Comment of Migrants and Japanese Society
Akihiko Tanaka, Selection Committee Chair
Selection of Projects for the Grant Program “Migrants and Japanese Society” 2020
The Toyota Foundation publicly solicited applications for the FY2020 Special Subject "Migrants and Japanese Society." The grant program will be given to projects that study any of the five issues below and implement measures to address these issues (for example, building a mechanism or system to solve an issue or improve a situation) during the grant period.
(1) Creation of an environment for maximizing the skills and potential of foreign talent
(2) Minimizing gaps among foreign residents in their access to information
(3) Examination of human and other resources in support of the care and support systems for foreign residents
(4) Attracting skilled human resources from abroad
(5) Lessons from insights and experiences gained through Japanese companies’ overseas operations
This fiscal year, among applications addressing issues (4) and (5), we also accepted applications focusing only on research and studies. Between September 7 and November 21, 2020, we received 75 applications. During this period, the Foundation held two online briefings for potential applicants over Zoom. After three members of the Selection Committee examined and evaluated the application documents, the Committee met on February 1, 2021 and chose six grant candidates to receive a total of 50 million yen.
The following is an outline of the grant candidates' projects.
D20-MG-0004 Takashi Moriya (Professor, Ritsumeikan University)
“A Survey of Japanese Companies Abroad: Changing Attitudes, Building a Cross Cultural Management and Human Resources Model, and Transferring it to Japan to Accommodate Foreign Human Resources”
This project will conduct fieldwork and a detailed survey of Japanese companies that employ advanced IT personnel in Vietnam, Thailand, and India. It aims to build a model for mindset reforms, cross-cultural management, and human resources management for accepting foreign nationals. It actively addresses issue (5). The project team includes both researchers and practitioners. The research plan is well-prepared. They also plan to disseminate their research results. We expect that companies seeking to employ foreign nationals can obtain useful knowledge from the project.
D20-MG-0017 Tamotsu Nakasa (Chair, SHARE (Services for the Health in Asian & African Regions))
“Supporting migrant communities in accessing information and developing pathways for testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19”
This comprehensive project plans to address issues (1), (2) and (3). As the COVID-19 pandemic affects Japan, the project seeks to establish a system providing accurate information and appropriate consultation to migrant communities, ensure their access to health organizations and medical institutions and search for a pathway toward the establishment of a safe and secure medical system. This project is organized jointly by NGOs and other organizations that provide medical support to migrants and researchers engaging in area studies. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected to provide the necessary support to foreign residents and help establish safer and more secure health systems.
D20-MG-0018 Atsushi Takeda (Associate Professor, Faculty of Industrial Sociology, Ritsumeikan University)
“International Joint Project toward the Construction and Deployment of "Multicultural Regional Vitalisation Models" based on Skilled Migrants' Entrepreneurship and Investment”
This international joint project aims to identify elements of success in the entrepreneurship and investment made by foreign residents in Niseko and Kutchan in Hokkaido, Sendai in Miyagi, Hakuba in Nagano, Kyoto in Kyoto, Beppu in Oita and Fukuoka in Fukuoka. It is expected that the project can provide models for regional revitalization through foreign entrepreneurship and investment. The project addresses issue (4). It plans to prepare a handbook, "multicultural regional revitalization models," and is expected to produce results that are useful for stakeholders, including local governments.
D20-MG-0022 Kumiko Sakamoto (Representative, Network for intercultural and inclusive society / Chairman, Aidensha)
“Creating a society where anybody can give birth and raise children without worries: investigation on conditions of foreign parents raising children from pregnancy to pre-school nurturing”
In recent years, it has been pointed out that, worldwide, the early childhood environment is especially important for the development and growth of children. However, in Japan at present, there are very few studies on the actual situation of childcare and childcare support for parents of children with foreign roots during this period compared to after commencing school. In this project, the Network for Intercultural and Inclusive Society, which consists of 14 civic groups in the three prefectures of Aichi, Gifu and Mie, will survey the situation of administrative services for childcare from pregnancy to preschool to create a more desirable environment for parents of children with foreign roots. The project will contribute to addressing issues (1), (2) and (3). The results that the project will produce are expected to also be useful outside the three prefectures that are being studied.
D20-MG-0028 Hideomi Yamada Assistant Manager, international medical center, The University of Tokyo Hospital
“Road to a diverse society for all patients: Improving the quality of medical interpreters by establishing an OJT training system at medical institutions”
In this project, health care professionals who have been involved in health care for residents originally from foreign countries and who have worked to build a medical interpreter accreditation system will provide on-the-job training to enhance the skills of medical interpreters. The project will address issues (2) and (3). In the previous fiscal year, the Toyota Foundation selected a grant project promoting "easy Japanese" at medical institutions. However, highly skilled medical interpreters remain necessary for advanced medical care. This project is expected to contribute to training medical interpreters to enable them to be more effective, highly skilled interpreters.
D20-MG-0072 Shingo Ashizawa (Professor, Faculty of Global and Regional Studies, Toyo University)
“Strategic approaches for a social infrastructure to invite foreign human capital—Establishing a Japanese Qualification Framework (JQF) and utilizing Foreign Credential Evaluation (FCE) systems”
The purpose of this project is to build a system and framework for accurately evaluating the qualifications, educational backgrounds and careers of foreign human capital. Europe, Canada and Australia have systems called the foreign credential evaluation (FCE) and National Qualification Framework (NQF). This project aims to propose a mechanism equivalent to these systems that is expected to make Japan's acceptance of foreign human capital more systematic and strategic. This mechanism is also expected to enable foreign human capital to develop and increase their capabilities. This project therefore addresses issue (1) as well as issue (4).
It is our pleasure to have selected high quality projects that address issues (1), (2), and (3) this year, too. We are gratified to have found and selected a project that focuses on health care for foreign nationals amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We also find it a positive trend that the increasing numbers of applications are made by networks of civic groups. Unlike last year, we are able to select projects addressing issues (4) and (5) squarely. We are happy that the successful projects related to issues (4) and (5) emphasize not just research but also implementation.
We hope that the world will survive the COVID-19 pandemic and return to normal soon. In that process, the number of foreign nationals in Japan will likely increase again. As the number of foreign nationals approaches the past level and beyond, Japanese society should become more amenable to foreign residents than in the period before the pandemic. A qualitative improvement is necessary. We must resolve a variety of challenges related to the acceptance of foreign nationals that have become clear during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that Japan is a society where foreign nationals are able to live comfortably and actively participate. Our expectations are that the projects selected last year that are being executed now and the projects chosen as candidates for grants this year will contribute to the enhancement of the quality of systems for accepting foreign human resources into Japanese society.