News On Japan

Japan's demographic time bomb: Labour shortage opens doors to foreign workers

Jan 29 (FRANCE 24 English) - Japan faces an existential threat with its birth rate at an all time low, yet the island nation has still to fully embrace immigration as a solution to the population decline. To tackle the problem, the government has slowly turned to bringing in foreign workers.

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In December 2023, the body of a man was discovered inside a suitcase along the banks of the Tamagawa River in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture. Police have arrested five individuals, including the man's ex-girlfriend and her family, on suspicion of abandoning the body.

In an incident that has shocked the local community, a mother and her three children were found dead on May 23 in their home in Shinagawa, Tokyo. The father, who was also found at the scene with neck injuries, had finalized a divorce from the mother just three days prior.

The historic "Soma Nomaoi" event, which boasts over a thousand years of tradition and features armored horsemen parading in a scene reminiscent of the Sengoku period, commenced on May 25 in Fukushima's coastal region. Traditionally held in July, the event was rescheduled to May this year to avoid the severe summer heat after a horse died from heatstroke last year.

An independent support facility in Aichi Prefecture, where several staff members have been arrested, is in the spotlight for its unusual methods of dealing with troubled children.

Makoto Nishimoto, a former Miyazaki City councilor who goes by the name Super Crazy Kun, has been sentenced to four years and six months in prison for forcibly taking a woman in her 30s, whom he knew, into a hotel in Miyazaki City last September and assaulted her by restraining her arms and committing non-consensual intercourse resulting in injury.

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An Osaka city official, not in charge of the matter, strongly urged an increase in the payment amount to a contractor for the disposal of the whale 'Yodo-chan'.

A bill to abolish the current Technical Intern Training Program and establish a new employment training system has been passed by Japan's House of Representatives, with support from the ruling parties.

Foreign Minister Kamikawa has retracted her comment made on May 18 during an election campaign speech, where she stated, 'What is a woman without giving birth?' Kamikawa acknowledged that her words could be taken in a way that differs from her true intention.

A revised Civil Code introducing 'joint custody' for children after divorce has been passed by the Diet. This marks the first time in 77 years that Japan has reviewed the approach to post-divorce custody.

Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested three leaders of the political group 'Tsubasa Party' on suspicion of violating the Public Offices Election Act by disrupting the speeches of other candidates during a House of Representatives by-election in Tokyo's 15th district. Investigators view this as a "challenge to democracy" and plan to pursue a thorough investigation.

Japan’s pension system is under review, and a key focus is on the "spousal pension" benefits. For homemakers, this is a pressing concern.

The House of Representatives' Political Ethics Review Committee has decided to investigate 44 lawmakers from the Abe and Nikai factions of the Liberal Democratic Party following a scandal involving undisclosed political funds. This decision comes in response to a request from opposition parties.

In Japan, where women's salaries remain at about three-quarters of men's, the government initiated a new project team on April 24 focused on rectifying gender pay disparities.