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Japan Growing Alarmed by Influx of Illegal Aliens

December 13, 1987|Associated Press

YOKOHAMA, Japan — Life holds few certainties for Jun, a judge's son who left his children in the Philippines to work as a day laborer in this port city.

Some days he unloads freighters. Other days he dodges immigration inspectors.

The strong yen currency has lured as many as 100,000 Asian migrant workers that Japan needs, yet is doing its best to shut out.

Many of these illegal workers take on the manual jobs few Japanese want, but the rising influx has alarmed a society proud of its homogeneity and sent the government scrambling for an acceptable response.

Number of Aliens Growing

The government rounded up 5,802 aliens working without visas in the first half of this year, up 78% from a year ago. Three-fourths were Filipinos, a tenth Thais and the rest mainly from Pakistan, Taiwan, Bangladesh and South Korea.

Most were women, 90% of whom the Immigration Bureau classified as "hostesses." With few jobs available in the Middle East because of lower oil prices, the number of men coming to Japan nearly tripled in the first half of 1986.

Authorities say they don't succeed in finding all the illegals, which they estimate at 20,000 to 30,000.

Officials say this crowded island nation of 122 million people can hold no more outsiders. But in a recent week Jun found day work at five construction sites and on the waterfront in Yokohama.

Jun costs his employers about half what a Japanese day laborer earns and gets no extra benefits such as insurance coverage.

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