Japan is considering allowing foreign workers in more than 10 sectors under a new residence status to be introduced from April next year, the top government spokesman said Wednesday, as the country looks to tackle a serious labor shortage.
“Based on interviews with various industries, we have found that more than 10 industries will face serious trouble without foreign laborers,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a speech in Tokyo.
In a press conference later, Suga cited the food service and fishery industries as among potential sectors that could receive more foreign workers, based on a report from the Justice Ministry which oversees the issue.
The government is planning to introduce a new residence status in April that will allow more foreigners to work with businesses facing major labor shortfalls, opening the door to blue-collar workers from abroad in addition to the currently accepted highly skilled foreigners.
The ministry is seeking to set up an affiliated agency that will be solely in charge of dealing with low-skilled foreign nationals.
Under the new system, the government is considering opening up the nursing care, agriculture, construction, lodging and shipbuilding sectors to foreign labor.
Suga also reiterated the government’s willingness to submit a bill to revise the nation’s immigration law to an extraordinary Diet session expected to be convened in late October.
Under the current plan, a new visa status valid for up to five years will be created, but workers will be not be permitted to bring family members because the government has insisted they are not immigrants.