Japan is facing a population crisis, writes political commenter Francisco Toro, and is a stark example of what happens when a country heavily reduces or limits immigration. The country has an aging population where native-born people’s death rates outnumber births, a shortage of new workers along with slow economic growth, and approximately eight million vacant houses.
Although the country’s politicians have historically opposed higher rates of immigration, the government has recently made more work permits available to foreign workers. Even so, the government forces most temporary foreign workers to frequently apply for extensions, prevents many from bringing their families, and in general has limited efforts to welcome and integrate them into society. “Japan proves that the choice between homogeneity and diversity is real,” Toro writes. “It’s just that homogeneity leads to decline, while diversity offers at least a chance of ongoing vitality and prosperity.”