Japanese visa changes scheduled for April, but towns are lacking support

This is Stephanie of IMS.

Beginning this April, the Japanese government will implement their new visa system that will broaden the categories for foreign workers in an attempt to bring in a younger workforce in an aging society. In addition to new categories for skills in 14 new industries, including blue collar industries, the government will also ease the language requirements for certain industries like the nursing care sector, to allow for foreign workers to stay longer while they raise their Japanese ability.

However, according to a poll of Japanese towns conducted by Kyodo News, nearly half of cities and towns reported that they were “underprepared” for an influx of foreign workers. 12 percent were concerned that they were able to enforce fair and equal treatment of foreign employees, including salary and livelihood support equal to their Japanese coworkers. In all, 47 percent are worried about being able to coexist with foreign workers, with the source of anxiety being the lack of specific measures and support from the central and local governments. Under the new visa system, Japan expects an intake of 345,000 foreign workers over the next five years.

Japan not ready yet to offer foreign workers proper labor conditions