Japan and South Korea, with an increasing number of foreign residents due to international marriage and demand for their work, are facing the common challenge of creating a multi- ethnic, multicultural society in the region. Knowing the problems faced by foreign residents in Japan and Korea is a requirement in order to act for the realization of the human rights of the foreign residents.
In both countries, local governments and civil society groups have been making efforts to address this issue creatively but also on a trial-and-error basis. The symposium exchanged lessons learned from the experiences and discussed ways to overcome the challenges together.
The symposium opened with a keynote speech by Professor Kinhide Mushakoji entitled “Fighting the Insecurity of Foreign Residents - Possibilities of Cooperation between Japanese and Korean People.” This was followed by a presentation by Professor Kyung Seok Oh of the Multicultural Research Institute, Hanyang University, in Korea who discussed the different ways of facilitating coexistence with the foreign communities in Ansan City. Associate Professor Yamamoto Kaori of the School of Education and Welfare, Department of Welfare Science, Aichi Prefectural University talked about citizens and residents and the role of foreign policy in the Tokai region. Mr. Hirai Masatsugu, Director for foreign residents policy of theHuman Rights Office of the Osaka City government, talked about local government policies for foreign residents.
The symposium was held on 24 October 2009 at t he International House, Osaka in Osaka City. It was jointly organized by HURIGHTS OSAKA and the Kansai NPO Alliance.
A Philippine movie on the life of a Filipina caregiver in London entitled Caregiver was shown in Osaka on 19 November 2009. The film portrays the story of a schoolteacher who decided to quit her teaching post to join her Filipino husband working in a hospital in London. The film presents the work of Filipino caregivers in a British home for the aged, and the complexity of their personal lives. The movie is one of the series of films on the lives of the so-called Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in recent years.
The movie showing was followed by a presentation of Ms. Sachi Takahata, of Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin University, on the training of Filipino caregivers and nurses who came to Japan under the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA). The presentation focused on Filipino caregivers and nurses who are undergoing language training before getting assigned to nursing homes and hospitals in Hiroshima area. The Filipino caregivers and nurses comprise the new batch of foreign workers in Japan under the economic partnership agreements with other countries. Indonesian caregivers and nurses have also arrived in Japan under a Japan-Indonesia economic partnership agreement.
The movie showing was jointly organized by HURIGHTS OSAKA, Rights of Immigrants Network in Kansai and Center for Multicultural Society (non-governmental organizations working on the rights of migrants). It was held at the DAWN Center, an institution focusing on women and gender issues.