Tokyo, Feb. 12 (Jiji Press)–The number of non-Japanese people residing in Japan as specified skilled workers, a new category of residency status introduced in April 2019, stood at 15,663 as of the end of December last year, the Immigration Services Agency said Friday.
The figure rose by 6,894 from three months before due to an increased shift in visa status from technical training and others as well as a temporary loosening of the country’s coronavirus entry restrictions.
Tests to gain the new status, introduced to alleviate acute labor shortages faced by 14 industries in the country, started in earnest in October 2019.
The number of specified skilled foreign workers remains low, compared with the government’s goal of accepting up to 345,150 such workers in the five years from 2019, amid the pandemic.
By nationality, Vietnamese made up the biggest group of foreigners residing under the new status, at 9,412, or around 60 pct of the total, followed by Chinese, at 1,575, and Indonesians, at 1,514.
The number of specified skilled workers was highest in the food and beverage industry, at 5,764, followed by the agricultural sector, at 2,387, and construction, at 1,319.
Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, had the highest number of such workers, at 1,260, followed by the central prefecture of Aichi, at 1,250, and Tokyo, at 1,016.