Japan will open it’s doors to more foreign workers totaling 345,000

Japan’s population shrank 0.3% to 125.2 million as the country recorded less than a million births. This is the lowest number since 1899. And with more than 20% of its citizens at the age of 65 or older, the number of available jobs far outstrips the number of workers.


Consequently, the current administration under Shinzo Abe is reforming the immigration laws to allow as many as 345,000 more blue-collar workers into the country over the next half decade.


photo credit to: https://asia.nikkei.com

The number of foreign workers in Japan has doubled since the Turn of the Century. 1.3 million people now work in industries like retail, hospitality, agriculture and manufacturing. Others work on construction projects like infrastructure for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.


The new law is aimed at those filling jobs requiring high-tech knowledge and allows families to join them and provides a potential path to Japanese citizenship. However, this is only applicable and allowable after an individual has worked in Japan for at least a decade as well as committing no crimes.


In the early 1990’s Japan started importing workers which were drawn from places like Brazil and Peru, and more recently, turning to other Southeast Asian nations like Vietnam and the Philippines for its growing needs.


During a Parliamentary debate, statistics were tabled that reveal 7,000 of the current 270,000 of the so-called interns left the country in 2017. And in a two year study that started in 2015, 69 foreigners died; crushed by forklifts, falling or drowning in industrial accidents, and others committing suicide.



Unions are trying to recruit foreign workers and offer them more protection. However, stiff opposition from employers is maintained. One example is a Sharp factory in Mie Prefecture that went from having 3,000 foreign labourers making smartphone displays to just 100 workers in the course of a few weeks.

Reference: Japan to open doors to 345,000 foreign workers as labour pool ages


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