FOCUS: Accepting More Foreign Workers Could Change Japanese Society

Politics

Tokyo, Dec. 8 (Jiji Press)--The enactment on Saturday of legislation to accept more foreign workers in Japan could bring about lasting changes to a society that is largely homogeneous.

The revised immigration control law seeks to introduce two new visa categories in April next year, opening the door to an inflow of unskilled foreign workers into the country to alleviate serious labor shortages as its population is aging.

This is "a historic policy shift" by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to keep the country's economic growth sustainable, a government official said.

The number of foreign workers in Japan stood at 1,278,670 as of the end of October 2017, more than double the 486,398 marked in 2008, according to the labor ministry. The new system is likely to accelerate the pace of increase.

Of the two new visa categories, type one will be granted to foreign workers with certain levels of knowledge or experience and type two to those with higher skills. Both types will require Japanese language skills adequate for everyday conversation.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press