Limitations of social protections of migrant families in Japan exposed by COVID-19: The case of Nepalese women

Tanaka M.
Document Type
Source Title
Asia-Pasific Journal: Japan Focus
Japan Focus


The right to protection from violence should be conferred upon all people regardless of their nationality. However, migrant women in Japan face exceptional risks, including that of domestic violence. This paper focuses on the vulnerability of Nepalese women, most often in Japan as dependents of their husbands, who are engaged as cooks in the ubiquitous Indo-Nepali restaurants. Shut out of the male-dominated support networks within the Nepalese community, they are forced to rely on Japanese state support in a time of crisis. Yet, despite the fact that most of these women are working and paying taxes in Japan, many are unable to effectively access the state support system, leaving them particularly at risk in times of calamity, as we are seeing now with COVID-19. This paper outlines their vulnerability and calls upon the state to recognize that these migrants are not free riders, but residents entitled to equal rights and protection under the law. At a time when we often hear about the national imperative to "Build Back Better" in the postCOVID-19 period, I hope that these vulnerable populations are included in such building. © 2020, Japan Focus. All rights reserved.

Migration angle
Region/Country (by coverage)