Could Japan become a future cultural melting pot?

Human brotherhood is a beautiful ideal. We’re all human. Differences of skin color, body odor, facial features, language, culture, religion, citizenship and so on veil — but only lightly — our shared humanity. They have fueled hatred, and continue to, perhaps more so of late; but they need not, and one day will not. Japan can point the way.

Among the more eloquent spokesmen for that ideal is Hidenori Sakanaka, former director of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau and current executive director of the Japan Immigration Policy Institute, which he founded in 2005. Why not, he has been saying since then, welcome 10 million immigrants to Japan by 2050?

It’s a hard sell. Japan hypes its warmhearted omotenashi (hospitality) toward foreign visitors. Foreign residents are another matter. No Japanese government has ever been voted out of office for strictly limiting their numbers. Human brotherhood does not, on the surface, seem a Japanese forte.


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