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Japan–South Korea Immigration Policy Exchange Program

2017–Present

Japan and South Korea are both facing rapid increases in immigration, leading to the development of more multicultural and multiethnic societies. In November 2017, JCIE began a two-year program aiming to facilitate the exchange of opinions on societal and governmental policy proposals to empower immigrants living in both countries.

This program has featured a number of meetings in both South Korea and Japan featuring participants who have immigrated from Vietnam, the Philippines, Nepal and Myanmar. JCIE also started a mutual site-visit program between the two countries to allow participants to better understand the unique situations faced by migrants.


Events

South Korea Visit Program
April 25–29, 2018

This one-week exchange deepened participants’ understanding of the legislative issues and immigrant communities in South Korea through site visits to a number of organizations focused on immigrants, such as the Korea Support Center for Foreign Workers and the Multicultural Family Support Center. They also visited NPOs and community centers where the Korean side participants are active.

Japan Visit Program
August 23–27, 2018

On this one week trip to Tokyo and Yokohama, participants deepened their understanding of activities to eliminate discrimination and human rights violations, and community activities focused on immigrant youth in Japan. They also visited international exchange organizations and NGOs in Tokyo and Yokohama, which are areas grappling with large numbers of immigrant workers.

Japan Visit Program
May 30–June 2, 2019

This trip to Tokyo and Hamamatsu city featured a special focus on education for children of immigrant families. Participants had the chance to visit three schools, in both Tokyo and Hamamatsu, serving a wide variety of age groups and demographics. The visit to Hamamatsu city, which has the highest number of Brazilian immigrants to Japan, also gave participants the opportunity to meet with and discuss a variety of issues faced by immigrant communities in Japan.

On June 1–2, they participated in the national forum for Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan, held in Tokyo.  Participants presented during the workshop on migrant women, sharing their experiences working in South Korea with Japanese participants.  They also learned about the variety of issues facing immigrants in Japan during the forum. Finally they again met with Japanese counterparts to discuss their experiences in Japan and to talk about possible topics for the next Japanese visit to Korea in early July.

South Korea Visit Program
July 7–July 10, 2019

A delegation of four Asian migrants who live in Japan traveled to meet with their counterparts in Korea for discussions on the common challenges they face. The delegation was able to observe activities and services for migrants offered by the national and local governments in Korea. They visited Hwawon Community Welfare Center, Guro Middle School, Sookmyung Institute for Multicultural Studies, Rainbow Youth Center, Southwest Seoul Global Center, and other locations.

Participants noted that Korea is much more advanced in terms of the programs and funding offered by the national and local governments. For example, the Seoul municipal government has 19 facilities for migrants that are solely funded by the city, whereas the Tokyo metropolitan government has none although the number of migrants in both cities is similar (over 400,000). The Korean government also has a national integration policy under which migrants can receive Korean language and culture lessons free, while Japan currently has no such system.

The Japanese migrants who participated shared their challenges with their migrant counterparts in Korea and were able to learn from one another's efforts. They stressed that such exchanges are very important for encouraging and uniting the migrant communities in both countries.