September 2018 archive

Applying Geography for global understanding

In Geography class, I learned about the changing population and human trafficking around the world. Through the lectures and looking into case studies, I came to think about how my experiences linked to the population trend and human trafficking in Japan.

The first subunit for the population unit was about population distribution. In this unit, I learned about the factors that affect the population distribution such as access to resources, trading potential, climate etc… I also learned about how there is an uneven population distribution in many countries including Japan, Canada, China, and South Africa. In these countries many people in the working age migrate for work to the core cities in the country resulting in an uneven population distribution. The increasing industrialization has diminished the importance of traditional jobs, such as farmers and fishermen, which can be done in rural areas. Currently, most of the jobs in Japan are located in urban area; thus most of the population are concentrated in the urban areas. Consequently this results in an ageing population in the rural areas. Personally, I have seen this trend when I went to expeditions in Izu, which is one of the rural areas in Japan. In Izu, I could not see big buildings nor much recreational facilities which younger generations would favour. Instead, there were many small restaurants, most of which sold Japanese food, and local grocery stores. The people there were 70% elderly, and the remaining were families who lived together with the grandmother/grandfather.

I also learned that the rate of external migration is increasing within the past decade since there are more jobs in high income countries than in middle income countries and low income countries. As from my own experience, in Yamate, the area in Yokohama where I live, there are many people from the Philippines who are working as nannies. These people do not work for a short period of time, but a long period of time since most of the nannies I see often have been in the area for approximately ten years since I have seen them since I was in elementary school. Thus this is a proof that external migration is taking place, and that people from countries with lower incomes (Philippines) come to high income countries (Japan) in order to find jobs.

There are, however, problems regarding external migration which is that migrants are subjected to human tracking. This is because they tend to lack knowledge in the languages of their destinations and therefore are more easily tricked by the traffickers. The traffickers usually confiscate the migrants’ passports and other identity documents so that they cannot run away. Some women are also sexually trafficked, and they are forced to marry men from the country they are in. Lighthouse, a NGO in Japan, came to our school to discuss how human trafficking is an unknown but important issue in many countries and that foreigners and women as well as children are the people that are the most trafficked.

Overall, through my geography class, I learned how there is a large disparity between people living in different regions of the world in terms of job opportunities and life quality, leading to both internal and external migration. I was able to relate my personal experiences to this information and reacknowledged how migration has become common in the current world. Moreover, I also learned about human trafficking and found out how human trafficking is also closely related to migration. The session by the staffs from the Lighthouse also contributed in my knowledge regarding human trafficking. Until last year, which I did not have much interest and knowledge in human geography, I did not care about the disparities between people and did not pay attention to the migrants I often see around my neighborhood. However, after learning about all of these things, I now appreciate how I am able to live a fulfilling life and also tend to pay more attention to the foreigners I see in my neighborhood.