Multicultural coexistence: homogeneous/heterogeneous relationships: Interactions with immigrants: Neighborhood relationships: English speaking ability


With a declining birth rate and aging population, Japan needs to open the door to immigrants 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 the term is unclear. This study defines multicultural coexistence based on two conceptions, namely “willingness for communication” and “support for or opposition to the equality of rights.” The analyses are based on quantitative data of a sample of 1,823 Japanese persons and 292 foreign national persons (immigrants) living in the industrial city of Tokyo (Hamura City). Data analysis revealed that more than half the immigrants (65.9%) supported the most positive attitude “integrated coexistence.” However, only 19.7% of Japanese people supported it, 33.8% of who supported “exclusionary coexistence.” Using multinomial logistic regression, the author determined that age, English-speaking ability, neighborhood relationships, and interactions with foreign nationals were the determinants of orientations to coexistence for Japanese people. And also, the author pointed out that foreign language speaking skills and neighborhood networks were determinants of contact with immigrants. Based on the results, the author suggests that neighborhood and multicultural networks are key to promoting a coexistent Japanese society.