Brazilian migrant workers. The path to settling down
100 years have passed since the immigration of Japanese workers to Brazil started in 1908. The number of second and third-generation Brazilians of Japanese descent registered in Japan as foreigners has now exceeded 310,000. Number of contacts with the Japanese society has been on the rise as well.
Atsushi Tanabe and Kenji Kawai are two Brazilians of Japanese descent who have established the cheap international telephone service “Brastel”, co-own the business and the building where the company head office is situated. The two men come from Sao Paulo and after initially studying in Japan, they have established the company in ’96 and managed to make it a successful business with a 10 billion yen-annual turnover in 10 years. Their business started by targeting migrant workers from Brazil, then expanding to include other foreigners living in Japan as well as international students, offering low-cost and user-friendly services, and recently they have gone on to include the corporate business sector as well.
About 250,000 Japanese immigrants boarded on ships to far-away Brazil aiming to catch the Big Dream 100 years ago. But, now the number of Brazilians staying in Japan is even larger. Though many Brazilians are employed as low-skilled labor due to the “language barrier”, the number of entrepreneurs like Tanabe and Kawai has been increasing.
Success in work leads to settling down. With the law revisions accepted by the Ministry of Justice and Immigration Bureau in 1990, limitations on the resident status for second and third-generations Brazilians of Japanese descent were extended from the average of 2-3 years to 8 years. Number of Brazilians who were allowed to settle down in Japan has exceeded 78,000 at the end of 2006.
As a result, Brazilians who used to comprise the majority of short-term residents, started to feel like Korean and Chinese workers with a special long-term residence status.