Ja­pan eyes more ‘for­eign work­ers’

Abe to visit China

Arab Times - - IN­TER­NA­TIONAL -

TOKYO, Oct 13, (Agen­cies): Ja­pan on Fri­day un­veiled a plan to at­tract more for­eign blue-col­lar work­ers, as the world’s num­ber-three econ­omy bat­tles a crip­pling labour short­age caused by an age­ing and shrink­ing pop­u­la­tion.

The plan re­port­edly aims to fill gap­ing short­ages in sec­tors such as agri­cul­ture, nurs­ing, con­struc­tion, ho­tels and ship­build­ing.

Un­der the draft leg­is­la­tion, for­eign na­tion­als with skills in fields iden­ti­fied as fac­ing short­ages would be awarded a visa al­low­ing them to work for up to five years.

For­eign work­ers in those fields who hold stronger qual­i­fi­ca­tions and pass a Ja­pa­nese lan­guage test will also be al­lowed to bring fam­ily mem­bers and can ob­tain per­ma­nent res­i­dency sta­tus.

Gov­ern­ment spokesman Yoshi­hide Suga told re­porters on Fri­day that the bill would be sub­mit­ted to par­lia­ment “at the ear­li­est pos­si­ble time,” with a pos­si­ble launch in April.

Ja­pan has tra­di­tion­ally been cau­tious about ac­cept­ing un­skilled work­ers from abroad and cur­rently lim­its res­i­den­tial sta­tus to highly skilled pro­fes­sion­als.

The only ex­cep­tion to this rule is for South Amer­i­cans of Ja­pa­nese de­scent.

And, Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe’s gov­ern­ment has stressed the re­forms are not in­tended as a whole­sale over­haul of Ja­pa­nese im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy, and mass im­mi­gra­tion is not ex­pected.

Abe

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