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40% 'uncomfortable' about increasing foreign population in their neighborhood: survey

Some 40 percent of people surveyed in a recent opinion poll on work and life said they would feel uncomfortable if the number of foreign residents living in their neighborhood increased, while about 20 percent feel resistant to having foreign co-workers, it has been learned.

    The survey was conducted by the independent administrative body Japan Institute for Labor Policy and Training in November and December 2015. Of some 4,000 people aged 20 and older who were asked to take the survey, a total of 2,118 of them responded.

    Asked about working with foreign colleagues, 38.2 percent said they "don't feel uncomfortable" about foreign co-workers, followed by those who said they "don't particularly feel uncomfortable" about working with them at 37.1 percent. Those who said they feel somewhat uncomfortable about foreign colleagues made up 17.1 percent of respondents, while pollees who said they feel deeply uncomfortable about working with foreigners were at 3 percent.

    In a question about being served by foreign workers as customers, a total of 16.4 percent said they either feel "somewhat" or "deeply" uncomfortable about being served by such workers.

    At the same time, while a total of 55.2 percent of respondents said they are not uncomfortable about the foreign population increasing in their neighborhood, 41.7 percent said they feel resistant to the foreign population growing in their community.

    The Japanese government is considering working on measures to expand the number of non-Japanese workers in the country as part of its work-life reform policy. However, an official from the institute that carried out the survey points out that Japan needs to work on not only accepting foreigners as workers but how to accept them in society as a whole.

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