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
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