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Foreign Workers in Japan Hit 1M For the First Time

The number of foreign workers in Japan surpassed 1 million for the first time last year, as the labour-strapped country struggles to find enough Japanese workers.

Slightly over a million foreigners from countries such as China and Vietnam were working in Japan as of last October, labour ministry data showed on Friday (Jan 27. That was up nearly 20 per cent from the previous year and a new record for the fourth straight year.

The figures suggest Japan is increasingly turning to workers from overseas to plug its labour shortages despite its reluctance to accept foreigners.

Japan is facing its worst labour crunch since 1991 amid a shrinking and ageing population, which has prompted calls from the International Monetary Fund to accept foreign workers to boost economic growth.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said the country should put more Japanese women and the elderly to work first before accepting immigrants, but policymakers are exploring ways to bring in more foreign workers without calling it “immigration”.

In December, the government expanded the scope of a system for accepting trainee workers from developing countries, while also creating a new visa status for nurses and domestic helpers.

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Source: Channel News Asia

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