In a major development, the Japan’s cabinet approved a draft bill to bring more blue-collar foreign workers into the country.
However, this remains a controversial move in view of the country’s chronic labour shortages.
The draft legislation is already under attack from both the opposition and members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s own party.
As per the draft bill, it will allow foreign nationals with skills in sectors facing particularly severe shortages to obtain five-year visas.
Abe has insisted the new policy does not represent a wholesale overhaul of the country’s strict immigration policy.
But the bill has nonetheless faced a raft of criticism, potentially jeopardising government hopes to pass it before the end of the year and launch the visas from April.
Among the sectors in most need are agriculture, construction, hospitality/tourism and nursing.>