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60,000 foreigners eyed for nursing care in Japan


The Japanese government presented on Wednesday the estimated maximum number of foreign workers to be accepted in 14 envisaged business fields over the five years from fiscal 2019, releasing such figures as 60,000 people in nursing care, 53,000 in eating out, 40,000 in construction and 36,500 in agriculture.

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The figures were released to the ruling and opposition parties at an unofficial meeting of board members for the Judicial Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives at noon Wednesday.

Opposition parties had asked the government to present specific numbers. In addition to the estimated maximum numbers of foreign workers to be accepted, the government also gave figures for the expected labor shortages in the 14 fields.

In fiscal 2019, the first year, 32,800 to 47,550 foreign workers are forecast to be accepted. The total number of foreign nationals allowed to work in Japan over the five-year period is expected to be from 262,700 to 345,150.

The estimated maximum number in the business of cleaning buildings was 37,000, for the production of food and drink products 34,000, and for accommodations 22,000.

The government estimated the current labor shortages in the 14 business fields at 586,400, increasing to 1.455 million five years from now. The estimated number of foreign workers to be accepted in each of the business fields was calculated by deducting the work force to be covered by Japanese elderly people and Japanese women from the estimated labor shortage figure.

The government has submitted to the current Diet session a bill to revise the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law. The pillar of the revision bill is to create a new residence status with specific skills — category 1 and category 2 — with the aim of allowing foreign nationals to work in Japan, including people engaged in simple labor.

The category 1 status will allow foreign workers to stay in Japan for up to five years, but not allow them to accompany their family members. The category 2 status, which requires higher skills than category 1, will allow holders to bring their spouses and children and effectively stay permanently in Japan.

The bill also includes a clause for ceasing acceptance of foreign workers when labor shortages in Japan are resolved.

Deliberations on the bill started at the lower house plenary session on Tuesday. But as the government did not present specific numbers of foreign workers to be accepted, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying only that the matter was “under consideration,” opposition parties objected to the government’s position and sought the swift presentation of concrete numbers.

The government and ruling parties aim to explain the reason for the submission of the bill and hold a question-and-answer session for ruling parties at the lower house Judicial Affairs Committee on Friday.

Published : November 14, 2018

By : The Japan News Asia News Network Tokyo