Japan's Diet enacts foreign workers bill
NHK -- Dec 08
Japan's ruling coalition has pushed a controversial bill through the Diet with just a few days left before the current session ends. It will allow more foreign workers into the country.

The bill to change the immigration control law was enacted after fierce resistance from the opposition camp.

It has dominated the current Diet session.

The bill is designed to address massive labor shortage due to Japan's aging and shrinking population. It will allow foreigners to stay in Japan and work in blue collar industries.

Right now, only highly-skilled professionals, such as lawyers and researchers are eligible for work visas.

The new visa status comprises two categories. One will allow foreigners engaged in simple labor to stay in Japan for up to 5 years but will not allow them to bring family members.

The other will allow more skilled workers to bring their families and extend their 5-year stay indefinitely.

Officials estimate up to 340,000 foreign workers will be able to obtain the new visa over a period of 5 years.

They say over a dozen sectors are in urgent need for foreign workers, including construction, agricultural, fisheries and restaurant industries.

News source: NHK
Dec 14
A Japanese government panel says a run of growth that began in December 2012 has now become the second-longest period of expansion in the post-war era. But that verdict comes as Japan struggles with sluggish wage growth and a chronic labor shortage. (NHK)
Dec 14
An officer who was on duty when a 30-year-old suspect escaped from a police station in Tondabayashi City earlier this year was watching an adult video (AV) clip, it was learned on Thursday, reports Nikkan Sports (Dec. 13). (tokyoreporter.com)
Dec 14
Traditional female entertainers in Kyoto have started offering early New Year greetings. (NHK)
Dec 14
The Japanese government plans to take measures to make regional labor markets accessible to foreign blue-collar workers to avoid them concentrating in large cities such as Tokyo when the country starts accepting them under the new visa system next year, the government's top spokesman said Thursday. (Japan Today)
Dec 14
Sixteen-year-old shogi prodigy Sota Fujii has reached his 100th victory in official matches of the Japanese board game, becoming the youngest professional player to reach the milestone at the fastest pace in history. (Japan Today)
Dec 14
The northern Japan town of Kutchan in the popular Niseko ski resort area is to introduce a lodging tax after the town assembly passed an ordinance on Thursday. (Japan Today)
Dec 12
Japan is seeking to possess its first aircraft carrier to allow for the deployment of U.S.-made stealth fighters as it seeks to bolster its arms capability under a new 10-year defense plan. (Japan Today)
Dec 12
The Japanese government said Tuesday it will offer free rubella vaccinations for three years to men who were unvaccinated in their childhood amid an outbreak of the disease that threatens to dampen demand for travel to Japan. (Japan Today)
Dec 12
As the global shortage of skilled information technology experts hits Japan hard, companies are scrambling to lure and keep top talent with hefty annual pay packages. (Nikkei)
Dec 12
A court in Beijing has sentenced a Japanese man in his 70s who was arrested in China in June 2015 to 12 years in prison for spying, sources well-informed about Sino-Japanese relations said Tuesday. (Japan Today)