Gov't aims to have new foreign workers focus on regional areas
Japan Today -- 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.

With the recent enactment of revised immigration laws, the government has compiled a draft basic policy on how to run the new visa system under which Japan will accept up to 345,150 foreign workers aged 18 or older in 14 fields, including construction, in five years from April next year.

While rural areas face more serious labor shortages, concerns remain as to whether local governments are in a position to provide sufficient language education, welfare services and housing to accept more foreign workers.

"When the revised law was passed, there was a supplementary resolution to prevent workers concentrating in Tokyo, so we would like to properly address that issue among others," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a news conference.

Though stopping short of giving specifics, the draft policy calls for taking "necessary measures" to meet the needs of foreign workers, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The Cabinet is expected to endorse the policy plan this month, paving the way for the government to finalize measures to meet workers' needs in their daily lives, the sources said. For instance, the government will promote multilingual consultation to give foreign workers equal access to public services.

At the same time, it will also set industry-specific rules, they said. As an example, home-visit care will be excluded from the services that foreign care-givers at nursing homes will be allowed to provide.

News source: Japan Today
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