Purpose of Research Exchange

As typically seen in Japan and the European Union (EU), modern society is currently facing three rapid changes that are closely connected with one another. These fears concern the rise of social, political, and economic instability within the receiving society due to intensified migration, divisions in the local community due to the advancement of multiculturalization, and an erosion of citizens’ sense of solidarity with one another, which is critical for welfare redistribution and which is leading to fluctuations in the welfare state. Coupled with the long-term population dynamics of an aging society and a declining birth rate, these three societal changes not only threaten the stability and maintenance of a developed society but also confront Japan and the EU with serious concerns about the human rights and welfare of migrants and their families.  

Japan shares these specific problems, which are related to developed countries, with the EU; further, it has also committed to close political and economic relationships with countries in the Asian and Pacific Ocean region, which includes agreements to accept migrant workers. Other Asian countries, meanwhile, are undergoing social transformations due to large-scale migrant worker movement. Under an ever-changing globalized environment, therefore, scholars in Japan, EU, and Asia now have the responsibility to investigate and share innovative and constructive knowledge from a variety of perspectives, so as to create the policies necessary for building stable, new living areas that extend beyond traditional communities.

This project aims to establish a research center that is connected to EU and Asia in Kobe, which has been a multicultural area since the Meiji era, in an effort to construct an international research system that addresses this unexplored problem. This is an issue that lies at the intersection of the humanities and social sciences, from both an empirical and a theoretical standpoint. For five years, from 2016 to 2020, the Kobe University’s Research Center for Promoting Intercultural Studies, in collaboration with eight overseas universities, four Japanese universities, and one research institution along with other research departments at Kobe University will conduct this project and construct a world-class research center for the study of migration, multiculturalization, and welfare policies.