Immigration bill clears Lower House; Opposition motion motionless

Japan’s ruling party destroyed a controversial immigration bill through the Lower House on Tuesday. This is a key step toward initiating a new visa system initiated to address the country’s acute labor shortages.


Deliberations on the government-sponsored bill only recently started and is making opposition parties call for more time for parliamentary debates. The bill is predicted to introduce 345,000 blue-collar foreign workers to the nation during its first five years.


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Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party voted in favor of the new bill but minor opposition party, Nippon Ishin no Kai, also supported the legislation at the plenary session. It is a rare occurrence.


Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and other opposition parties submitted a no- confidence motion against Justice Minister Takashi Yamashita, who is overseeing the revision. The motion was voted against by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its allies.


In submitting Tuesday’s no-confidence motion, lawmaker Kazunori Yamanoi of the Democratic Party for the People resorted to a debate between the multiple parties by delivering a nearly two-hour long speech on why their party thinks Yamashita is unfit for the job as Justice Minister.


They spent a good part of their speech highlighting examples of abuse and exploitation he said he had learned first-hand from some trainees the abuse they undergo in recent hearings they attended.


The abuses included working marathon shifts, being overworked and underpaid, employers taking away their passports and forced to work menial jobs they had never signed up for. An example is being a nuclear decontamination worker in Fukushima.


The government argues that the new statuses would not shift the nation toward accepting immigrants, rather, skilled workers.


The apparent rush job with which the ruling bloc is trying to pass the bill has antagonized opposition parties who have argued that too few hours have been spent deliberating its details.


Reference: Immigration bill clears Lower House despite opposition filibuster and no-confidence motion


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