Japan to bring in 500,000 foreign workers

The country wants to ramp up employment in severely short-handed sectors over the next seven years.

The Japanese government will be creating new work permits to attract foreigners to the country. These work permits will be for both skilled and unskilled workers in sectors such as construction, agriculture, and nursing care.

These are sectors which are expected to experience significant manpower shortages by 2025.

"We will swiftly create a framework to bring in a wide range of work-ready foreign talent with a certain level of skills and expertise,” said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy.

It has been reported that there will be two pathways to obtaining the new permit: either through a five-year Technical Intern Training Program, or through an exam on technical and Japanese language skills.

Japan’s ageing workforce is expected to see a drop of 15 million over the next 20 years. At present, foreigners account for only around two percent of the labour force of 66 million. 

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