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Diversifying business culture in Japan - what if we all stand up?


Miho Tanaka


March 30, 2022


05:42 PM

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3.5% of population makes change. Are you aware of the 3.5% rule? The “3.5% rule” comes from Erica Chenoweth, a political scientist at Harvard, who found it was a useful predictor of a protest’s success — The Economist. Erica’s TED talk is accessible from here.

Researchers used to say that no government could survive if just 5% of its population rose up against it. No single campaign failed after they achieved the active and sustained participation of the 3.5% of the population. Every single campaign that surpassed the 3.5% was non-violent one.

Japan pursuing Multicultural Symbiotic Societies

Japan is gradually trying to diversify the population. Amongst Tokyo 23 Wards, Shinjuku holds the highest ratio of non-Japanese citizens.


Shinjuku conducted a questionnaire survey to highlight the challenges facing newcomers in Japan.

The 2015 Shinjuku survey asked foreign residents how frequently they felt subject to discrimination or prejudice in their dealings with Japanese.

  • 51.9% — apartment hunting
  • 33.2% — looking for a job
  • 25.6% — administrative procedures
2.35% of residence card holders in Japan.

According to Immigration Services Agency of Japan, 2,885,904 residence card holders were living in Japan out of the total population in Japan, 122,928,000. The number of resident card holders consists of 2.35% of the entire population.

1.9% of mixed race/ethnic Japanese.

In Japan mixed race/ethnic Japanese are called “hafu” (hāfu/half). A documentary “Hafu: The Mixed-Race Experience in Japan” captures their multicultural experiences in Japan. For the past 20 years, the ratio of mixed race/ethnic Japanese in Japan stays around 1.9% according to Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

“Citizens in Japan”

8,673 people acquired Japanese nationality by naturalization in 2020.

Although “[m]obilising a certain proportion of the population will not guarantee a movement’s success”, “[p]ublic awareness makes politicians pay attention” at least.

Seek Advice on How to Navigate Japan Business World and Visa Pathways

Startup Work Inc. based in Tokyo, leads in supporting Shibuya's Startup Visa. With bilingual support staff and extensive, practical experience working with startups, Startup Work Inc. provides a leading source for supporting individuals and startup businesses in Japan.

Connect with Miho and set up a consultation to further discuss how to acquire a Japan residence visa, or other matters related to living in Japan.

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