Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are commonly regarded as homogeneous societies under strong central governments and with highly influential economic elites. All three countries host populations of unskilled immigrant workers who face hardships, prejudice and little support from government programs. Host-country civil society activists have organized to assist these foreign workers and moved on to broader political agendas, thus helping to protect foreign workers’ rights and to advance democratization in their own countries.
Apichai W. Shipper is a Research Scholar with the Asian Studies Program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and the Asia Regional Chair at the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State. He is the author of Fighting for Foreigners: Immigration and Its Impact on Japanese Democracy (Cornell University Press, 2008) and numerous articles in scholarly journals. He also has been a member of the faculty in the Department of Political Science and the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California.