Convergence in foreigners' rights and citizenship policies? A look at Japan

Kristin Surak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Citizenship laws and immigrant rights in rich, democratic countries are widely understood to be converging. Since most accounts of convergence are based on Western examples, Japan is an important test case. I distinguish three theoretical accounts of convergence: global-institutionalist, liberal-democratic, and problem-solving perspectives. I then examine trends in foreigners' rights in Japan since World War II in three domains: entrance, rights of residents, and citizenship. I find that convergence is occurring in the expansion of rights, partially in access to the territory, but not in formal citizenship. While the liberal-democratic perspective fails to account for trends, a combination of global-institutionalist and problem-solving accounts provides the most powerful analytic insight into convergence processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-575
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Migration Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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