Japan unveils plan to attract more foreign workers
With Japan’s population aging and shrinking, foreign nationals with skills in fields identified as facing shortages would be awarded a visa allowing them to work for up to five years according to the draft legislation
JAPAN on Friday unveiled a plan to attract more foreign blue-collar workers, as the world’s number-three economy battles a crippling labor 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 twice as many as a decade ago.
But more than 450,000 of those are foreign spouses of Japanese citizens, ethnic Koreans long settled in Japan, or foreigners of Japanese descent, rather than workers coming to Japan to seek jobs. A further 300,000 are students, who are allowed to work part-time during their studies but are expected to return home afterwards.
Japan had fewer than 240,000 foreign skilled workers and just over 250,000 foreign trainees in the country in late 2017, according to government figures. It has bilateral deals admitting limited numbers of nurses and care workers from other parts of Asia.
Foreign workers work at a demolition site in Chiba east of Tokyo.