation processes – or their struggle toward the acquisition, institutionalization and expansion of their rights within the democratic system – are enhanced and facilitated.  This role as foil can be seen to represent a new kind of challenge – distinct from those discussed in current literature, that of the postnationalist and multicultural challenges – to the sovereignty of the nation state, that is, a postregular challenge.

Irregular migrants[1] would seem to be invisible on several fronts.  Not only are their numbers essentially unknown but there is a dearth of knowledge on substantive issues concerning irregulars such as, among others, voluntary exile and its effects on well-being, returning irregulars and their propensities, social status germane to their legal status, or lack of it, and its interplay on motivation, perseverance and ensuing self-concept or identity.  While it is possible to attribute the information scarcity on the above-listed themes to varying researcher preferences, it is harder to imagine the wanting visibility of irregular migrants in discourses on migration and democracy.
This paper presents case studies of Filipino irregular migrants in Japan, each case varying in key aspects of the Bilog[2] lifecycle such as survival strategies, regularization outcomes, capture, detention and deportation experiences.  These experiences are then interpreted within the context of a democratization process, arguing that irregular migrants despite their legal status are able to negotiate thru various hurdles created by what Japan terms as its control of immigration, and are thus as invested in transacting with the nation-state as regular migrants.  The first section attempts to cull out theoretical links to irregular migrants from within the current discourses on regular migrants and democracy.  This is then followed by a discussion on a sub-group data sampling of my research, attempting to map out some empirical bases to these theoretical links.  It is the aim of this paper to suggest areas where migration and democracy narratives can venture to include those of irregular migrants, in the end proposing a perspective which I call a postregular citizenship route.
1.         Irregular Migrants and Democratisation
If one exists, an Order Of Battle for irregular (economic) migrants would read as follows: enter, stay undetected, work, remit.  High on the list of other things a Bilog would consider are personal networks of family or friends already in the target host country, current policies and restrictions on leaving and entry and current cash on hand.  Worries on policies and restrictions may often be skipped altogether, leaving this entirely to the many migration agents that abound in labor-rich countries.  A more cautious Bilog may want to have some kind of assurance that a job will be waiting for him at a destination country before he decides to leave.  A more fatalistic Bilog will find the port-to-port[3] deal of migration agents sufficiently attractive.  An experienced Bilog, especially one that has already gone full circle, may have a more detailed Order Of Battle in his mind (see Text Box 1 below).
But, it may be more the case that farthest on the mind of a Bilog-in-the-making is that the moment he successfully breaches a host country’s borders, he will be entitled to a certain minimum level of  treatment, or gain access to a core set of social services available to all those who are physically present within a state’s jurisdiction.  A parallel can be drawn in the argument for human rights being innate to one’s personhood and thus are claimable not just by citizens but by all those within its borders (Kessler 2009). 
Indeed, for the Bilog, half of the war may be over if the battle for illegal entry is won, bringing us to the first hurdle in the proposed theoretical links in the discourse on migration and democracy and irregular and regular migrants.  Can one still argue a gap between the obligation of the state to protect human rights and what can be perceived or interpreted to be harsh immigration control practices if the claimant is in violation of the sovereign’s laws?  Stated differently, does lack of legal status justify a repressive immigration regime?
In sorting out this dilemma, reflecting on who has legal status and how that legal status relates to the state’s interaction with those in its jurisdiction may be a good start.  By the term “legal status” I mean having an explicit right to be physically present in a country.  Short-term travelers for personal (tourists) or official (business or government) reasons, students, migrant workers and their families or dependents, long-time or permanent residents and, needless to say, local citizens have legal status.  Regardless of legal status, all those in violation of local laws are punished but only foreigners and migrants may be subject to deportation.  Holding for a moment the thought that even law breakers are afforded a minimum set of dignities called human rights, we will now look closer into what constitutes citizenship.
If people within a state’s borders were to queue according to a pecking order of rights and privileges, citizens would be first, migrants second, but is it at all conceivable that Bilogs would be in that queue?  Or are they excluded, by default, as they are not considered members of the polity?  Do they not belong?  While the physical existence of irregular migrants within a state’s borders is beyond contest, whether their networks formed, local community integration and their tenure result to the social membership (Hagan 2006), solidarity and belongingness (Kessler 2009) that citizens are theorized to have in relation to the state needs to be demonstrated. That the primary motivation of Bilogs is economic and that they perform jobs and gainful activities is beyond debate, but whether they attribute the same shared understandings and memories (Tilly, 2006, as cited in Kessler 2009) that citizens attribute to similar actions needs to be illuminated.
Having no legal status and considered to be the farthest away from citizenship, can it be argued that Bilogs play an essential, integral part – a foil, if you will – in democratisation, clarifying if not enhancing, complementing if not maximizing the processes of acquiring, institutionalizing and expanding (Kessler 2009) personal, social, civil, cultural, economic and political rights for all persons within a state’s borders? 
Formal exclusion from various rights does not negate the Bilog’s need for these critical, life-sustaining services.  On the contrary, it effectively forces innovation and improvisation by the affected group, even galvanizing those who, by virtue of ethnic ties, blood relations or narrow commercial interests, may be sympathetic to the Bilog’s plight.  Thus, in fact, ironically, exclusion of Bilogs by the host state strengthens, if anything, their inclusion, their deeper integration into the local community, anchored, primarily by their ethnic community, secondarily by the local community (of nationals) and, thirdly by vested local interests.  Empirical evidence of this theorized reverse effect is proffered through the case studies presented in the next section.
There is no greater affront to the authority of the state than the breaking of its laws.  That this is done by non-residents and non-citizens would be like rubbing salt on a wounded nation-state.  The transgression of irregular migrants thus, seen through this perspective, is worse than, say, when parents’ rules are broken by children who enjoy legitimate membership, sincere belongingness and full solidarity to that family.  In the pecking order of challengers to a nation’s sovereignty irregular migrants would be first, regular migrants second and citizens would be last. 
Yet current discourses focus not on the ultimate defiance from irregular migrants but rather on indirect, relatively benign challengers to the nation-state.  As regular migrants grow new roots in their foreign host country, they are also found to keep and even enhance their ethnic ties with their homeland, cultivating recurring and long-term cross-border relationships spanning social, cultural, political and, most significantly, economic activities. This postnational challenge (Sosyal, 1994, and Jacobson, 1996, as cited in Koopmans and Statham 1999) is theorized to be lessening the relevance and importance of the nation-state as loyalties and allegiances are divided among now two sovereigns – mostly on a symbolic and personal basis but, recently gaining in prominence, now also formally through dual citizenship (Bloemraad 2004).  Furthermore, as international migration forces nation-states to confront the realities of multiple groups of residents with differing value systems, the process of governing becomes multicultural in focus, that is, rules, laws and rights are now specialized according to the needs of each specific group (Kymlicka, 1995, as cited in Koopmans and Statham 1999). 
I contend that the theorized postnational and multicultural challenges are indirect and benign because they both work within the current and dominant national citizenship mode.  Any gains or losses in rights or privileges by regular migrants or citizens are made within the current legal regime.  But what if the reality of irregular migration hints to another kind of challenge to the nation-state – one that we may refer to as postlegal or postregular challenge?

Irregular Migration – beginnings of postregular challenge to the nation state? Transcending what each host country defines as its own “regular process” of migration, those primarily involved in the postregular challenge -- the irregular migrants -- carve out their own niches in societies that shut them out formally, ban them legally, recognize them tacitly, utilize them specifically, benefit from them stubbornly yet pardon them sparingly. While postnationalism and multiculturalism find its citizens struggle for full political rights, postregular actors stake their claim to more fundamental social and civil rights arising from an already-practiced-but-not-recognized economic right, the right to work.  Postregular actors thrive in the juncture created between a number of opposing and complementary societal forces the main ones of which are, among others, vested local interests, unofficially cooperating local enforcement agencies, a local population often viewed as defensive and protective of their turf as national citizens and, most significantly, strict immigration control policies.  Hollified (2004) describes a similar juncture, which he calls a “liberal paradox” in which the migration state negotiates through often polarized and asymmetrical forces of globalization on the one hand and political and security exigencies on the other.  
This section suggested a number of theoretical links between irregular migration and democracy, as follows:
1.         The nation-state’s responsibility to protect human rights applies to all persons within its borders regardless of legal status.  Therefore a migrant’s irregular status is not a justification for repressive immigration practices.
2.         Irregular migrants may very well be involved in the democratisation process and be experiencing in equal if not more intense levels the components of citizenship but are excluded from it due to lack of legal status.
3.         The realities of irregular migration mirror, simultaneously, the limits of state power and the resilience of migrants under threat, contributing to the democratisation process.
4.  The persistence of irregular migrants represent a postregular challenge to the nation-state’s regime of immigration regularity.

2.         Case Studies of Japan Bilogs
This section will present six case studies of Filipino irregular migrants in Japan.  I established contact with these six respondents by employing three basic search strategies, as follows:  Own Search[OS][Pia], Introduced by Individuals[IBI][Subaru, Manong, Iking, Etimo] and Introduced by Organization[IBO][Billy].  In certain ways, the depth and breadth of information that is shared by the respondent varies, as trust and confidence is mostly defined initially by the search strategy employed.  OS searches entailed going to clubs and bars in Manila and finding Japanese-speaking guest relations officers (GRO) and asking if they had previously been to Japan.  IBI searches involved asking individual members of the local Filipino community in my research areas if they could point me to irregular migrants.  IBO searches entailed direct introductions by organizations helping irregular migrants.
Table 1 below shows a summary profile of the six Bilog cases presented in this paper.  The respondents include current and past Bilogs, those who were regularized (authentic and bogus) and those who were deported.
Etimo. Etimo decided to go to Japan and work because his youngest child had a congenital heart disease and a large amount of money was needed for a critical operation.  His visa application was denied three times but finally given a temporary visitor visa in 2006 on his 4th application – with the reason of going to Japan as his Father’s caretaker for a medical consultation.  His elder sister, married to a Japanese national, signed as his guarantor.  His job involves demolition of houses and buildings to make space for new structures.  He got this job through the recommendation of his Japanese brother-in-law, and has since stayed in that same company.  He has slowly gained the trust and confidence of his Japanese boss through sheer hard work – he never says no when he is called to work (declaring his availability 24 hours x365 days in a year). 
He has also learned to differentiate his work style and method from his other workmates (both locals and other foreigners, also irregular), allowing himself to be consistently retained in the on-call, active worker list.  He is paid ¥10,000 for 8 hours work though his preferred status in the company has earned him a number of privileges such as getting paid the full day’s salary despite a job getting done early, or getting paid a full day’s salary just to keep him in the available worker list which can be called anytime.  He declares that his Japanese bosses themselves protect and keep him from being arrested. 
He is very careful when he is out walking in public, taking extra care to avoid places where policemen are known to regularly do inspections.  He declares that as a Bilog, avoidance of any kind of trouble is the most important strategy to staying undetected.  The year 2011 will be his 5th year as a Bilog and he says he is ready to be arrested anytime, stressing that getting deported is inevitable and only a question of fate, always keeping money in his pocket so that he can avoid long detention and fly straight home from the moment he is caught.
Billy. Billy came to Japan as young teenager, trying to avoid some brewing personal trouble in Manila.  His Aunt in Japan paid for his bogus passport and bogus visa, and he entered successfully in 1986 under an assumed name.  He eventually met and married another Bilog who was a former entertainer.  Their daughter, born in Japan and now 16yrs old, speaks mostly Japanese and wants to become a doctor.  Billy started as a construction worker starting at ¥6,000 per day and eventually working up to a salary of ¥15,000 per day.  He got into a number of work accidents but was able to get the needed medical attention from Japanese hospitals.  He was even allowed to pay for the hospital bills through installment payments with a guarantee from his Japanese employer.  Billy and his wife surrendered in 2008, asking for pardon and that they be allowed to stay in Japan.  With the help of a Filipino organization, they were able to obtain legal assistance and they were eventually given allowed to stay, now being given full legal status.  He was a Bilog for a total of 23 years.
Iking. Iking has been a Bilog twice already for a combined total of 5 years.  His first attempt to enter Japan was unsuccessful as they were arrested at the Narita airport and immediately deported.  The agency that helped him with fabricated passports and assumed names put him on another plane to Japan just after one week, this time successfully getting past immigration as a Filipino businessman attending a Japanese trade fair.  His sister and her Japanese husband helped him find a job in the construction industry.  Iking worked hard to develop his technical skills in that construction job, knowing that he needed to compete with both local and foreign workers.  He soon specialized in handling steel, his salary peaking at ¥20,000 per day with an overtime rate of ¥3,000 per hour.  The 1997 financial crisis hit the construction industry hard by 1998 and he decided to surrender and try his luck again in the Philippines. 
The transport business he set up in the Philippines proved to be insufficient to support the growing expenses of his family.  He thus attempted his luck again in Japan, this time entering legally through the Trainee system using his real name and with authentic travel documents.  He was subjected to a lot of work discrimination during his stint as a Trainee.  He decided to escape at the end of his 6 month contract.  He got sick of Hepatitis and was able to get the needed medical attention from Japanese hospitals.
In order to legalize his stay, he entered into a second marriage with a Filipina permanent resident, with the full knowledge and permission of his first wife in the Philippines.  To do this he had records of his marriage in the Philippines erased in the records section itself and so subsequent certifications – fully authentic and legitimate documents – showed him to be single.  He consistently sends financial support to his family in the Philippines.  He is currently paid ¥13,000 per day in his job still at the construction sector.
Manong.  Manong was a ship cook earning US$250 per month in 1990.  When his boat docked at Chiba, his Filipino Bilog friends would always enjoin him to jump ship and join them working as helpers in the construction industry earning ¥10,000yen a day which was an easy 6 or 7 times higher when compared to his salary as a cook.  In 1995 he entered as a tourist and overstayed his visa, working in Shizuoka as a fish cutter.  He met a Japanese lady, entered into a convenience marriage with her through manufactured documents showing his singleness.  This marriage legalized his status in Japan, but things soured for them very quickly and he decided to return home to the Philippines.  In Manila, he then met another Filipina with Japanese descent and through manufactured passports and an assumed name entered into another marriage arrangement with her.  Both marriages were done with the full consent of his first wife in the Philippines.  Manong currently works at a hotel in Japan, earning a salary of ¥12,000 per day, consistently sending money to the Philippines.
Subaru.  I met Subaru while he was still in Japan, already on this 18th year as a Bilog.  He was arrested in June and deported in July of 2010.  Rising family expenditures pushed Subaru to leave his wife and three daughters in 1992, entering Japan on a 3-day shore pass, with the express intention to overstay.  He initially hid out with his cousin in Gifu. 
Subaru worked for a total of 10 years in a bakery, through 4 stints punctured by short intermissions in between where he tried out jobs in construction and a belt factory.   His salary at the bakery peaked at ¥250,000 a month on his 8th year.
Subaru cohabitated with three Filipina permanent residents in Japan.  He explains that he never considered marrying any of them in order to gain legal status in Japan as he had always planned to return back to his family in the Philippines.  He got addicted to gambling and to drinking, mostly due to his loneliness as he explains, and this negatively affected the regularity and amount of his remittances.  Years would pass and he would not contact his family, causing his wife and daughters to be alienated from him.
At the time I met him he had been living alone in a doya (cheap workers lodging hostel) for the last 5 years, but had been fortunate to still have a regular job at a construction company, earning ¥13,000 a day. He was arrested during an inspection at a local street market conducted by policemen not from his locality.  While in detention his diabetes started acting up and medical attention came only after a number of days when he suffered the pain.  This caused him to miss the deadline to appeal the decision to deport him.
Now back in the Philippines he is struggling to restart his life.  Alienated from his family, he lives alone with his mother in their province of Bulacan.
Pia.  Pushed by family need and by a good friend who had gone ahead as an entertainer, Pia first entered Japan in 2002, and completed a total of four, 6-month stints as an entertainer.  Earning ¥10,000 a day, she courageously supported eleven people back in the Philippines (her father and his second wife and their 3 children, and her elder sister and her husband and their four children) who were completely dependent on her income. In 2004 while waiting in the Philippines for her 5th 6-month stint as entertainer, she worked in a Philippine night club where she met a Japanese club owner who helped her enter Japan the succeeding year under an assumed name with a visa as a child of a Japanese national. She worked in his club this time as a regular employee but with a salary of only ¥80,000 yen per month.
She eventually returned to working as an entertainer as it paid much better, as she explained, contacting her previous Japanese contacts who gladly accepted her back.
In 2008, she then overstayed her one-year visa as a child of a Japanese national.  In got into two simultaneous relationships with two Japanese men (43 and in order for her housing and living costs to be covered. She was arrested in April 2010 based on a tip from a Filipina who was getting back at the Japanese owner of the club who had fathered her child.
3.         Bilogs as Foil in Democratisation Processes
These experiences of the six Bilogs, now arranged in the sequence of the hypothetical Bilog Order of Battle as shown in lower portion of Diagram 1 on the next page, assume a different plane of significance when viewed within the context of Filipino regular migrants. 
The upper part (above the arrow) of Diagram 1 lists a number of current issues faced by Filipino regular migrants in Japan.  These issues can be said to be at various stages of their struggle for the acquisition, institutionalization or expansion of their rights – or the democratisation process (Kessler 2009) – and Bilog experiences act as a foil that highlights key points of the issues in contention.  The next section shows two examples of this foiling process on fair work conditions and protection from spousal abuse.
Fair Work Conditions.  Legal Filipino workers seek better working arrangements and conditions, arguing that salaries are low and various conditions attached to winning regular work status are unfair.  Caregivers receive an average of ¥125,000yen a month as salary and are required to pass the government exam given in the Japanese language.  Trainees are given an average salary of ¥80,000 yen a month. Both groups cite being subjected to very long working hours with very low or no overtime pay.  Viewed against the foil of irregular migrants, their claims-making may have some bases.  The salaries reported by Iking, Subaru, Etimo and Billy for blue-collar labor in year 2009 ranges from ¥10,000 to ¥15,000 per day or a monthly salary ranging from ¥200,000 to ¥300,000 at only 20 working days per month.  Not even considering that caregivers and trainees are considered by the Japanese government as skilled, white collar work and that as legal workers they are should be theoretically treated several notches higher than irregular, blue-collar workers, why are their salaries about 35%-60% lower than those of my Bilog respondents?
Diagram 1: Order of Battle Experiences of Irregular Migrants as Foil in Democratisation Processes of Regular Migrants
A 2009 survey conducted by the Japan Immigration Bureau among arrested overstayers shows that three out of five irregular migrant workers earn between ¥5,000 to ¥9,999 per day (see Table 2 below).    Using this official figures, Filipino caregivers and trainees can still validly argue that, at a minimum, the salaries they are receiving are still lower or at least equal to irregular migrant workers.
Table 2:  Illegal Work by Salary and Gender, 2009
Moreover, beyond just plain comparison of wage levels, another issue that is brought to the fore is whether caregivers and trainees are taking for granted the value of their legal status or if they are forgetting that, in today’s globally competitive workplace, getting what is due you is beyond just claims-making but, more importantly, value-showing.  Iking and Etimo emphasize how Bilogs fight tooth and nail to overcome the handicaps due to their lack of legal status.  Competition and striving to add value to their labour are principles that are not lost upon Bilogs.  Etimo cites that he routinely works on weekends and on holidays and continuously for months on end with no rest day with the objective of differentiating himself from other workers or for building favor in the eyes of his Japanese boss and selective preference when it comes to building the worker list for projects.  Their Bilog experience thus clarifies that the struggle for fair work conditions must include not only claims-making on what is legally due migrant workers but also relentless striving to show an unbeatable competitive edge.  Etimo and Iking have even declared that they are proud to have overcome personal limits both in terms of confidence and skill given the pressures of being a Bilog in an unforgiving and competitive workplace, bringing themselves to even higher levels of performance and achievement.
The Japanese employers of Bilogs also, ironically, fiercely protect and shield their Bilog workers from capture, even going as far as affording them work privileges normally due local workers with regular status (See Diagram 2 below).  Etimo cites how when accidents happen in the workplace, his Japanese boss is the first to warn him to leave immediately to avoid the impending arrival of the police who routinely investigate the work site.  Iking explains how their Japanese bosses assign to them Japanese names to use so as to avoid suspicion and eventual detection when routine inspection of worker lists are done by immigration authorities.  Subaru cites many instances when while on a convoy of cars and the cars ahead of the pack are subjected to inspections or when a road accident happens and police are surely to come, fellow employees and his Japanese boss make sure to call Subaru on the phone, warning the other car to avoid that route or to stop at a rest stop until the trouble tides over.
Diagram 2:  Bilogs as Foil to Fair Work Conditions
While it may be argued that the motivation to protect their Bilog workers is driven primarily by the commercial benefits that employers derive from retaining irregulars, this situation, interpreted against the argued discriminatory work practices on caregivers and trainees, still highlights the inconsistencies, the seemingly conflicted approaches to foreign labor by the Japanese government.  How can it be explained or justified if there is more discrimination in the workplaces of legal migrant workers than in workplaces of Bilogs?
Protection from Spousal Abuse.   Filipinas who are victims of domestic violence struggle to find a support system that goes beyond the fear and stigma of going against the deeply ingrained, male chauvinistic tendencies of the Japanese culture (see Diagram 3).  While there are Filipino support organizations that help victims of domestic violence, it can be said that there is a general censure when it comes to getting into what is perceived to be a personal and private matter between spouses.  Contextualize this difficult situation of victims of domestic violence within the situation of Bilogs may help provide a fresh perspective.
Diagram 3:  Bilogs as Foil to Protection From Spousal Abuse
Bilogs cannot survive without their local compatriot community.  As the stories of Subaru and Pia highlight the most, compatriots are an indispensable safety net.  Reciprocating the favors received from one’s network and cultivating both indebtedness and goodwill among one’s friends, is one of the most critical survival strategies of Bilogs.
Etimo and Iking share how they consciously disseminate information on available part-time, sideline jobs to those who have previously helped them or to those who they know can help them in the future.  This they see as a way of continuously cultivating one’s network of contacts knowing full well that everyone always reaches a point when one needs help and that, most especially in the Bilog situation, the only persons one can lean on are compatriots.
Manong and Subaru also cited how health cards are routinely lent by legal migrants who are able to religiously pay the monthly fees to both regular and irregular migrants, allowing 70% lower health costs for those currently in need of medical attention.  Etimo, Iking and Billy noted that relatives and friends in Japan have provided them a network of safe-houses that they could always go to as a last resort despite the well-known risks and negative implications of harboring irregular migrants at one’s home.  Lodging and other critical utilities such as mobile phones and internet access subscriptions are often secured by Bilogs through proxy representation by compatriot regular migrants.
Iking and Etimo explain how the early warning network among Filipinos has helped them during countless times to proactively avoid arrest or even just the risk of detection.  This early warning network is an informal yet highly reliable system where currently mobile Filipinos call or text ahead to known Bilogs to avoid train stations or bus stations or any other public place where they see spot inspections being conducted by immigration or where police presence is heightened due to some public event or accident.
Interestingly, it is also commonly noted that since the value of help and favors extended to Bilogs are often beyond simple and straightforward valuation, the method and amount of reciprocation of favors or the length of the period of indebtedness by a recipient of help is also hard to establish.  The cumulative effect of this is that the Bilogs and the community stay in a state of perpetual interdependence, mutual assistance and co-indebtedness. 
To be sure, not all Filipinos are helpful, supportive or sympathetic to the situation of Bilogs.  My respondents are quick to stress however that Filipinos who squeal on Bilogs to the immigration are the far exception rather than the rule. 
Seeing this high level of solidarity among compatriots in the case of bilogs, how can actual witnesses or confidants with first-hand information of domestic violence victims resist extending a helping hand?  If Filipinos can come together to help compatriot Bilogs who are in a non-life threatening situation, how much more should they come together for the oftentimes life-threatening situation of victims of domestic violence?  Again, the situation of Bilogs clarify and set a benchmark for how compatriots can and should help out claims-making by Filipina victims of domestic violence.
4.         Conclusion.
This paper began by outlining possible theoretical intersections between, on the one hand, current discourses on migration and democracy and, on the other hand, irregular migration.  These intersections can be found in the way experiences of Bilogs act as a foil to those of regular migrants, in the process clarifying the democratisation process, or the way in which
rights are made to become more fully innate to a claims-making group.  By contributing to the re-interpretation of the democratisation process of regular migrants, irregular migrants and their direct but often only tacitly recognized contribution to the Japanese society would seem to represent  another form of challenge to the nation-state, that is, a postregular one where regardless of legal status – or beyond those conditions set by the sovereign power as constituting the regular process – all migrants within national borders legitimately transact with the state, its citizens and non-citizens, and with others beyond the state’s physical boundaries.
Indeed, this theorized postregular challenge can be argued to originate not only from factors external to the state (that is, through irregular migrants who in fact originate from outside the state) but also from internal societal factors.  These include, among others, the complicit condoning by local authorities of irregular migrants through their inconsistent and, at best, conflicted application of immigration policies and other official stances on foreign worker programs; the continued utilization and benefitting by vested local interests of irregular migrants because of their cheap labor, unbridled work dedication and persistent pursuit of work efficiency.  In this light, this proposed postregular challenge is different from the postnational and multicultural challenges to the nation-state in that it involves self-inflicted damage, if you will, against its own sovereignty.  Further validation needs to be done on whether postregular challenge represents an argument for or against open borders, or the removal of all restrictions on the mobility of people. 
At the very least, I suggest that the postregular challenge to the nation state embodied in the persistent realities of irregular migration establish the fact that the endpoint of democratisation processes is not only a set of rights but more importantly a definition of who is included and who is excluded in that journey.  The current immigration regimes attempt to exclude Bilogs in their democracies but Bilogs nevertheless triumph over these temporary hurdles and prove that they are very much a part of it, whether formally recognized or not.


Bloemraad, I. (2004). Who Claims Dual Citizenship?  The Limits of Postnationalism, the Possibilities of Transnationalism, and the Persistence of Traditional Citizenship.  International Migration Review, Vol. 38, No. 2, pp. 389-426.

Hagan, J. (2006). Negotiating Social Membership in the Contemporary World.  Social Forces,Vol. 85, No. 2, pp. 631-642.

Hollifield, J. (2004). The Emerging Migration State. International Migration Review, Vol. 38, No. 3, Conceptual and Methodological Developments in the Study of International Migration, pp. 885-912.

Kessler, C. (2009). Democratic Citizenship and Labour Migration in East Asia: Mapping Fields of Enquiry. European Journal of East Asian Studies, pp. 181-213.

Koopmans, R. and Statham, P. (1999).  Challenging the Liberal Nation-State?  Postnationalism, Multiculturalism, and the Collective Claims-Making of Migrants and Ethnic Minorities in Britain and Germany.  The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 105, No. 3, pp. 652-696.

[1] The term irregular migrant is used here to refer to irregular economic migrants or those who enter irregularly or stay irregularly, or do both, in a host country in order to work and send money to their dependents.
[2] Filipinos who remain in Japan beyond the period specified in their visas become “overstayers” or, as his local compatriots refer to them, “Bilog.”  Literally meaning “round” in the Filipino vernacular, the term Bilog also equates with the image of a zero, or nothingness, signifying overstayers’ invisibility, their exclusion from the mainstream.
[3] Akin to the door-to-door service of courier companies, a migration agent’s responsibilities end once you successfully get past immigration control at an entry port.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bilog Income Baseline

This section establishes an income baseline of the four bilog cases.  Income is the sum of salary and other income from part-time jobs and other income-generating activities.   Full detail on empirical and secondary data cited below are contained in Table 1 and Table 2 below:

Bingo, Boy, Yumi and Subaru (respondent aliases) entered Japan at their prime, riding on the fast burgeoning, early “gold rush” of sorts of Filipinos into Japan.  With arrivals more than quadrupling in volume (Table 2:A4) and current stocks growing more than six-fold (Table 2:C4) from the previous decade, Bingo, aged 31, and Boy, aged 33, easily slipped thru Japan Immigration in the second half of the 1980s with bogus documents and ulterior motives .   By the 1990s when Subaru, aged 25, bolted his 3-day shore pass and sought refuge with relatives, there was roughly one overstayer for every two resident Filipinos in Japan (Table 2:G5).  Yumi, aged 17 (on documents, aged 20), was among the many Filipinas in the early 2000s – the highest ever volume, three of every five new arrivals(Table 2:F6) – entering Japan as Entertainers.

Both Bingo and Subaru missed out the entirety of their children’s growing years, returning to Manila after nearly two decades of overstaying (19- and 18-years respectively) but for completely opposite reasons.  Bingo had saved up a modest fortune of .7million pesos over an 8-year span – voluntarily surrendered in 2008 – and looked forward to reconstituting his family life now armed with his own capital to start a business.  Subaru had already, for years, been out of touch with his wife and three daughters when he was apprehended in the street, returning to Manila in 2010 with no savings.

Boy and Yumi overstayed  for just short of a decade (9- and 8-years respectively) though their reasons for coming to Japan could not be farther apart.  Boy owned and operated a beauty parlor and its earnings were enough to support himself and his two adopted children, but he wanted more.  He surrendered in 1996 and returned to Manila with approximately 3 million pesos in savings.  Yumi was the sole bread-winner to nine dependents, but was, herself, unmarried.  She was arrested in 2010, returning to Manila with no savings.

Indeed, the four cases represent different motives, varying experiences, contrasting savings outcomes.

Is there a common bilog savings process?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Illegality from Within: The Sustenance of Migrant Illegality in Japan

First published in ejcjs on 31 March 2014: Volume 14, Issue 1 (Article 5 in 2014).


Even more compelling than just the causes of migrant illegality is its ensuing protracted existence in societies avowed to its unilateral suppression.  I attempt to understand this paradox by applying the critical realist view of emergence, arguing that migrant illegality thrives and interfaces at multiple societal levels, thus evolving into more than simply the sum of its component parts, thereby explaining its resilience.  My reflections are drawn from the experiences shared by nine Filipino overstayers in Japan which I juxtapose against the Status of Residence system, highlighting how fully integrated ethnic pockets become what I call an “Illegality From Within” mechanism that serves as both magnet and anchor of migrant illegality.

Deportation is one of the penalties of illegal migration.  An errant migrant is expelled by the society in which he has inserted himself and is returned to the society where he came from.  Penalties are designed to be commensurate with the severity of a crime, hoping to deter future ones and to reform the perpetrator.  If deportation is a penalty, can it be said that expulsion is a solution to the undesired behavior of the migrant?  Or, since migration is about membership, is deportation just enforcement by the sovereign of its membership regulations?  Whether as a penalty or as a sovereign act, does deportation result to reformation of the erring migrant?  Put differently, can the origins of illegal migration be found outside the host country’s borders such that surgical removal of illegal migrants thru deportation stops illegal migration?
This paper revisits the persistence of illegal migration, identifying one core mechanism that sustains migrant illegality from within Japan.   A mechanism, in its crudest form, is a process through which inputs become outputs.  In more complex manifestations, mechanisms involve a confluence of intervening factors that bear down on inputs in ways that create outputs other than those originally envisioned.  Japan’s immigration policies when constituted as process and input, reveal the interlocking variables that conspire to make Japan's illegality regime at once intractable yet emergent: that is to say, transcendent of its constituting parts and transformed by its participating individuals (Archer 1998, p.359-360).
The paper begins with an overview of illegal migration in Japan to better contextualize the current proposed argument on its sustenance from within Japan.  A framework showing both the temporal and spatial aspects of migrant illegality is then proposed to delineate the logic of the arguments presented.  Within this framework, ethnic groups are then argued to have certain characteristics formed through historically-specific circumstances that enable them to become magnets and anchors of migrant illegality, constituting what is theorized to be a Compatriot Mechanism within a larger Illegality From Within mechanism.  The inner-workings of this mechanism are analyzed in the particular case of the Status of Residence System of Japan.
Informed by the critical realist views on emergence, this Compatriot Mechanism is clarified to operate within an emergent migrant illegality that thrives in spite of the active suppressant strategies employed by the state against overstayers.
The paper concludes with two specific actionable points posed to migration policy makers anchored on its argument of an emergent Illegality from Within.

Overview of Illegal Migration in Japan

In illegal migration some form of preference of a nation state on the manner of human mobility is not realized.  Preferences on human mobility define not only border porousness but also various forms of restrictions for those allowed through.  Since these preferences generally follow economic cycles influenced by political philosophies dominant in the host state, illegal migration can be viewed as human mobility that is non-compliant with a host state's preferences, but compliant with other imperatives that incessantly sustain it.
            Thus, looking at a chronology of major preferences and restrictions (or negative preferences) implemented in Japan we may be able to trace both suppressant and stimulatory policies on human mobility and ultimately the resulting illegal migration from those efforts (see Diagram 1). 
Diagram 1:  Suppressant and Stimulatory Events on Human Mobility in Japan, 1859-2012
            I discuss in more detail the significance of individual items plotted in Diagram 1 in another paper but for the purposes of this overview, two points are noteworthy:         
            Bases and Location:  Japan's preferences and restrictions have spanned a wide gamut of both Bases and Location factors, indicating a substantial knowledge base on human mobility.  Blanket exclusions based on nationality to uniquely targeted stipulations based on job type were implemented at overseas to local sites.  Moreover, the sequencing of the interventions plotted in Diagram 1 cannot be said to be following the expected learning progression, that is, from least (overseas) to full (local) location and from all-encompassing (nationality) to targeted (job type) bases.  Instead, Diagram 1 indicates that Japan's policies followed the exigencies of the times, explaining the seeming non-order in the sequencing of its preferences and restrictions on human mobility. 
            Quantity and Quality of Illegal Migration:  In Japan, then, I argue that illegal migration began with illegal emigration during a roughly four decade period (1870s - 1910s) of government-sponsored and government-managed emigration.  One hundred forty seven Japanese laborers left for Hawaii despite an emigration ban (Moriyama 1985) and various government stipulations were violated by both companies and individuals involved in the emigration process (Sugimoto 1978; Moriyama 1985; Ichioka 1988; Iwasawa 1986 cited in Kearney 1998: 201; Weiner 1994; Patterson 1984).
The period 1895-1945 lay the foundations for deeply embedded ethnic groups to function as magnets and anchors of migrant illegality.  Supposedly then Japanese citizens (previously Koreans before the 1910 annexation) were actively recruited as laborers during both world wars but were subjected to various exit and entry restrictions on both the Korean and Japanese borders. (see #4 and #6 in Diagram 1).  Weiner (1994: 121) lists between 800 and 7,000 Korean "illegal" immigrants apprehended yearly between 1929-1939.  It is argued that many from the approximately 2 million Koreans in Japan by 1945 (Weiner 1994: 198) who were repatriated to Korea after the end of the war returned to Japan illegally (Hwaji 2010: 333), finding more hardships at their homeland. 
In the succeeding postwar decades, as the legal status of Koreans remained in flux, various job market stipulations, social insurance regulations and administrative procedures on registration of Koreans were widely perceived as discriminatory (Chung 2010, Hwaji 2010, Morris-Suzuki 2010).  Sparsely available data estimated senzai kyojuusha, or people "living hidden lives," at between 50,000 and 200,000 in 1959 (Morris-Suzuki 2010: 180).  Final clarity on the status of the post-WWII Korean minority of about 600,000 by 1948 (Morris-Suzuki 2010: 64) and their descendants would be reached only in 1991 when permanent residence was given without any of the conditions of two earlier laws in 1965 and 1981.
In the mid 1980s and early 1990s, stocks and flows of foreigner groups increased substantially in response to various immigration initiatives (see nos. 8-10 in Diagram 1) including the return of Japanese descendants, the entry of technical trainees and the recruitment of more foreign students.  The entry of these "new-comers," as they would often be called (in contrast the Koreans and Taiwanese "old-comers"), coincided with a watershed of sorts for migrant illegality in Japan.  
  A scanning of annual police reports from 1973-2011 showed a shift of emphasis to "internationalization of crime" (National Police Agency 1973-2011) in the 1980s.  In the 1970s Korean and Chinese crimes were regular staple and were classified the chapter heading called "activities and investigation."  In the 1980s crimes by "visiting foreign nationals," referring to foreign visitors on short-term stays, began to be reported.  Illegal immigrant statistics were now found more frequently under the heading "maintenance of public safety."  The 1987 police report focused heavily on globalization, citing new-comer crimes by Filipinos, Nigerians and Pakistanis.  By 1990 the whole of chapter 1 discussed the problems of foreign workers, linking work in the sex industry and unskilled labor with migrant illegality.
This noticeable shift in police action and reporting, needless to say, were based on corresponding changes in the legal framework against illegal migrants. 
Revised at least eighteen times since it maiden version in 1952, Japan's immigration control law got it first major overhaul in 1981 when the residence status system -- clearly defining authorized activities and length of stay -- was first introduced (Mori 1997).  Previous to the 1981 revision, migrant illegality in Japan meant essentially illegal entry by Koreans and Chinese who were not descendants of old-comer Koreans and Chinese or various crimes committed by the latter.  This 1981 revision created the overstayer category.
The 1989 revision then began the regular planning cycles of the immigration bureau, creating the Basic Plan for Immigration Control, now currently on its 4th edition of 2010.  This thus started the regular tabulation and dissemination of official statistics on migrant illegality in Japan starting in 1990, as summarized in Table 1.

In summary, migrant illegality in Japan began with illegal departures by Japanese contract workers in 1868.  A colonial past created Koreans (and Taiwanese) as generationally entrenched ethnic groups that subsequently defined migrant illegality in the postwar decades up to the 1970s.  "Internationalization" of the 1980s and 1990s saw intensified focus by government agencies on migrant illegality now both wider in breadth, covering new-comer groups, and deeper in depth, covering overstayer and illegal work categories.

The ‘Sustenance of Migrant Illegality’ Framework

While the causes of illegal migration have been exhaustively discussed in current literature, what sustains it has received less attention.  In this paper I make a distinction between the causes and the sustenance of migrant illegality in order to highlight key differences and implementation nuances between preemptive/proactive immigration policies (addressing causes) and reactive/management of existing illegal migration (prevention of sustenance). 
If the causes of illegal migration could be arranged in chronological order, then the opening or closing of borders would be the most seminal of causes as illegal migration presumes a nation-state enforcing its defined, legal migration regime within closed borders.  Various European and Northern American countries alternated between open and closed borders from the 17th to the mid 20th century, showing that illegal emigration in source countries in fact preceded illegal migration in destination countries as the departure of highly-skilled workers from source countries was prohibited. 
The state of open borders did not mean a lack of interest in human mobility across national borders or an absence of immigration or emigration controls.  Instead, as Fahrmeir et al qualify, the 19th century saw multiple, active forms of experimentation of entry and exit controls and motivators which, while not limited to simple opening or closing of borders, established the precursors to qualitative assessment of immigrants and emigrant, showing that a wanted/desirable-unwanted/undesirable continuum of migrants preceded the simple legal-illegal migrant classification dyad of today (Fahrmeir et al. 2003, p.2). 
At this point, it is also worth mentioning that active expulsion of migrants by nation-states also necessarily predated illegal migration due to this virtually intrinsic qualitative rating of societal non-members.
But if the permeability of borders created illegality among existing mobile populations (and future migrant arrivals) caught between alternating, official definitions of migrant desirability are there any direct causes of migrant illegality at the source state?  The question may seem both untenable and irrelevant.  Migrant illegality is consummated, as it were, by terminologies in the destination state.  Source states stand to benefit from remittances regardless of its emigrants’ compliance or non-compliance with its departure laws and regulations. 
Yet here lies, I argue, an underrated variable in the migrant illegality paradox created by its destination-centric operationalisation.  While migrant illegality, as currently defined, occurring in or caused by source states may not be conceivable for the above-cited reasons, if only for the reason that source states are, just that, the sources of migrants without legal status, then they are unavoidably a central part of the paradox.  If not accurately conceived as causes then the configuration of source states in migrant illegality may be more aptly seen as ‘sustenance from without.’   Identified causes will stay as mere potential illegality, at best, or self-terminating, finite illegality, at worst, if identified variables do not occur, albeit in differing, yet complementing forms, in both destination and source states.  A consistently persistent, virtually universal phenomenon such as illegal migration cannot continue to thrive without both causes and sustenance, possibly with more importance on the latter.  The difference is, I argue, beyond mere semantics as I continue to make more explicit below.
The causes of regular migration that occur at source states are exhaustively discussed by, for example, Massey et al. (1993) and a host of other authors and thus I will not focus on these any further.  What authors theorize to be the reasons why regular migrants, once they are physically present in the destination state, become irregular are what I will now re-examine using an alternative ‘sustenance of migrant illegality’ framework.
Figure 1(a) shows the Sustenance of Migrant Illegality Framework (SMIF), highlighting what I argue to be the four essential and complementing policy spheres of migrant illegality.
Figure 1(a):  The Sustenance of Migrant Illegality Framework (SMIF) – Four Spheres
Causes(C) and sustenance (S) of migrant illegality occur at both the destination (D) and source (S) states, as reflected in the four spheres – DC, DS, SC, SS.  Migrant illegality, represented by the shaded areas, is located within each of the four policy areas.[i]  These four migrant illegality sub-areas form a coherent whole spanning causes and sustenance in both destination and source countries.  While this paper focuses on the sustenance of migrant illegality at the destination country (DS), it will unavoidably draw the validity of its arguments from the holistic coherence and complementation of the other three spheres (DC, SC, SS).
The interaction among the four SMIF spheres can be best described as systemic in that each aspect or action occurring in one sphere (done by a migrant or spurred by a policy item) will always have a counterpart aspect or action in any of the other spheres that result in either complementation or negation of effect.  Each of the four spheres is an essential component of a systemic whole. 
Figure 1(b):  SMIF by Origin/Destination Sphere and Variation in Agency
Skeldon (2009) explains the multiple routes that may result in migrant illegality, highlighting those processes that can move only with some measure of migrant agency, particularly the contracting of human smugglers.  Similarly, Massey (1999) makes sure to include the importance of the decision-making of migrant actors based on pre-existing plans together with three other structural determinants of international mobility.  Migrant illegality occurring through intentional (high level), consequential or accidental agency is represented in the SMIF framework (see Figure 1(b)) by which sphere the arrow originates from and which sphere the arrow intends to go (as shown by the direction of its arrowhead).   Solid arrow lines indicate migrant regularity/legality.  Non-solid arrow lines represent migrant illegality.
Six types of migrants will be discussed in three groupings organized according to their origin within the SC sphere and their destination in the DC sphere.
Group 1:  Potential migrants who meet the requirements of the destination state originate from the ‘regular’ (white) portion of the SC sphere (see arrows a and b).  They are qualified and can afford the costs of becoming and maintaining themselves as regular migrants, fully intending to stay regular migrants.
There are also migrants (see Figure 1(b)) who started out as intentional regular migrants and do become regular migrants (b1) but eventually some of them lose their legal status (b2) as a result of administrative procedures (Baldwin-Edwards and Kraler 2009) that they are unable to comply with, a situation which has been called ‘institutional irregularity’ (Abella 2000 cited in Baldwin-Edwards and Kraler 2009).
Figure 1(c):  SMIF by Migrant Qualifications and Intended Destination Sphere
Group 2:  Not all potential migrants in the SC sphere meet the quality standards set by destination states, mainly: an education, skills, experience.[ii]  Originating from the shaded area in the SC sphere are potential migrants (see Figure 1(c))who propel themselves into qualified status, acquiring required credentials through any means possible.  Those who invest what are small fortunes relative to their asset base but employ only legal methods to acquire credentials are determined to stay regular migrants (arrow c), succeed in doing so (c1), but may also fall out of regularity due to administrative factors (c2).

With equal migrant determination though opposite in selection of means and ultimate destination some migrants are fully aware that that they cannot enter destination states legally with their current credentials.  They thus acquire credentials fraudulently, enter into the DC sphere legally, but with the clear objective of violating the terms of their visa and losing their legal status (arrow d). 
One compelling question among c2 and d1 migrants is whether they aspire to regain legal status?  Stated differently, was the quality of their lives as migrants with legal status inherently better than their lives without it?  Ultimately, the paths to regain legal status made available by destination states – occurring in the DC sphere and prompting corresponding responses occurring in other spheres –may play some role in their decision-making to aim for regularisation but are, in fact, far from defining it. 
For example, unlike in Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal where the frequent staging of regularisation programs virtually become the de-facto immigration management tactic (Baldwin-Edwards and Kraler 2009), Japan’s attempts at introducing proactive strategies to lessen its overstayer population has been conflicted, at best.  Overstayers are offered a reduction in the length of the re-entry ban (from five years to one year) or a chance to apply for the ‘Special Permission to Stay’ and regain their legal status(Japan Immigration Bureau, 2004a; Japan Immigration Bureau ca.2005).  Yet this applies only to overstayers who voluntarily surrender and only to those where overstaying is the only violation committed.  Considering that many overstayers enter Japan through the d1 route and knowing that their fraudulent entry is another violation, it becomes simpler and more practical to stay without legal status.  
This will be discussed in more detail at later parts of this paper but suffice it to say at this point that the overstayers’ decision not to take the voluntary surrender route to regain legal status does not deter his determination to legalize his stay.  Given sustenance by compatriots in the DS sphere and buoyed by validation sustenance from significant others in the SS sphere, some overstayers are able to secure legal status though still thru fraudulently means (d2).  The badly-designed voluntary surrender program aimed at reducing the number of overstayers in Japan now acting in confluence with pre-existing, sustenance inputs in other spheres ends up reinforcing irregularity rather than reducing it.
Group 3:  Whereas migrants in Group 1 (a and b) and Group 2 (c and d) had varying origins within the SC sphere, all reached the destination state passing through its legal entry points though with varying authenticity of documentation.  Group 3 migrants skip legal entry points altogether and enter straight into illegal status (see Figure 1(d)).
Figure 1(d):  SMIF by Direct Migrant Illegality Route
When land or sea borders of a destination state allow it, economic migrants (those seeking work) who otherwise would not qualify to receive legal entry permission choose this most direct entry path though often also the most perilous (arrow e).  Some of these migrants are able to gain legal status fraudulently (e2).  Those under some form of persecution at their home country, or under life-threatening situations due to a natural disasters or wars may also enter – by force of circumstance – not through the legal entry points (arrow f).  Their departure impetus defines their goal of achieving regular refugee or asylum-seeking status (f2) though those not granted such may then lose legal status (f1).
Figure 1(e):  SMIF Summary by Migrant Origin and Migrant Space
Summary:  Figure 1(e) presents the six migrant types (arrows a-f) altogether, allowing us to theorize two critical points on the interplay between migrant origin (or migrant eligibility), migrant destination (or migrant goals and aspirations) and migrant entry route, as follows:
1.      Migrant origin (i.e. eligibility) alone does not determine migrant destination (i.e. which portion within each sphere). 
-          Ineligible potential migrants (c, d, e, f) may acquire credentials through any means in order to pass through legal entry points, if those are the only possible entry routes given the destination country’s geography, but may still target and achieve both legal status (c1, d2, e2, f2) and illegal status (c2, d1, e1, f1).
-          Conversely, eligible potential migrants (a, b) achieve legal status in destination states (a, b1) but may also, inadvertently or consequentially, fall into illegal status (b2, c2).
2.      Migrant space alone does not define migrant legal status, or the absence of it.
-          There may be irregular migrants fraudulently occupying regular migrant spaces (see trajectory of arrow d). 
-          There may also be potential migrants with valid humanitarian reasons yet without valid documentation who enter via the irregular migrant spaces (f) and gain legal status (f2) or fail to secure or are denied legal status (f1).
-          Migrants with prior fraudulent transactions (d, e) may have no recourse but to reinforce or repeat their administrative infractions in ultimately gaining legal status in regular migrant space (d2, e2).
The significance of these two theorized points to immigration policy dynamics – particularly in the sustenance of migrant illegality – is found not in further complicating the issue of illegality but in resolving it.  Complicating migrant illegality would be to use these two points and argue that self-serving entry and residence regulations are the root cause of illegality.  Resolving migrant illegality would be to learn from these two points and ask how we can harness varying levels of migrant eligibility to improve consistency between the growing demand for migrant labor in Japan and the available options for legal entry and residence.  Complicating illegality is reactive; resolving illegality is proactive.
Thus far, we have applied the SMIF to organize and classify what I argue to be destination-centric narratives, that is, centrally, that the causes of migrant illegality are found in destination states (or the DC sphere).   These narratives and their emphasis on the spatial features of migrant illegality are surpassed only by their underemphasis of its temporal characteristics.  
The persistence, versatility and sheer tenacity of migrants without legal status who survive for long periods in hostile environments can be adequately understood only if we take a systemic, holistic view that begins with ‘causes’ and rounds up with ‘sustenance’ variables.  From a temporal perspective alone, once migrants are ‘caused’ to lose legal status – once they already exist in the shaded area of the DC sphere – what allows them to persevere and, for some, to even thrive to hitherto unknown potential even without legal status?  
Quite simply, now applying the SMIF, what sustains illegality? 
As I argue that the SMIF spheres are systemic in their interaction with one another, the corollary question then is:  what variables or mechanisms occur in other policy spheres that complement or counteract the sustenance of illegality? 

Illegality From Within

In this section I discuss one mechanism[iii] that constitutes what I argue provides foundational sustenance to migrant illegality in Japan:  the compatriot mechanism(cTm).   

Status of Residence System

We will analyze the Status of Residence System (SRS) of Japan as an input, breakdown its expected process and intended outputs, and see how the cTm wedges itself in this equation.  Figure 2(a) converts the SRS into a two-axes framework.
Figure 2(a):  Status of Residence System (SRS) as Duration and Productivity Axes
As Input:  Instituted in 1981 as Japan’s framework for immigration control (Mori 1997), SRS has two components, expressed as a formula as follows:  status or position + authorized activities = SRS (Japan Immigration Bureau 1994).  Status or position is essentially a proxy for the variable ‘duration,’ expressed in time (months/years), plotted on the x-axis of Figure 2(a).  Authorized activities is, I argue, a proxy for the variable ‘productivity’ – or the unit of output produced per unit of input – as plotted on the y-axis in Figure 2(a).   This is because “authorized activities” essentially refers to the control of the labor variable input of foreigners, that is, the right to work in Japan.  Figure 2(b) thus plots duration against productivity, culling out four core SRS status groups.[iv]  
Figure 2(b):  SRS  – Four Status Groups
Except for ethnic-based statuses (arrow b - Koreans/Taiwanese special permanent residents, permanent residents, Nikkeijin/Japanese descendant long-term residents, spouse/child of Japanese – to be discussed in further detail below), all statuses have residency permissions with finite durations, as shown by the direction of the arrows heading towards the left, or heading back to the source country.  Duration is directly correlated with productivity, that is, the greater a migrant’s type and permission to work – as shown by the steeper arrow incline, the longer the allowed periods of stay (seen thru the vertical lines along arrows) and, corollary to this, the more lenient the application of renewal requirements. 
Arrow c, d and b (Specialists, etc) have zero productivity incline as they are either fully prohibited from working or are restricted to a particular type of work and a particular company.  Highly-skilled migrants (arrow a) have the greatest productivity (steepest arrow incline) since they are offered a slew of motivators – including, for example, allowing household helpers to be brought in from the source country, or allowing multiple activities (read as: work) to be done.  While there are still limits to their duration of stay(arrow heading left), the SRS system has built in generous permanent residency options (small arrows heading back to the right side) within the program.  It must also be noted though that duration limits are applied even to ethnic-based statuses which, theoretically, have no limits to their residency period in Japan (arrow heading toward right side).
As Process:  Duration and productivity as SRS inputs then funnel through the Japanese bureaucracy in a process implemented by the local government and enforced by the local police.  The Alien Registration System in Japan, recently abolished and now nationalized thru the 2012 New Residency Management System, was handled previously by local governments (the role of the local government in the analysis of this paper will thus be analyzed retrospectively).  In terms of SRS enforcement, while regional or national immigration officers may also conduct inspections, raids or other immigration control activities at the local level, it is the local police that have a consistent presence at the community level.
As Output:  Inputting duration and productivity rules and implemented locally by the local government and police, the intended output thus will be foreigners whose existence in the country are compliant with a defined timeframe and defined activities.
SRS and Differentiated Ethnic Pockets:  The SRS is significant to my theorized ‘Illegality from Within’ formulation because it mirrors vibrant ethnic populations that have successfully differentiated themselves along the unskilled-skilled divide in the local labor market of Japan.  As represented in Figure 2(b), SRS translates to Duration and Productivity variables that are carefully wielded by policymakers, applying them to migrant workers in ways that are consistent or supportive of the requirements of the local labor market. 
The SRS concretizes and formalizes the existence of thriving foreign ethnic populations in Japan (Korean, Taiwanese) – forged thru very specific historical conditions.
Unlike other residence visa systems in other destination countries, Japan’s SRS has two extra specialized categories for those it considers permanent residents.  The status named ‘Special Permanent Resident’ is applied to Koreans and Taiwanese who were in Japan before and during World War II, including their descendants.  The status named ‘Long-Term Residents’ is applied to returning migrants who are direct descendants of Japanese overseas who, as we shall see in the succeeding discussions below, originated mostly from Brazil and other South American countries. Lastly, the status named simply as ‘Permanent Resident’ is applied to any migrant, not part of the two specialized two categories discussed above, who is eligible for permanent residency.
The point I would like to make here is that the specific historical conditions that gave birth to these ethnic pockets – their complete embeddedness in Japanese society now actualized thru the SRS – have essentially produced individuals that have full local knowledge yet, at best, with loyalties looking inward.  Simply put, these ethnic pockets are essentially local survival experts who are eager to help compatriots in any way regardless of legal status.
On Filipinos in Japan.   For over two decades (1980s to 2004) a significant number (57%) of Filipinos who came to Japan were entertainers and among other nationalities of entertainers in Japan, quite a number (55%) were Filipinos (see Table 2, cells T2a-c). 

Filipina entertainers outnumbered entertainers of other nationalities both in terms of percentage within their ethnic groupings (T2b) and in terms of total numbers of entertainers in Japan (T2c).   Filipina entertainers also stayed longer in Japan (80% of all registered entertainers, T2i).
The tightening of visa rules on entry of entertainers in March 2005, while it in fact lessened significantly the total flows of entertainers (T2d), did not end the preference for Filipina entertainers (T2f).  In the 2005-2011 period, nearly seven of every ten (68%) resident entertainers were still Filipinas (T2l). 
While there are no explicit figures that can trace where the excess population of Filipina entertainers went after the visa tightening, it is common knowledge (and is consistent with my respondent and key informant interviews) that those who could switched to spousal visas (SCJ) and eventually to permanent resident visas (PR).  The substantial increases in the numbers of all ethnic-based visa categories of Filipinos in both flows and stocks between the 2005-2011 (T2d,f,j,l) and 1987-2004 (T2a,c,g,i) period may support this belief.
Various narratives attempt to explain the fact that entertainers spearheaded the phenomenal growth in the numbers of resident Filipinos between 1980 and 2000 (nearly 25 times larger: from roughly 6,000 in 1980 to 145,000 in 2000) (Japan Ministry of Justice ca.2013).  Yu-Jose first highlights the difference between, on the one hand, earlier Filipino musicians in Japan in the late 19th and first half of the 20th century who played various musical instruments -- thus constituting 'real' entertainment, and, on the other hand, the more contemporary entertainers who were mostly perceived by the Japanese as prostitutes (Yu-Jose 2007, p.63).  Strict Japanese visa regulations, Yu-Jose argues, which most Filipino workers at current skill and financial resource levels could not qualify for, combined with Japanese cultural preferences excluding foreigners from certain service jobs, resulted in Filipinas embracing the entertainer work option.  Sellek similarly emphasizes the primacy of economic motivations of Filipinas taking entertainer work (Sellek 2001).  Suzuki cautions against simplistic, uni-dimensional narratives, emphasizing the historical, contextual and multi-faceted decision-making processes of the entertainer (Suzuki 2011).  Abe suggests that the peak of Japanese economic prosperity in the 1970s and 1980s spawned what he calls 'sex tourism' by Japanese male tourists throughout Asia became the foundation of the later mass entry of Filipina entertainers to Japan in the succeeding two decades (Abe 2009).
I will purposely limit my dialogue with the narratives I cited above to cover only how the phenomenon of the Filipina entertainer contributed to the sustenance of migrant illegality in Japan.  The main point I would like to make is that specific historical conditions created the ubiquitous Filipina entertainer and this, in turn, became a stepping stone into ethnic-based statuses – as spouses of Japanese, and subsequently as permanent residents, or through their offspring, as children of Japanese, or through their descendants now entering Japan as long term residents. 
The entertainer visa represented for the Filipinos what the SPR visa was for the Koreans and Chinese and what the LTR visa was for the returning Brazilian descendants of Japanese (T2h,i,k,l): that is, a catapult to the top of a pecking order of closely-calibrated, outsider access to insider information through their entry into ethnic-based residence statuses.  With much closer, more intimate and wider access to Japanese society as spouses, children and permanent residents than other residence statuses, an enculturated, fine-tuned Filipino survival sense inevitably became the default operating mode, ready to be accessed by all compatriots who needed it.
That Filipinos have consistently been among the top three groups of overstayers in Japan over the past two decades (1990s to 2012, Table 1) may indicate that these ethnic-based Filipinos in Japan, through the SMIF, provide critical sustenance to migrant illegality in Japan.

The Compatriot Mechanism (cTm)

The Compatriot Mechanism is defined as inputs provided and processes catalyzed by ethnic pockets, occurring in the DS and SS spheres of the SMIF (of Figure 1) and impacting SRS duration and productivity (of Figure 2), resulting in the sustenance of migrant illegality.
To be sure, that established compatriots help newly-arriving or struggling fellow migrants in a variety of ways is empirically established.  Employment continuity through referrals, preferential ethnic-based hiring and overall information dissemination (Liu-Farrer 2011) and facilitation in accessing health and other government social security services are among the critical benefits of a well-cultivated and maintained ethnic network.   
But do ethnic pockets help their members equally regardless of legal status?  Put differently, are there special ways that ethnic pockets harness their unique local embeddedness and integration that sustain migrant illegality?  Applying the SRS within the SMIF allows a more targeted operationalization of the Compatriot Mechanism.
Figure 2(c):  SRS – Four Roles of Compatriot Mechanism (cTm)
Input Provided: Negation of Duration Control. Temporally, cTm first activates when it plays a central role in rendering impotent duration control by the SRS.  Through the SMIF we understood that the origin of the migrant (i.e. his/her eligibility) does not determine ensuing destination (i.e. legal status).  Thus, it must be clarified that cTm activates even before the migrant violates the duration specification of his visa, that is, even before the migrant goes over his authorized duration of stay (a.k.a overstays).  Figure 2(c) shows the four specific roles that cTm assumes in its negation of duration control.

cTm as Starter:  Their sheer presence, eventual longevity and consistent functioning as breadwinners to family and/or extended networks of dependents back in their home countries crystallizes into a strong beacon, a blueprint of how their core impediments (skill level) to financial stability can be overcome through the highly-differentiated and thriving Japan labor market.  Simply put, the cTm message is thus: even if one is unskilled in the Philippines and would most surely be unemployed, if transplanted into Japan through migration, one can surely eek out some basic form of economic sustainability.  Beyond being passive role models, cTm even becomes pro-active when migrant illegality is encouraged, planned for, and financed from Japan.  Textbox 1 presents two case snippets[v] showing cTm as starter (an input) of the newly-starting overstayer resulting in a negation of SRS duration control (an output)in the DS and SS spheres of the SMIF.
cTm as Enabler:  The benefits of cTm as a starter extend over time when cTm as enabler plays out.  As enablers ethnic pockets provide life-sustaining inputs that are otherwise inaccessible to overstayers due to their lack of legal status.  Housing and mobile phones, owned or under contract by legally resident Filipinos, are commonly shared with compatriots in need regardless of legal status.  The higher vulnerability of overstayers to health problems due to their work situation -- that is, having to take any work under any terms and any conditions -- is where cTm as enabler comes in.  Through contacts cultivated with various persons in authority, in turn validated and strengthened by the networks of Japanese spouses, cTm mobilizes resources that enable overstayers to access critical health services, thus prolonging their stay.  Japanese employers also participate in cTm as enablers when they: a) assign Japanese names to overstayer hirees to use as aliases in required worker listings for public works contracts, b) enter into lease contracts for apartments in which they allow overstayers who work for them to live in, or c) pay upfront for health expenses of their overstayer workers which are then paid back regularly through salary deductions.  Textbox 2 presents case snippets of cTm as enabler. 
cTm as Safety Net:  As a safety net, cTm is both a proactive and reactive input to sustaining migrant illegality.  When overstayers are arrested, ethnic pockets employ various strategies and tactics to interface and dialogue with local authorities in order to effect their release (reactive).   Japanese employers consistently implement a fine-tuned and proven overstayer arrest avoidance protocol (proactive).  Compatriots are always alert and quick to disseminate information among overstayers that may be relevant to reducing arrest risks.  Textbox 3 shows examples of cTm as safety net.
cTm as Legalizer:  One of the ways overstayers can achieve legal status is through marriage with either a Japanese national or a non-Japanese permanent resident (see d2, e2 in Figure 2(c)).    Notwithstanding procedural safeguards to ensure authentic marriages, ineligible (currently married) overstayers nevertheless find ways to skirt these rules.  To be sure, fraudulently consummated marriages remove only the omnipresent arrest risk of overstayers but their illegality persists albeit now masked in bogus legal status.  Thus now doubly illegal in status, overstayers become overstaying 'illegal residents,' still under the risk of deportation if found out.  Harder for authorities to detect are authentic marriages (both parties eligible) but inauthentic arrangements, sometimes called convenience marriages, where both parties benefit: the overstayer gaining legal status, the permanent resident gaining companionship or some form of financial gain.  Still, given the straightforward economic existence of overstayers, the benefits of legalization through marriage may not be worth the consequences or the trouble.  Textbox 4 lists some examples of overstayers reaching legal status through marriage.
Summary [of negation of duration control]:  The Compatriot Mechanism through varied roles as starter, enabler, safety net and legalizer constitutes a magnet and anchor of migrant illegality as it negates the goal of duration control of the SRS.    Overstayers overcome what would otherwise be stunting non-functionality given their lack of legal status by tapping into critical inputs which ethnic pockets by their very nature of full integration and embeddedness into the local society are ideally poised to provide.
Process Catalyzed: Redefinition of Productivity.  While Figure 2 showed us that SRS also targets to control productivity (i.e. limiting or closely controlling authorized activities across various residence statuses), a second effect of cTm as it inserts itself into the migration control formula of the SRS is a redefinition of the productivity variable, extending its scope to include the SC and SS spheres in the source country (recall Figure 1).  Negating duration limits through cTm inputs does not automatically translate to higher productivity for overstayers, in the long run. 
Optimum Period of Overstaying.  Without any interference from cTm, SRS formulates the variable productivity for non-ethnic-based residence statuses to be co-terminous with duration, with the exception of those it perceives to be high-value migrants (the highly-skilled).  But as cTm effects an extension of duration beyond the limits set by SRS, a key consequence is the inclusion of other variables into the formulation of opportunity cost (or opportunity loss) for the overstayer. 
Stated simply, the overstayer's extended stay inevitably impacts mainly his/her a) psychological and emotional well-being due to the self-imposed, one-way exile in Japan, b) relations with spouses and children in the source country, and, most importantly, c) his readiness for the local labor market at the time of his impending return.  The negative impacts of these inescapable trade-offs are represented by the non-linear lines in a generally downward trajectory in d1 and e1 in Figure 2(c).  The overstayer's short-term benefits of continued income must now be weighed against these new long-term costs created by his successful negation of SRS duration control.  

In reality, these long-term considerations on the optimum period of overstaying are rarely, if ever, in the consciousness of overstayers who, due to the inherent nature of overstaying, live on a day-to-day basis.  Indeed, the paradox of overstaying is such that the violation is named solely on the basis of time when it is precisely the absence of it, or the cumulative unawareness of the true costs of the voidness of control of time, that defines its real impact: a progressive deterioration in the quality of life of the overstayer and his significant others.  Textbox 5 describes the trade-offs involved in the process of redefinition of productivity as a result of the role of cTm on SRS.

Emergent Migrant Illegality 

I have, thus far, argued that ethnic pockets and local authorities represent intervening variables that interrupt intended outcomes of immigration policy, constituting embedded sources of the sustenance of migrant illegality.  One will wonder then why the numbers of overstayers in Japan has been on a consistent decline (average of negative seven per cent decline yearly) for the past two decades since 1994 (Japan Immigration Bureau 2012)? 
            This section will clarify how my theorized "Illegality from Within" formulation coexists with the active suppression of migrant illegality by the Japanese state.  Are the forces of suppression greater than my argued mechanisms of sustenance, thus explaining the decreasing numbers of overstayers?  I draw upon the critical realist theory, particularly its views on emergence, in order to better inform our discussion.
            One of the objectives in the 2003 Action Plan for the Creation of a Crime-Resistant Society or APCCRS (Japan Police Policy Research Center 2003) was the reduction in the number of overstayers in Japan by half (Japan Immigration Bureau 2005).  Eighteen specific anti-overstaying measures were to be implemented, contributing to the control of transnational crime, one of five key strategies aimed at restoring public safety in Japan.  These eighteen measures are seen to have achieved their objective due to a forty eight per cent decrease in overstayers by 2009 (Kanayama 2009).
            I re-organize these eighteen anti-overstaying measures into just seven aggregated strategies and place them within the four spheres of the Sustenance of Migrant Illegality Framework (see Table 3) using two guide questions, as follows:
            1.  Is the measure implemented in Japan [Destination state] or in the country of origin of the overstayer [Source state]?
            2.  Is the measure intended to preempt overstaying [by addressing Causes] or to apprehend and deport existing overstayers [by preventing Sustenance]?

            The essential point I would like to make is that these seven aggregated strategies can be viewed as the government's understanding of the key component parts that comprise the migrant illegality whole in Japan given that their improvement or deterrence is calculated by the APCCRS to result in the suppression of migrant illegality.
            We see from Table 3 that the seven component parts relate to a migrant illegality whole not only in a more preemptive rather than reactive way but also that this interaction takes place at two fronts: locally and at source countries.  Preemptive suppression is composed mainly of effective immigration control technology anchored on a sound legal framework that exacts the necessary compliance from parties utilizing migrants for their labor or business units.  Active collaboration with foreign entities enables this control infrastructure to secure critical external information inputs and overseas coordination assistance.  Reactive suppression (or the prevention of the sustenance) of migrant illegality is essentially a two-pronged approach:  first is a geographic focus on areas perceived to have high overstaying populations; second is a prevention of access to housing facilities.
            The question posed at the beginning of this section -- whether the suppressant strategies negate the sustaining mechanisms of migrant illegality -- can now be re-framed thus: how do the suppressant (seven aggregated APCCRS strategies) and sustaining (Illegality From Within/cTm) component parts of a migrant illegality whole interact -- among themselves and in relation to its whole -- to impact the number of overstayers in Japan?
            In the next paragraphs I will argue that the consistently decreasing numbers of overstayers reported by the government of Japan is the effect of its suppressant strategies on the resultant properties of migrant illegality.  Decreasing numbers of overstayers give no indication of the robustness of migrant illegality as seen in its emergent properties which are sustained by, actively thrive and re-interact with its own constituting parts.
            In the critical realist theory, the concept of emergence plays a central role in its view of reality as ontologically autonomous (Lopez 2003, p.77), that is, that what makes reality persistently more than what we attempt to know of it is its continuous generation of various permutations at multiple levels.  The process and the result of this emergence is described as at once cumulative and synergistic – that “the operations of the higher level cannot be accounted for solely by the laws governing the lower level in which we might say the higher level is rooted and from which we might say it was emergent.” (Bhaskar 2008, p.113). 
I thus apply emergence to help elucidate what I describe to be two of the resultant and three of the emergent properties of migrant illegality:  the former describing its cumulative or aggregative nature drawn from its component parts and the latter describing what has resulted from the synergy of its component parts.  The possibility of the more which the critical realist concept of emergence enables moves me to qualify that while my description of these five theorized properties of migrant illegality is drawn from the Empirical (what I observed – as I cite case snippets and other bases of my observations) that this may only be a subset of the Actual (what may be in addition to what I observed) and thus all my arguments will be describing, if at all,  only a part of what is Real (the Empirical and Actual and all other future emergent combinations) (Bhaskar 1975, p.13 cited in Collier 1994, p.34).  
            Elder-Vass (2010) defines an emergent property as "one that is not possessed by any of the parts individually and that would not be possessed by the full set of parts in the absence of a structuring set of relations between them" and a resultant property as "properties of a whole that are possessed by its parts in isolation, or in an unstructured aggregation."  Properties then of a migrant illegality whole arising from the particular ways each of the aggregated seven strategies in Table 3 (namely: immigration control technology, the migration legal framework, compliant migrant utilizers, migrant productivity, collaboration with foreign entities, geographic focus, and blocking of housing access) interrelate may be specific only to the resulting migrant illegality (and thus are called emergent properties) or in both migrant illegality and each of these seven component parts individually (thus called resultant properties).
            Resultant Property: Innovation.  Goal-driven migrants pounce on loopholes in immigration control technology to achieve, first, entry, and then, second, legitimate (legal) status by whatever means (recall c1, d1, d2, e2 and f2 in Figure 1).  Whether as fulfillment of demand for highly docile and tractable labor or as willing victims providing continuing business to facilitating organizations, migrant utilizers at both destination and source states continue to flaunt migration rules backed by an impotent legal framework.  Innovation inevitably translates to overstaying longevity (recall Gandi/Textbox 2) or emboldened disregard of the State's rules (recall Doble-doble/Textbox 1).
            It is the suppression of this continuing innovation by overstayers that is targeted by the APCCRS  strategies including, mainly, the fortification of immigration control technology, strengthening of the legal framework, the enforcement of compliance by migrant utilizers.
            Moreover, it is similarly the innovation occurring in these individual components, reacting to separate stimuli (wholly or partly unrelated to migrant illegality itself), that brought these constituting parts into their current configuration and relational schematics that, in turn, form the resultant properties of the migrant illegality whole. 
            One example of these lower-level innovation instances is, as I discuss in the section on ethnic pockets, how the legal framework adopted various types of resident statuses for Koreans in Japan in its attempt to either keep them at arm's length or achieve their full societal integration.  Still another example is how Japan's immigration control processes "anonymously" acquiesced to the changing activities of migrants applying for the same entertainer visa category(the official definition of which remained unchanged), beginning with established musicians playing instruments and ending with supposed prostitution and a host of other alleged illegal activities.
            The recent inroads into care work and English-language teaching by Filipinos in Japan also highlight innovation by both the State and migrants - a process that is essentially iterative in nature and multi-faceted in outcome.  Substantial issues concerning the match between contract stipulations for newly-arriving Filipino nurses and the concomitant educational and support infrastructure necessary to achieve those conditions (Wako 2010) are continuously ironed out by the State with inputs from various vigilant stakeholders.  It Long-entrenched Filipina migrants invest time and money to get the required training and accreditation to do care work only to vacillate down the road given issues on, among others,  remuneration levels and perceived discrimination at the workplace (Ogawa 2010; Lopez 2012).  Key differences in age and assigned skill level between new-comer and old-timer care workers are seen as potentially creating another layer of stratification within Filipino ethnic group (Vogt and Holdgrun 2012).  Nevertheless these inroads are seen to initiate an identity reformulation process in the case of former entertainers, helping to "change" views  by locals regarding Filipina workers (Takahata 2010), or in the case of Filipino English-language teachers, promoting a multicultural approach in Japanese society (Ballescas and San Jose 2010).
            Innovation as a resultant property of a migrant illegality whole thus also exists at the level of its component parts.  Innovation at the individual level sustains the vibrancy of the Compatriot Mechanism, further preparing it to anchor the innovation of future and current overstayers.      
            Resultant Property: Value Negotiation.  The exigencies of migrant illegality impel its participants to a heightened urgency and shortened cycle of interrogation of risk versus benefit.  Overstayers routinely grapple with both strategic choices - albeit unknowingly given the absence of perspective and uninformed by hindsight - and tactical dilemmas: the impact of short-term productivity enabled by their state-unsanctioned, extended stay on their own well-being and that of their families (recall d1/2 and e1/2 of Figure 2); deciding who to trust with the knowledge of their (lack of) legal status especially when this assists or endangers the recommendation with which his current or next job is secured.  Local authorities also find themselves weighing their more immediate mandate to enhance the welfare of their constituents versus their role in towing the national policy line (Shipper 2008).  Outcomes of value negotiation of overstayers include mainly regret over long-term misprioritization (recall Subaru/Textbox 5), the primacy of economic over all other considerations (recall Manong/Textbox 4) or humanitarian considerations on health services (recall Iking/Textbox 2). 
            It is this value negotiation that the APCCRS's suppressant strategies target to rein in by ensuring that the result of the negotiation tilts in favor of the State.  One example is the 2004 Departure Order System (Japan Immigration Bureau 2004) which presented overstayers with the option to voluntarily surrender and return to their country of origin in exchange for a shortened period of banned return to Japan and the waiving of what was previously mandatory detention for all overstayers.  Another instance is the 2012 abolition of the Alien Registration Law and its replacement with the new Resident Management System which centralized the registration and management of foreigner identities with national-level agencies.  This had the effect of minimizing or altogether negating the pattern of favorable, at worst, or, at best, neutral treatment of overstayers at selected local governments throughout Japan.
            That overstayers engage in value negotiation with a keen sense of the public's awareness of their presence can be better underscored thru recurrent immigration narratives.   The seven aggregate strategies of the APCCRS, for example, are framed within  a message of "controlling of transnational menaces" (Japan Police Policy Research Center 2003: 5).  Namba (2011) explains that while criminalization of immigration may be a recent global trend, Japan's "war on illegal immigrants" launched in 2003 has been packaged together with crime prevention as a key component of public safety -- an initiative of the local police since the 1980s.   This approach galvanized the stake of local communities in reporting overstayers.  Moreover, statistics on foreigner crime as "transnational menaces" (Kanayama 2009: 12-15) have not gone unchallenged (Takahashi 2009). 
            Noteworthy is the parallel immigration theme beginning also in 1980s of "Internationalization Within (uchi naru kokusaika)."  The immigration theme Kokusaika was seen as both intangible persuasions of external origin (Morris-Suzuki 1998: 194) and concrete local activities implemented by public agencies promoting various aspects of a newly-incipient globalization (Chung 2010: 155).
            Thus value negotiation by overstayers occurs amidst the public's own negotiation of its perceived value of foreigners as, on the one hand, representing relatively benign external cultural inputs that are experienced locally or, on the other hand, constituting a real, direct threat to their well-being right at their doorstep, so to speak.  The critical malaise of Japan's harmonious society due to the breakdown of a "secure society" brought about by the projection of rampant crime created a widespread inimical view of offenders (Hamai and Ellis 2006), among them overstayer transnational menaces.  It is not surprising then that an official government announcement published on the web since 2004 (Japan Immigration Bureau, 2004b) encouraging anyone with suspicions to report overstayers and other foreign "violators" citing thirteen essentially open-ended reasons (Arudo 2004) has been met with acquiescence by the general public (Bommes and Sciortino 2011: 218). 
            The resultant property of value negotiation in component parts is also evident in the suppressant strategies related to productivity (see #4 strategy in Table 3).  Foreigners with Japanese descent are singled out to be given job placement and career counseling assistance in order to head off their regression into crime.  This form of value negotiation has been described as a racialized hierarchy (Shipper 2008) on which access to employment markets is wielded most favorably in favor of foreigners with Japanese descent.
            Overstayers then seem to operate under a double or even multiple jeopardy of sorts in value negotiation, ultimately forcing them to burrow deeper into their social invisibility.
            Summary of Two Resultant Properties of Migrant Illegality (Innovation and Value-Negotiation):  The section above argued that Innovation and Value-Negotiation are resultant properties of migrant illegality as they are found both in migrant illegality itself (that is, practiced by overstayers) and in its constituting parts (that is, as understood and operationalized through the seven aggregate APCCRS strategies listed in Table 3).
            The point in arguing resultant properties of migrant illegality is that suppression efforts by the State gain traction because it has itself experienced these same resultant properties in "isolation, or in unstructured aggregation" (Elder-Vass 2010) in migration or other non-migration-related areas of its operations.  The State's efforts, however, are unable to suppress other properties of the same migrant illegality whole that are not found in its constituting parts, i.e. its emergent properties, thus bringing us to the next paragraphs below.  
            Emergent Property: Interdependence.  What would otherwise be a crippling handicap due to lack of legal status is overcome by overstayers who deftly cultivate, expand and then efficiently utilize their social networks.  Ironically, it is precisely the systematic exclusion produced by the State's suppressant strategies that enables the overstayer's inclusion within his ethnic community, spawning this keen sense of interdependence, consummating, as it were, the four cTm sub-types (recall discussion on cTm as starter, enabler, safety-net and legalizer).
            This kind of heightened social symbiosis intrinsic in migrant illegality is distinct from, say, the refuge afforded a fugitive murder convict by relatives, or the solace given to a terminally-ill patient by social workers: in the former case, familial obligation prevails over attributed high risk; in the latter case, the imperative may be fueled by altruism.   In migrant illegality, the interdependence is inherently vested and voluntary: employers secure business flexibility thru exceptionally-compliant overstayer hirees; ethnic pockets who help overstayers get rights to collect future favors, loyalty, reciprocated intimacy, etc.; cooperative local authorities get convenience, a robust, resilient and low-cost small-business sector, possibly even benefits to multiculturalism;  finally, overstayers get continued existence.
            Interdependence exhibits itself in employer protection (recall Etimo and Gandi/Textbox 3) or utilitarianism and convenience (recall Putik/Textbox 4).
            Emergent Property: Rationalization.  Migrant illegality has a uniquely insightful property of exacting a review of the configuration of things.  This impelled rationalization triggers a specialization, an improved coherence, a clarified stake or vested interests, a redefinition of boundaries or limits.   The mere physical presence of the overstayer becomes an imperative or an opportunity as migrant illegality is challenged as to where and how exactly it becomes a liability, an asset or a given to be circumvented, overcome or simply contended with or disregarded.   
            Employers adjust recruitment and operational procedures to "fit" overstayers' difficult circumstances, uncovering previously unexplored practices (enabling "specialization") that now tread delicately between complicity and business flexibility (recall case snippets in cTm as Safety Net).  Local governments facilitate and enable locally-managed social services thru partnership with local groups, clarifying the scope and depth (and thus coherence) of its services for constituents.  Compatriots look beyond (lack of) legal status and crystallize their own immediate take-away from relationships and liaisons of various complexities.  Overstayers themselves are able to thrive or regress to hitherto unknown heights of potential or depths of deterioration given the day-to-day crossroads that is migrant illegality. 
            Emergent Property:  Abbreviation.  The preeminence of the legal and political re-constitution of the overstayer -- that is, as being primarily illegal in resident status and thus excluded from the mainstream -- has the effect of distorting or misrepresenting other aspects of the overstayer which could reveal a middle ground or the possibility of a win-win resolution to migrant illegality.  I first surface this abbreviation property of migrant illegality in my summary discussion of Figure 1, arguing that migrant origin (a proxy for eligibility) and migrant space (a proxy for legal status) are among the key blind spots of migration policy makers who are guided solely by the legal-illegal dichotomy.
            One key area where this abbreviation is evident is in the skilled-unskilled divide where an overstayer may be previously skilled (eligible but in illegal migrant space) but his lack of legal status locks him into the unskilled, informal markets.  Migrant utilizers may be aware of an overstayer's dormant skills but as they have reached the limits of their allowable rationalization (simply put, vested accommodation), they are forced to relegate the overstayer to below-potential job functions.  These abbreviated potentials still overflow into non-skill job areas such as overall consistency, reliability, thoroughness in work performance -- thus making a liability of the overstayer into an asset for the employer.  Iking, Gandi and Etimo (see Textboxes 2 and 3) completed or were at advanced stages in their education when they departed for Japan but now are reduced to manual labor in companies in the construction and service industries.
            One compelling aspect of this abbreviation property in migrant illegality is its two-stage applicability, that is, in both the destination and source countries:  returning overstayers (recall Subaru and Bingo/Textbox 5) find that any technical skill acquired in Japan is basically inapplicable in the Philippine labor market.
            It is in the confluence of the three emergent properties of interdependence, rationalization and abbreviation that I locate my theorized Illegality From Within (IFW) mechanism.  I suggest that while the APCCRS suppressant strategies address the resultant properties of migrant illegality - thus explaining the decreasing numbers of overstayers - the same suppressant strategies are unable to make an impact on the emergent properties of migrant illegality since its persistent social structure expressed through the particular social relations between ethnic pockets and overstayers (in which interdependence, rationalization and abbreviation are rooted) remains intact.  Indeed, overstayer numbers may be decreasing but the capacity for emergent migrant illegality persists.
            Indeed, informed by the critical realist view of emergence, it may also be that the part of migrant illegality reality that is being described by decreasing numbers of overstayers, while I argue this to be describing only its suppression of resultant properties, may be distinct, complementary or even constitutive or essential to that part of reality which I theorize as IFW.  Stated differently, APCCRS may be successful in suppressing innovation in migrant illegality and in ensuring that value negotiation favors the State (as seen in the decreasing overstayer numbers) but then this active suppression may 1) have nothing to do with or independent of IFW, or 2) may trigger or enhance more intense interdependence, rationalization and abbreviation.  APCCRS and IFW may be separate Empirical observations, or each may constitute part of the Actual from the varying or opposite perspectives of the participants of migrant illegality.
            That the active suppression of migrant illegality (through APCCRS) and IFW are not mutually exclusive but rather related in some way can be seen by looking closer at what Archer (2003: 20-25) describes as the emergence of personal identity and the emergence of social identity.  Arguing within the context of the structure-agency debate, Archer assigns a reflexive role to the person (the social agent), as it nourishes, works and relates (the natural, practical and social orders of reality), thus actively forging a continuous sense of self that is formed individually– one’s emergent personal identity formed through its choices (modus vivendi) – but also contingently through our equally critically chosen social roles – one’s emergent social identity; the latter crystallizing within and thru the former.
            Informed by Archer’s view of a reflexive social agent, we may now re-interpret innovation, value negotiation, interdependence, rationalization and abbreviation as resultant and emergent properties of migrant illegality in which overstayers and ethnic pockets (as individual members) exercise their reflexive sense of selves.  The overstayer’s modus vivendi, that is, his prioritization of economic values, dictates that he innovate and value-negotiate his way thru whatever political or legal obstacles presented by host States.  As compatriots sustain overstayers through their social identities as IFW agents, their own modus vivendi is continuously and interactively acted out in the context of the State’s active suppression of migrant illegality. 
More concretely, when the State from time to time intensifies overstayer crackdowns, both overstayers and ethnic compatriots react in any of the following ways: 1) by intensifying (locking down their refuge of overstayers) or aborting (squealing or reporting an overstayer) interdependence, 2) broadening (more liberally justifying need to ask or give assistance) or constricting (reprioritizing own interests) rationalization, and 3) condone (employers of overstayers judging penalties to be worth the risks) or reject (overstayers deciding to surrender) abbreviation.  Simply put, compatriots cease, maintain or improve their social identities within the IFW mechanism, that is, as starters, enablers, legalizers or safety nets within the given constraint which is the active suppression of migrant illegality in Japan.
            In summary of this section I now answer its primary question:  the apparent discord between an emergent migrant illegality that is sustained by IFW and the reported decreasing numbers of overstayers can be reconciled in a critical realist view of emergence that highlights the structural relations between both resultant and emergent properties of migrant illegality through which overstayers and their compatriots are reflexive social agents critically embodying both their personal and social identities.


This paper challenged one prevailing belief that migrant illegality is solved thru deportation – which presupposes the primacy of its external causes – by exploring how what I theorized as an Illegality From Within mechanism actually sustains migrant illegality from inside the host country.  I employed a Sustenance of Migrant Illegality Framework to better understand the temporal (causes of new versus sustenance of existing) and spatial (host versus destination) dynamics of various multiple types of instances of and actors in migrant illegality.  We saw that differentiated and fully embedded ethnic pockets, as they are especially constituted through historically specific conditions, interrupt designed outcomes of policies suppressant of migrant illegality.  Finally, informed by the critical-realist views on emergence, I suggested that my central assertion of a sustained migrant illegality through IFW nevertheless coexists with Japan’s reports of decreasing overstayer numbers. My theorized Illegality From Within mechanism is rounded off through Figure 1(f).  
Figure 1(f):  The Sustenance of Migrant Illegality Framework (SMIF) - Final
We can now see that the sustenance of migrant illegality inescapably involves all four SMIF spheres, most notably the SS (Source Sustenance) sphere where migrant hopefuls (see g2 and g3) are bolstered by the concrete example of current migrants showing how skill ineligibility is overcome through migration.  In this model, legal status is presented as incidental, even transforming into a measure of determination or testament of commitment when the breadwinner role is nevertheless fulfilled in spite of its absence.
            The inner-workings of my theorized IFW mechanism suggest that the following two key, actionable points be considered by migration policy makers:
1.      Reconsider as an asset to be leveraged rather than as a liability to be negated the existence of long-embedded ethnic groups that act as magnets and anchors of emergent migrant illegality that is resilient in many ways. One good starting point of leverage is the emergent property of abbreviation which argues that the State can immediately benefit from dormant, unutilized skills of overstayers who have the added advantage of already being broken-in, so to speak, in Japanese society and are thus have higher chances of long-term productivity if they have secure legal status.  At the minimum, the property of abbreviation is an argument for more effective human resource management of migrant workers (i.e. skills upgrade for those already skilled and skills acquisition for those with the right aptitude).  The lack of legal resident status is an administrative, technical hindrance to be overcome to maximize physical presence and current functionality of the overstayer.
2.      Re-cast the source state in a more active leadership/partnership role, upgrading it from its current peripheral/accessorial role given the clear and direct impact of the SS sphere on migrant illegality.  One good starting point are returned overstayers who, due to a mismatch or lack of appropriate skills, may be unable to productively reintegrate into their home communities.  Various technical assistance programs sponsored by the destination state can support existing reintegration programs of the source state.
In the end, the Illegality From Within mechanism suggests that an inclusive, proactive management of human mobility is the most sustainable, nay, the only realistic strategy to address the human resource challenges of both Japan and the Philippines.

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[i] To clarify, I use the two terms ‘migrant illegality’ and ‘migrant irregularity’ to refer to the shaded area in the SMIF.  I treat ‘illegality’ as also ‘irregularity’ but not vice-versa, the latter term being broader, thus including deviating from ‘regularity’ as defined by laws, or ‘illegality.”   Since laws are specific to destination and source countries, I view the potential migrant as irregular when in the source country (in that he is ineligible for regular entry when pitted against the qualifications set by the destination country) and illegal (or having committed an act that violates the law) when in the destination country.
[ii] See the “Points-based preferential immigration treatment for the highly-skilled foreign professional,” first mentioned in the 2010 Basic Plan for Immigration Control, was finally implemented by the Immigration Bureau of Japan only last May 7, 2012. Click on to see more details on the point-based system; click on and go to Page 21 of the 2010 Basic Plan for Immigration Control (4th Edition) to see the first discussion of the points-based system.  Also see the new Residency Management System of July 2012 at

[iii] I define “mechanism” as a process through which inputs become outputs.  Mechanisms may also involve a confluence of intervening factors that bear down on inputs in ways that create outputs other than those originally envisioned.

[iv] I apply the same arrow naming conventions used in Figure 1 so as to achieve continuity in the migrant types. 

[v]Case snippets are drawn from full case studies of current and previous Filipino overstayers with whom I have conducted multiple interviews between August 2009 and March 2012.