Extensive research investigates how immigration shapes natives’ anti-immigrant sentiment. However, several areas require further scrutiny. This paper explores how processes of immigration affect anti-immigrant sentiment in a new immigration destination country – Japan – drawing on longitudinal data to examine these processes over time, and explicitly testing the mechanisms of perceived-threat and intergroup-contact posited to underpin this relationship. Through this analysis the paper aims to: examine how generalizable the immigrant share/immigration attitudes theoretical framework is to non-Western societies; refine our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning this relationship; and more robustly test its causal assumptions. To pursue these aims the study draws on two sets of nationally-representative Japanese data, designed to generate complementary insights, including: four-waves of longitudinal panel data (2008-2014) and a unique cross-sectional dataset containing measures of perceived-threat and contact. Applying multilevel and fixed-effects panel data approaches, the findings demonstrate that as immigration increases in Japanese prefectures and municipalities, residents become increasingly averse towards immigration (although there is some evidence of non-linearity at the municipality-level, with sentiment improving again in high immigrant share environments). This overall relationship appears largely driven by two competing processes. In higher immigrant share environments, perceived-threat is higher, increasing anti-immigrant sentiment. However, concurrently, intergroup contact also increases in these environments, reducing anti-immigrant sentiment. Therefore, despite the overall negative relationship (driven primarily by perceived-threat), rising contact exerts a countervailing positive effect as immigration increases. Taken together, this research demonstrates that theories of attitudinal-change with higher immigration, developed within Western-contexts, also appear salient for newer-destination, non-Western societies.
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 14 Aug 2021|
Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms
- Cathie Marsh Institute