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Home > Debates Last Updated: 14:31 03/09/2007
Debate: Comment

Comment on International Marriages

Daniel Dolan (Director, Global Communication Strategy, Weber Shandwick Worldwide)

J. Sean Curtin notes in his comment on marriages between Japanese and non-Japanese spouses that "on the negative side, the Japanese media quote immigration officials in urban areas as claiming that some of the increase in international marriages is the result of what are called visa or fake unions in which the real purpose is a work permit and not martial bliss".

Marital bliss? I imagine that something got lost in the translation here. Not even much-maligned Japanese government bureaucrats would attempt to propose "marital bliss" as a condition for marriage, given that most married couples living in Japan with visas would, on principle, need to be deported.

On a less frivolous note, Mr. Curtin also points out the perception in Japan, and perhaps among immigration officials, that the marriages in question contribute to "revitalizing local communities". Assuming that "revitalization" here refers to economic benefits, why the concern over marriages of convenience in which a non-Japanese spouse apparently marries only to get a work permit? Why not let them join in the revitalization?

This all points to the larger question of what the Japanese government plans to do to maintain an adequate workforce as Japan's population ages. Visa policies will be an important component to any comprehensive and effective approach.

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