2015 国際助成プログラム International Grant Program      
(Grant Number)
(Project Title)
Integration of Migrants and Social Policy Issues: Reflections from Japan, Korea and Thailand Towards the Creation of an Inclusive Society
日下部 京子
Kyoko Kusakabe
Asian Institute of Technology
(Grant Amount)
企画書・概要 (Abstract of Project Proposal)


The 2013/2014 IGP projects on multicultural society, especially in Thailand (there are five projects in Thailand out of the total nine), most of us have studied social services education and health targeted to migrants and their children.Through our discussion with other receiving countries, such as Japan and Korea, we noted the separation between mainstream social policies and programs and policies/programs for migrants. We argue that the challenges that migrants face in the country of destination is deeply related to the social structure and practices in the receiving country, which many of the low income nationals in the country also experience similar problems. That is, if we can create more inclusive society where migrants can also enjoy protection in rights and decent work and living, this will improve the lives of the socially excluded nationals as well, and vice versa. Therefore, it is important that migrant issues are integrated into the mainstream social policies in the receiving countries. In our project, we will discuss what are the barriers in integrating migrant issues into social policies/programs, and how it can be tackled by learning from each other through mutual participation in country workshops/field visits, and a regional conference.

実施報告書・概要 (Summary of Final Report)

Our project addressed what is often ignored in migration policies – the role of local communities and government in creating an inclusive society for migrants and locals. It is often the case that migration policies are a matter of national government. However, the challenges that migrants face are shaped by social/ political/ economic/ cultural conditions of the receiving communities. Socially and economically disadvantaged locals share similar challenges as migrants. Therefore, it can be more effective if both these domestic issues and migrant issues are discussed together at the local level in order to transform social policies to be more inclusive.
Through a mutual learning process between Japan (Kobe), Korea (Seoul), and Thailand (Greater Bangkok region), we reviewed the social services available for migrants provided both by the state, the community (including NGOs, local community and migrant communities themselves), and their families. We have learned how local processes play a significant role in shaping how migrants experience their lives in the places of destination. There is a large role that local government and communities can play since the national government is not able to address context specific needs of migrants. However, either because of a strong and universal national program like Korea, or because of uncoordinated and under-resourced locally-based programs in Thailand and Japan, local integration processes are not well-recognized and appreciated of its importance. At the same time, since such local processes are ignored, gender bias and other values can be introduced and strengthened unchecked. There is clearly a need to call for a more systematic, structured, inclusive, well-resourced locally-sensitive and contextualized approach for migrant integration.

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