Country Risks and Brain Drain: The Emigration Potentials of Japanese Skilled Workers

44 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2020

See all articles by Yusaku Horiuchi

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Nana Oishi

University of Melbourne

Date Written: October 22, 2020


This study assesses the brain drain potentials in Japan and the factors shaping Japanese skilled workers’ interest in emigrating to other countries. The total number of Japanese citizens who live overseas with permanent residency status reached a record high of 513,750 in 2018. While most existing research attributes Japanese emigration to the pursuit of a better lifestyle, recent qualitative studies point out the emerging sense of country risks as significant drivers. We explore Japan’s brain-drain potentials with a focus on such risk factors. Specifically, based on our original survey, we examine what types of Japanese skilled workers are interested in emigration and how information about Japan’s country risks could affect their attitudes. We find that respondents with overseas experience and those in young age cohorts are particularly motivated to consider emigration. Another notable finding is that those who distrust the government and media are also more likely to think about leaving Japan than those who do not. Furthermore, exposure to information about long-term economic risk encourages them to consider living abroad in the future. These results suggest that the brain drain from Japan is likely to continue, and thus there is a need for long-term policy actions to tackle it.

Keywords: immigration, emigration, skilled workers, country risks, brain drain, Japan

JEL Classification: H31, I31, J61, J81

Suggested Citation

Horiuchi, Yusaku and Oishi, Nana, Country Risks and Brain Drain: The Emigration Potentials of Japanese Skilled Workers (October 22, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Yusaku Horiuchi (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Government ( email )

204 Silsby Hall
HB 6108
Hanover, NH 03755
United States


Nana Oishi

University of Melbourne ( email )

Asia Institute, University of Melbourne
761 Swanston Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics