As part of JCIE’s Japan–South Korea Immigration Policy Exchange Program, a delegation of four Asian migrants who live in Japan traveled to meet with their counterparts in Korea for discussions on the common challenges they face. The delegation was able to observe activities and services for migrants offered by the national and local governments in Korea. They visited Hwawon Community Welfare Center, Guro Middle School, Sookmyung Institute for Multicultural Studies, Rainbow Youth Center, Southwest Seoul Global Center, and other locations.
Participants noted that Korea is much more advanced in terms of the programs and funding offered by the national and local governments. For example, the Seoul municipal government has 19 facilities for migrants that are solely funded by the city, whereas the Tokyo metropolitan government has none although the number of migrants in both cities is similar (over 400,000). The Korean government also has a national integration policy under which migrants can receive Korean language and culture lessons free, while Japan currently has no such system.
The Japanese migrants who participated shared their challenges with their migrant counterparts in Korea and were able to learn from one another’s efforts. They stressed that such exchanges are very important for encouraging and uniting the migrant communities in both countries.