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HOME  >  Special Subject  >  2019  >  Comment of Migrants and Japanese Society

Special Subject

Comment of Migrants and Japanese Society

Akihiko Tanaka, Selection Committee Chair

Selection of Projects for the Grant Program “Migrants and Japanese Society” 2019

The grant program 2019 titled “Migrants and Japanese Society” targets five issues with which applicants struggle. During the grant period, we requested applications from projects designed for building mechanisms and systems to bring solutions to the issues and achieve improvements, and for deepening insights in issues related to the acceptance of foreign human resources.

(1) Creation of an environment for maximizing the skills and potential of foreign human resources

(2) Minimizing gaps among foreign human resources in their access to information

(3) Review of human resources leading the care and support system and of existing resources

(4) Attracting skilled human resources

(5) Learning and lessons from insights and experiences gained through Japanese companies’ overseas operations

During the application period from October 1 to November 30, 2019, 90 applications were received.

At that time, the Foundation held three briefing sessions for potential applicants. After three members of the selection committee reviewed and examined the application documents, the selection committee met on January 30, 2020, and chose seven applicants as candidates for grant recipients (45 million yen in total).

The budget for grants for this fiscal year is 40 million yen in total. Because this is the first year of the program, a discussion by the selection committee led to a decision to choose more candidates covering as many objectives as possible. This means an increase in the budget of 5 million yen, to 45 million yen.

The following is an outline of the candidate projects.

D19-MG-0016  Ayako Kohno (Graduate Student (PhD Candidate) in Department of Health Informatics, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University)
“For Japanese medical care to be better for people from Islamic countries in Southeast Asia as well: Interactive communication strategy and social implementation through mixed-methods research”
Providing foreigners with safe access to medical institutions is essential for coexistence.
Religion is an important factor when consulting with a medical institution. This project aims to develop halal medical services for the increasing number of Muslim residents to feel secure when seeking care. This is expected to contribute to Issue (1) through contribution to (3).

D19-MG-0031  Noriko Yamada (Research Fellow, Institute for Future Engineering)
“Survey and promotion of multicultural society through supporting children with international roots -Creating a community where information can be shared and trust can be established across cultures and languages”
Many children with foreign citizenship who come to Japan with parents seeking jobs can be mentally vulnerable. Sometimes it is pointed out that a high proportion of those children have autism or emotional disorders and are thus enrolled in special needs classrooms. However, some previous studies have denied this. We need to discern the facts about this issue. This project aims to verify the facts and provide foreign parents and boards of education with the necessary information.
The project can be considered comprehensive, encompassing Issues (1), (2) and (3).

D19-MG-0034  Osamu Nimonjiya (Operating officer, Nonprofit Organization AHP Networks)
“Transformation from Home Care to Elderly Care National Insurance: Stabilization and Establishment of Cross-Cultural Cooperation for Foreign Employees at Japan's Nursing Homes”
Consisting of relevant persons from organizations and facilities accepting foreign care workers, the project team surveys facts about nursing care practices. Through interviews with returnees, the project aims to identify their problems that are different from those of foreigners staying in Japan, and to provide extensive information by organizing seminars. The written report is aimed at serving as a manual for accepting foreign care workers. The project is regarded as contributing to Issue (1).

D19-MG-0035  Yuko Takeda (Professor at Department of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, Juntendo University)
“Implementation and dissemination of ‘Easy Japanese’ training for health care professionals and students through a workshop assisted by foreign residents in a community”
The number of interpreters in healthcare is below the minimum level required. It is unrealistic to rely solely on interpreters for communication with foreigners at medical institutions. Since today many foreigners learn Japanese and are becoming proficient in the language to some degree, spreading “Easy Japanese” is more realistic and urgently needed. This project aims to organize workshops on a national scale based on past efforts and to spread “Easy Japanese” to medical institutions in 10 prefectures with higher proportions of foreigners in their populations. The project is expected to contribute to Issue (3).

D19-MG-0051  Yoshihiko Doi (Representative Director, Resource Center for Multicultural Community Tokai)
“A Strengthening Project of a Multilingual Consultation Service System Through Public-Private Partnerships? Towards Reaching Sustainable Management of (Japan’s) Newly Formed Multi-Cultural General Information Consultation System ‘One-Stop Centers’”
The project aims to build a system for providing foreign residents with diverse information and advice that they need and to discuss and promote measures to build a sustainable system, including the development of counselors and interpreters. More specifically, a fact-finding survey on consultation services will be implemented and an Aichi Model will be structured in accordance with the regional facts in an effort to train counselors and interpreters. This can be regarded as a project undertaken squarely by an experienced team for Issue (2).

D19-MG-0062  Shohei Sugita (Project Assistant Professor, Keio University Law School)
“Building a comprehensive platform for systems related to the acceptance of foreign workers”
When hiring foreigners, emigration- and immigration-related laws and labor-related laws of Japan as well as similar laws in the countries of the foreign workers must be followed appropriately. However, understanding the diverse and complex laws is not easy. The project surveys the laws of four countries, including Vietnam, China, Indonesia and the Philippines, and emigration- and immigration-related laws and labor-related laws of Japan, with an aim to build an information ecosystem where these laws are available. The project is regarded as squarely undertaking Issue (2).

D19-MG-0086  Sayuri Ogino (CEO, B&M Inc.)
“Research and Verification survey for a Support Model for local foreign highly skilled personnel by the Industry-Academia-Government-Bank collaboration”
Miyazaki Prefecture has introduced an industry-academic-government partnership to match Bangladeshi human resources highly skilled in IT with local companies as a measure to boost industry and to address the shortage of human resources. To encourage this initiative, the project will form a local platform involving the industry, academia, government, financial circles and volunteer groups and will build a program for supporting the lives of foreign residents. The project is regarded as undertaking Issue (4).


Many projects ambitiously concern Issues (1), (2) and (3). This is natural because these Issues are necessary for building an inclusive society with foreign human resources.

We adopted one project relating to Issue (4). However, we have a limited number of applications relating to this Issue. Applications for projects relating to Issue (5) are more limited and none of the projects adopted is related. Discovering projects relating to Issue (4) or (5) may require attempts to attract applicants interested in business management.

As a backdrop in developing this grant program, a new status of residence for foreign nationals called “Specified Skilled Worker” has been introduced since April 2019 by the Government. However, we have received very few applications for projects directly related to the status. This may be because the residency status is very new and the number of those who have those statuses was far below  initial assumption of the Government. In inviting applications for the next fiscal year, the program guidelines may need to be reviewed in terms of, for example, problems and desirable changes in the above new status.

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