Multicultural coexistence, homogeneous heterogeneous relationships, interactions with immigrants, neighborhood relationships, English speaking ability


With a declining birth rate and an aging population, Japan needs to open the door to immigrants in order to maintain its workforce. "Multicultural Coexistence" or “tabunka-kyosei” in Japanese is commonly used to describe the relationship between Japanese people and foreign nationals in Japan. Unfortunately, the definition of this term is entirely unclear. This study defines "Multicultural Coexistence" based on two conceptions, “Willingness for Communication” and “Support or Opposition for the equality of rights.” The analyses are based on quantitative data; a sample of 1,823 Japanese persons and a second sample of 292 foreign national persons living in the industrial city of Tokyo (Hamura City). Analyzing the data, the author found that more than half of foreign nationals (65.9%) supported the most positive attitude “Integrated Coexistence.” Unlike them, however, only 19.7% of Japanese people supported it, and 33.8% of them supported “Exclusionary Coexistence.” Using multinomial logistic regression, the author found out that age, English speaking ability, neighborhood relationships, and interactions with foreign nationals were the determinants of orientations toward coexistence for Japanese people. From the results, the author suggests that neighborhood and multicultural networks are key to promoting a coexistent Japanese society.