Governing Diversity and Migration in Japan and the UK

Online event - Zoom
Tuesday 26 October 2021 (09:00-10:00)

We invite you to this Joint IRiS-Waseda Webinar on Governing Diversity and Migration in Japan and the UK with speakers Szymon Parzniewski and Nobuko Nagai.

Moving from ‘ambiguous’ multiculturalism to ‘tacit’ superdiversity? Effects of migration-driven diversifications on building local disaster resilience in Japan, Toyama: Szymon Parzniewski, University of Birmingham


While Japan has been long perceived as a demographically homogeneous country with low levels of migration, local demographic change in cities like Toyama brings levels of diversity not experienced before. In the last decade, local authorities across Japan increased their efforts to build disaster preparedness among diverse communities. Highlighting the role of demographic change and migration-related diversification processes happening in Toyama, we address the question: how are public servants and practitioners trying to adapt disaster resilience building efforts to diversifying population? Using qualitative semi-structured interviews and ethnographic observations with public servants and practitioners, the paper focuses on the challenges associated with a growing discrepancy between guiding principles based predominantly on ethno-national conceptualisations, a Japanese form of ‘ambiguous’ multiculturalism reflected in and influenced by multicultural coexistence (tabunka kyosei), and local disaster resilience needs shaped by migration-driven diversification. We also offer an empirical advancement of the superdiversity lens, beyond its predominantly ‘Western’ applications, as a heuristic tool to examine the nature of ‘tacit’ articulations of migration-driven diversity.

City-level approaches to migrant integration in Birmingham, UK and Osaka, Japan: Nobuko Nagai, University of Birmingham


The world has entered a new phase of mass migration and superdiversity, and roles that local authorities and communities play in migrant integration have gained particular attention. Particularly in urban area, local authorities are required to respond to such rapid superdiversification of their population independent from the national political discourse. Reflecting local demography and demands, local-level migrant integration can therefore help migrant residents settle in and establish own identities linked to their place of residence, which leads to enacting urban citizenship. This paper examines how urban citizenship can be operationalised through local-level integration strategies and shares preliminary findings from semi-structured interviews with stakeholders (city officials, policymakers, civil society, migrant communities) in Birmingham, UK, and Osaka, Japan. This paper attempts to show different roles played by stakeholders and policymakers in making city-level migrant integration strategies.

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