Filipinos with 212,000-registered number is the fourth largest foreign population in the country after China, Korea, and Brazil. Currently we have around 170,000 Filipino holders of Alien Registration Card with visa category as permanent residents; spouse or child of Japanese or long term residents; and long term residents including custodians of Japanese children, mostly single mothers. With average of two children per Filipino mothers, we have around 340,000 Philippine rooted children and youth that most are now in their teens and early twenties.
Majority of Filipino mothers of Japanese-Filipino children have worked for around ten to twenty years or more in nightclubs and snack bars without any personal and skills development intervention. Without acquiring new skills and with the limitations to read and write Japanese kanji characters have made it even more difficult for them to find decent jobs.
For the first time the Japanese government admitted it has a growing number of poor people after years of economic stagnation. The Labor Ministry disclosed in October 2009 that almost one in six Japanese, or 20 million people, lived in poverty in 2007. Japan’s poverty rate is at 15.7 percent as reported in the January 25, 2010 issue of Japan Times as well as in the April 21, 2010 issue of The New York Times.
Single mothers are in the top of the list of people in the poverty threshold. Within this category and at forty percent divorce ratio, the Filipino single mothers and their children are in the most difficult and in unimaginable living situation as indicated by our couseling cases. At present there is a noticeable number of Filipinos accompanied by their children in counseling work who could be seen as the poorest among the poor.
The current calculated 340,000 population of Japanese-Filipino children is in the increasing trend. After the June 4, 2008 Supreme Court ruling become official in December of the same year granting Japanese nationality to children of unwed foreign mothers who are recognized by their Japanese father out of wedlock is leading to add another tens of thousand eligible Japanese-Filipino children and youth arriving from the Philippines.
The surge in the population of Japanese-Filipino (JFC) and dependent visa holder is alarming. Because of this, the Japanese society is seemingly caught by surprise and is unable to relate to this new generation of youth that will become part of the nation's future. These children are likewise facing their own challenges in regards to finding their places in schools, jobs, and communities and in finding a way to achieve a better life in Japan.
Regardless one likes it or not, the members of Japanese-Filipino families together with foreign migrants play an important role in shaping the Japanese society’s future. This is where the Center for Japanese-Filipino Families or CJFF and its programs and activities are geared for. We have worked to raise the awareness of membes of Japanese-Filipino families, train and provide opportunity to develop and improve the skills and talents of Filipino mothers and their children, and organize to empower the Japanese-Filipino community for proactive participation in building multicultural society and more.