Not without some reason, feelings of racial superiority are widespread in Japan so Japanese basically want NO immigrants. But there are already quite a lot working there, both legally and illegally. For an immigrant to obtain Japanese citizenship is however close to impossible. The assertion below that immigrants are a solution to the problem of an ageing population would be disputed by many economists

Like the 800-pound gorilla that sits where it wants, the prickly question of immigration is too big to easily ignore in Japan, a nation running out of the young folks it needs to keep its economy vibrant. Yet with less than a week before Japan’s 100 million voters pick their next government, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its main rival, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), have chosen to tune out the uncomfortable issue.

That’s a shame, because how to stop a population rot that may leave Japan as an irrelevant has-been is probably the biggest test the country faces. The signs of decrepitude are numerous. China this year may overtake Japan as the world’s second-biggest economy, and an expected population drop (according to government forecasts) will mean 10 million fewer Japanese walking around two decades from now. In order for the population just to stay flat, the number of children born each year will have to rise by one-third, and nobody expects a new baby boom.

For a long time Japanese politicians didn’t bother going out of their way to argue policy issues at election time. Even now, campaigning is often little more sophisticated than cruising neighborhoods in vans repeating candidates’ names over and over through bulky roof-mounted horn speakers. Election laws forbid candidates from knocking on voters’ doors.

In recent years a willingness to debate ideas has surfaced, and for the coming election, both the LDP and the DPJ have published election pledges. The opposition group’s wish list includes a monthly benefit of almost $300 per child, while the LDP has set itself a goal of achieving 2% annual economic growth. But that rate is too low if Japan is going to find enough money to pay the pensions and hospital bills of its burgeoning ranks of retirees; growth of around 5% is probably closer to what’s needed. Where the DPJ plans to get the cash to fulfill its promises is unclear.

The solution to Japan’s demographic pickle is staring-you-in-the-face simple: bring in more foreigners. But for any politician to say as much would be tantamount to political hara-kiri. The only group suggesting Japan do so is the Happiness Realization Party, the political wing of a fringe religious band that could be described as “happy-ologists” espousing the science of joy. Their chance of ever winning a parliamentary seat is depressingly slim. When forced to discuss Japan’s graying, mainstream politicians tend to harangue their fellow citizens for not having more babies or blather on about a technological utopia of robots taking care of granny, the kids, the housework and the shopping.

Only around 2% of Japan’s population is foreign born, the biggest ethnic groups being Korean and Chinese. Japan, apart from being occupied at the end of World War II, has never had to deal with a sudden influx of foreigners. A closed country until only a century and a half ago, the Japanese look with trepidation at the social strains multiethnicity has wrought in the U.S. and Europe. An economic underclass of immigrants would be hard for the Japanese middle class, which is almost everyone, to feel comfortable with. But it may be a price they will ultimately have to pay.