Silent Exits: Risk and Post-3.11 Skilled Migration from Japan to Australia

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The number of Japanese citizens emigrating overseas has been increasing. The total number of overseas Japanese is over 1.3 million, and the number of those who hold permanent residency in other countries hit a record high of 484,150 in 2017. Australia is now the second most popular destination for Japanese permanent residents. What is behind the increase in Japanese emigration, and why has Australia become one of the most popular destinations? In contrast to the common understanding of skilled migration from industrialized countries as being oriented toward better lifestyle, this research found that skilled migrants who left Japan after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima disasters of March 2011 have made their decision due to concerns over present and future risks that became manifested after the disasters. Drawing on in-depth qualitative interviews, this paper analyzes the socio-political, economic, and environmental risks that prominently emerged in the narratives of emigration decisions. While we still need more case studies to have a comprehensive understanding of this phenomenon, our research in Australia suggests that post-3.11 skilled emigration from Japan carries some distinctive characteristics, including a growing sensitivity to risks, a desire for risk aversion, and political awareness among highly educated workers.




Oishi, N., & Hamada, I. (2019, March 9). Silent Exits: Risk and Post-3.11 Skilled Migration from Japan to Australia. Social Science Japan Journal. Oxford University Press.

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