Citizenship and Migration: The Case of Japan
International Relations and Diplomacy
It is conventional wisdom that policy outcomes within consolidated democracies are based on a compromise between preferences of the general public and those of politicians. However, it is questionable whether these divergent incentives are truly translated into migration policy, and if so, how that process occurs. By treating actors' preference formation process as a causal mechanism, this paper hypothesizes the citizenship regime plays a central role in constructing threat perception harbored
... y the general public while altering politicians' strategic calculations on electorate. Specifically, I argue natives under a jus sanguinis (by ancestry) regime are less welcoming toward migrants, because they are less exposed to an environment where migrants have equivalent social and political rights, fulfilling their duties as full members of the host country. Thus, natives do not re-categorize these initial outsiders as in-group members. Meanwhile, politicians in a jus sanguinis regime have less incentive to enact generous policies toward migrants, because they are excluded from the voting group. In sum, countries adopting this citizenship principle are likely to be less willing to incorporate migrants. This paper uses Japan as a case to trace how this causal mechanism has operated in a country under a strict jus sanguinis principle.