Matters of border control in twenty-first-century Japan interact with current social issues involving demography, the labour market and economic relationships with other countries in the region. Japan faces a rapidly ageing population, the highest life expectancy in the world, a birth rate well below replacement level and a shrinking population. Smaller families find it difficult to provide primary care for the sick, the elderly and those with disabilities, and the welfare system is stretched to the limit. At the same time, Japanese people are increasingly unwilling to undertake work regarded as ‘manual labour’ or ‘unskilled labour’. Thus, the management of border control is related to the labour market and the management of welfare. This is a range of policies which I would like to refer to as involving the management of bodies. This paper thus focuses on ‘the management of borders’ and the ‘management of bodies’ in contemporary Japan.