Social Contact and Attitudes Toward Outsiders: The Case of Japan

28 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2021

See all articles by Yusaku Horiuchi

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Yoshikuni Ono

Waseda University

Date Written: December 14, 2021


Previous studies have shown that people oppose refugee resettlement more strongly after being exposed to frames that depict refugees as threatening. However, all people may not perceive such threats the same way. Based on contact theory, we hypothesize that the treatment effects of threatening frames on people's opposition to refugee resettlement are conditional on their contact experience with foreign-national residents. The results of our pre-registered experiment in Japan indicate that exposure to threatening information does not change attitudes toward refugee resettlement among those living in municipalities where the number of foreign-national residents is rapidly increasing. Together with analyses of other subjective measures of contact with foreigners, our findings suggest that conscious and positive interactions with outgroup members may make natives less susceptible to anti-refugee rhetoric and threatening frames.

Keywords: perceived threat, intergroup relations, framing effect, contact theory, refugees, Japan

JEL Classification: D80, F22, J15, J61

Suggested Citation

Horiuchi, Yusaku and Ono, Yoshikuni, Social Contact and Attitudes Toward Outsiders: The Case of Japan (December 14, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Yusaku Horiuchi (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Government ( email )

204 Silsby Hall
HB 6108
Hanover, NH 03755
United States


Yoshikuni Ono

Waseda University ( email )

1-6-1 Nishiwaseda, Shinjuku-ku
Tokyo, 169-8050

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