Restriction of Immigration from Korea to Japan


Japan tried to restrain immigrant from Korea because a large number of Koreans entered to Japan after the Annexation of Korea. The restriction was relaxed several times because Koreans' demand on immigration to Japan was very high.


After the Annexation of Korea in 1911, the number of Korean immigrant in Japan increased. In 1917, the number of Korean in Japan exceeded 10,000. To control the immigration, Japan introduced a travel documents system for Koreans in 1919. Relaxation and strengthening of the restriction were repeated. In spite of the restriction, Korean population in Japan increased at 40,000 in 1920 and 300,000 in 1930.

There were many stowaways from Korea to Japan for job opportunity and high salary. Although Japan entered into the war against China in 1937, the stowaways from Korea to Japan continued.

In 1937, the Japanese cabinet approved a policy to strengthen the restriction on immigration due to rapid increase in Korean immigrants. The Korean population in Japan reached 1.19 million in 1940.

Japan entered into the planned economy regime and National Mobilization Law was enacted in 1938. National Requisition Ordinance, which enabled to requisition the people for labors of planned industry, was enforced in 1939. The requisition itself was applied in Japan and Taiwan. In Korea, the restriction of immigration was relaxed. To satisfy the mobilization plan, Japanese companies were permitted recruiting Koreans.

In 1941, the Pacific War began. The government of Japan began to recruit Korean labor directly in place of private companies in 1942. The requisition of Korean was applied in September, 1944.

The number of Koreans who came to Japan under the mobilization plan was approximately 667,000, in which 430,000 people remained at the end of the war (1945). Korean population in 1945 was approximately 2 million in total.

Why this fact affects the rightward trend?

Korea and the left wing in Japan insist that Koreans in Japan were forcibly brought from Korea during the rule under the Empire of Japan. The fact is that there was a strong demand on the immigration to Japan and immigration was restricted to avoid the rapid increase in Korean population in Japan. However, many Korean people came to Japan at their own will to get jobs.