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Foreign workers with specified skills up 31.5 pct in Japan

Tokyo, Nov. 19 (Jiji Press)–The number of foreigners living in Japan as workers with specified skills stood at 38,337 as of the end of September, up 31.5 pct from three months before, the Immigration Services Agency said Friday.


Among the 14 industries where foreigners with the residency status, introduced in April 2019, are allowed to work, the number rose drastically in the elderly care, construction, and food and beverage sectors, which all face serious labor shortages.


The elderly care sector had 3,947 such workers, up 46.0 pct, and the construction sector 3,745 workers, up 34.7 pct.


The food and beverage industry had the largest number at 13,826, up 32.3 pct.


By country, people from Vietnam made up the biggest group of foreigners with the status, followed by those from the Philippines, China, Indonesia and Myanmar. The ranking was unchanged from the previous survey.


According to the agency, many technical intern trainees unable to return to their home countries due to travel restrictions amid the novel coronavirus pandemic obtained the status and started working at companies hit by a plunge in foreign workers coming to Japan.


The number of specified skilled workers as of the end of October came to around 42,000, exceeding 40,000 for the first time since the residency program was introduced, preliminary data show.


The government expects that up to 345,000 specified skilled workers will be accepted in Japan over the five years through fiscal 2023. It is considering reviewing the program so that highly skilled people among such workers will be able to work over the long term in Japan.

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