The Various Contexts of Filipino Labor Migration to Japan

Ma. Rosario Piquero-Ballescas


Various contexts have been offered to explain why Filipinos migrate overseas. This paper contributes to the formulation of such explanations. Firstly, the paper provides a statistical mapping of Filipino migrant workers in various parts of the world, particularly in Japan. It then deals with a closer profile of certain groups of Filipino workers in Japan - the entertainers and the so-called undocumented Filipino workers. Finally, it analyzes Filipino labor migration to Japan in terms of its causes, processes, and consequences. The paper concludes that despite the hostility felt by the Filipinos for the Japanese because of the atrocities committed by the latter against the former in World War II, with the concurrence of the opening of trade relations between the two countries during the 1970s and the economic downturn in Philippines vis-a-vis the economic boom in Japan, Filipinos found plenty of incentives to leave the Philippines for Japan. The paper also shows how Filipino labor migration to Japan is a reflection of the present gradual transformation and incorporation of the Philippine economy into an informal sector of the global capitalist world.

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