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Japan to Welcome 820,000 Foreign Workers Amidst Shortage Crisis

Japan to Welcome 820,000 Foreign Workers Amidst Shortage Crisis

In a move aimed at addressing Japan’s pressing labor shortage, the Japanese government has expanded its foreign skilled worker visa program, welcoming professionals from additional industries.

The cabinet’s decision, marking the first expansion since the program’s inception in 2019, brings the total number of eligible sectors to 16.

Among the newly added industries are road and railway transportation, as well as forestry and timber sectors, crucial areas grappling with acute shortages exacerbated by the nation’s declining birthrate.

The expansion comes at a critical juncture, with the looming “2024 problem” posing further challenges, particularly in transportation and logistics.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi emphasized the importance of swift action, urging relevant ministers to prepare for the influx of skilled foreign workers and strive for an inclusive society.

Under the revised program, skilled foreigners will be integrated into various roles, including drivers of buses, taxis, and trucks, as well as positions in train car manufacturing, track maintenance, and railway operations.

Stringent language proficiency requirements, such as passing the N3 level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, underscore the commitment to ensuring effective communication in customer-facing roles.

With plans to admit up to 820,000 foreigners over the next five fiscal years, Japan aims to more than double its previous estimates, signaling a proactive approach to address labor shortages across vital sectors.

Furthermore, revisions to related rules, including Justice Ministry ordinances, will facilitate the seamless integration of skilled workers into the workforce.

The government’s commitment extends beyond immediate labor needs, as evidenced by plans to replace the contentious foreign trainee program with a revamped system focused on skill development and worker protection.

This comprehensive reform underscores Japan’s determination to navigate demographic challenges while embracing the contributions of skilled foreign workers, heralding a new chapter in the nation’s labor landscape.

This Article is Fact-Checked. See Policy.
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