The Impact of Anti-Assimilationist Beliefs on Attitudes toward Immigration


  • Author’s notes: This paper received beneficial comments when presented at the 2008 Western Political Science Association Annual Conference in San Diego, CA, and at the Georgia State University Department of Political Science Monthly Research Colloquium. I thank Ken’ichi Ikeda for access to the JES 3 data used in the project and for helpful comments on this research. I also thank Satoko Yasuno for beneficial comments on this project. The data as well as instructions on how to replicate these results are available from the author.


I outline different beliefs about assimilation, and show that these beliefs can influence attitudes toward immigration. Using data from a new national sample survey in Japan, I test whether and how beliefs about assimilation influence attitudes toward immigration. The results show two important conclusions. First, there is a large anti-immigrant sentiment in Japan. Second, after controlling for other known determinants of attitudes toward immigration, I find that those who are in favor of immigrant assimilation support higher levels of immigration, more immigrant equal rights, and have more accurate views about immigrant crime in Japan. This suggests that those favoring assimilation are not necessarily xenophobic in all cultures.