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Most Japanese outside major cities reluctant to interact with foreigners

Feb 10, 2024

Tokyo [Japan], February 10: A majority of Japanese living outside the country's major cities do not engage in regular interaction with foreigners in their daily lives, a new survey showed, highlighting the need for more efforts to foster a friendly environment for foreigners.
Of the 1,194 surveyed in 59 regions across Japan where foreigners account for 5 percent or more of the population, 83.8 percent said they do not have regular exchanges with the foreigners who live alongside them, national news agency Kyodo reported, citing an online survey by a research institute at Taisho University.
Among the 16.2 percent who said they do, 39.7 percent said they are colleagues with non-Japanese people, followed by 32.5 percent who said they are neighbors with them, and 21.6 percent who said they have foreign friends.
Asked about their preference regarding an increase in the number of foreign residents, 54.5 percent responded negatively, with many citing concerns about friction or deterioration of the social order.
The survey did not include 23 wards in central Tokyo or Japan's 20 designated major cities, where the presence of foreign residents is comparatively high.
The findings reflected a general reluctance among Japanese to engage with foreigners, underscoring the pressing need for initiatives in fostering greater understanding and acceptance of diversity within Japanese society as the number of foreigners rises amid the country's labor shortage.
Japan has been opening up to more foreign workers to tackle labor shortage. As of the end of October last year, the number of foreign workers in Japan stood at a record high of 2.04 million, Kyodo cited data from the labor ministry.
Source: Xinhua