Flyjin update: how many foreigners actually left Japan? (August update.)

Last week was the fifth (month) anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake (Great Northeastern Japan Earthquake.) Regular readers will remember that there was much discussion in our corner of the blogosphere about so-called “Flyjin”, Japan-side expatriates who left Japan in the immediate aftermath of the disasters. Some left permanently, and others found it a good time to take a trip home. Since their real home was another country, their disappearance was misportrayed, to some extent, as having fled in the face of danger.

I like to count, and so I have been curious to find out how many people have really left Japan. I developed two indicies, that I called the Flyjin Indicies. One used the data coming from Japan’s MITI and measuring the employment and revenue in the English conversation industry–the Eikaiwa Industry. The other index used the listed job postings of a fairly reputable business talent search firm in Ginza called Wall Street Associates.

I have a graph for each of these that I mean to get up shortly. In the meantime, let me just give an overview of what seems to be the case.

Eikaiwa employment has barely budged. It was on a downward trend, and that same trend has just continued. It isn’t a matter of some dip in the numbers. It looks like the same number of openings are there, and if there are different people in the slots (as can be likely), then it’s just another day in Japan.

As regards search openings and dispatch, there has been a slight rise in openings listed, BUT I hasten to point out to you that I have looked at the website frequently in the last five months. (That is why, you may remember, it was one of the top 1500 popular South Central Pennsylvania websites on Alexa several weeks ago.) I saw a pattern that job openings are recycled, and so it isn’t very clear how many search openings there really are—there may be many, or it may just be a lot of fluff to get your CV posted with the firm. The number of contract (dispatch) positions fluctuates between 30 and 50, and so I am convinced that business really hasn’t gone anywhere in that key foreigner employment area, either.

[More in a while.]

[Update: According to METI, employment in Eikaiwa through May is down by just a handful of people, keeping with a trend that began in late 2007/ early 2008.

The Wall Street Japan index is up, but by under 200. Again, if you check each posting, you see that a number of the jobs are recycled from earlier posts. I still think it’s useful, though, to show that there aren’t some huge number of openings in Tokyo, or elsewhere in Japan.

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