Japan to cast net wider after sluggish start for blue-collar visa program
Japan Times -- Jan 31
Japan will allow more foreign nationals, including those holding short-term visas, to take a skills test from April under the new blue-collar visa program that is aimed at addressing national labor shortages, immigration officials said Thursday.

The program, which was launched in April last year, was intended to attract up to 345,000 blue-collar workers over five years for jobs in 14 sectors, including nursing care and the hotel industry.

However, so far less than 2,000 have obtained working permits under the new visa program, an abysmally low figure given that the government was expecting to draw 40,000 people in the first year.

Thus, the government is expanding test opportunities with an apparent aim to increase the number of applicants.

The Immigration Services Agency (ISA) on Thursday announced that it will expand the scope of people eligible to take the industrial tests starting April 1 by accepting applications from people with a wider range of visa statuses, including those on short-term stays.

Foreign nationals who wish to participate in the program are required to pass tests in industrial skill and Japanese-language ability.

Currently, people with mid- to long-term resident statuses, which have a maximum of five years, and those who have stayed in Japan for longer are eligible to take the tests.

The change from April means that immigration officials may grant short-term visas of up to 90 days to people who request to take an industrial skills test in Japan.

News source: Japan Times
Jan 17
Suicide rates in Japan have jumped in the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly among women and children, even though they fell in the first wave when the government offered generous handouts to people, a survey found. (theguardian.com)
Jan 17
This is a story of a Japanese family at the end and beginning of the year. (Kimono Mom)
Jan 16
The state of emergency in Japan to curb COVID-19 has drawn mixed reactions. Many Japanese are questioning how effective it will be. (CNA)
Jan 16
Independent watchmaker Masahiro Kikuno makes each of his wristwatches almost entirely by hand, and by himself. In this video, find out how his dedication and passion sustains his craft, and how he hopes to share Japanese culture with the world through his creations. (CNA)
Jan 16
Japan’s new unified university entrance exams started Saturday across the country, with organizers taking anti-coronavirus measures, such as requiring test-takers to wear masks and disinfect their hands, and ensuring that venues are well ventilated. (Japan Times)
Jan 16
A survey has found that university seniors in Japan are having trouble getting jobs, due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. (NHK)
Jan 16
Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said Friday that she will ask an advisory panel to consider law revisions to secure expenses for child support after divorce. (Japan Times)
Jan 15
Counseling is a varied and interesting career path and is especially rewarding for those that love helping and working with different people. (newsonjapan.com)
Jan 14
Domestic violence cases in Japan hit a record high of over 130,000 in fiscal 2020, with people more stressed and worried about life as the coronavirus pandemic forces them to spend more time at home, according to a government survey released Tuesday. (Japan Times)
Jan 14
More than a million people in Japan turn 20 this year, the age at which they can legally drink alcohol, smoke and get married without parental approval. (WION)
Jan 14
With a workforce consisting of more than 18 million people, the healthcare sector is a major employer in the U.S. (newsonjapan.com)
Jan 11
Japan’s new unified university entrance examination is set to take place for two days from Saturday, in an unprecedented situation amid the rapidly growing spread of the novel coronavirus, which has led the Tokyo metropolitan area to be put under a fresh state of emergency. (Japan Times)
Jan 11
The Japanese education ministry has opened a section on its website providing information on jobs at schools in the country as a way of supporting efforts to maintain employment by companies affected by the fallout of the novel coronavirus epidemic. (Japan Times)
Jan 07
From cooking to playing instruments, education businesses are cashing in on growing demand for online study as the pandemic dictates that people spend more time at home. (Nikkei)
Jan 07
Former drug addicts and alcoholics cast aside by society find refuge in a nursing care facility run by a man who walked the same path. (NHK)
Jan 06
Could COVID-19 level the playing field for women workers in Japan and South Korea, countries known for a rigid corporate culture? (eco-business.com)
Jan 06
When you’re trying to lead your happiest and healthiest life, one great path to self-fulfillment and reward will always be the act of giving back. (newsonjapan.com)
Jan 05
Japan's health ministry has asked nursing colleges across the country to send students and staff with nursing licenses to hospitals. (NHK)
Dec 30
Japan's education ministry is planning to introduce school classes designed to teach children how to prevent sex crimes. (NHK)
Dec 30
Koi or more specifically jinli or nishikigoi, are colored varieties of the Amur carp that are kept for decorative purposes in outdoor koi ponds or water gardens. (Happy Koi)