Japan looking for foreign worker boost

The Japanese government has hinted that it could look to bring in more foreign workers in a bid to cope with tight labour market and ever-shrinking work force.

During a policy meeting yesterday, leading members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) proposed expanding the types of jobs open to foreign workers, and doubling their numbers from current levels of close to 1 million.

The economy in Japan has been booming for the best part of three years, and with the country’s capital, Tokyo, preparing to host the 2020 Olympics, labour demand in Japan is currently at its highest in 24 years.

This has already led to the country seeking more skilled immigrants in recent years. Indeed, foreign worker numbers have already increased by 40 per cent since 2013.

To date, the country’s newer immigration measures have focused on easing entry for highly skilled professionals and expanding a ‘trainee’ system designed to share technology with developing countries.

Yesterday’s proposals suggest that foreigners be accepted in other sectors facing shortages, such as nursing and farming – initially for a period of five years with visa renewal possible.

The government also proposed creating a framework whereby the number of foreign workers would be doubled from around 908,000 currently, while the term ‘unskilled labour’ would be abandoned, allowing for more low-skilled workers to be brought to the country.

Article by David Fuller