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Hi Blog. It’s funny. Debito.org has been charting for decades just how much Japan reflexively distrusts NJ, and wants them in and out of here as soon as possible without settling down (hence no official immigration policy). Yet, in case you wonder why this is still an issue, here’s yet another article demonstrating why Japan NEEDS NJ labor, and intends to import even more (and as ever, temporarily):
Government sets target for 10,000 Vietnamese caregivers, needs additional 550,000 by 2025
KYODO/Japan Times JUL 25, 2018
The government has set a target of accepting 10,000 Vietnamese caregivers by the summer of 2020 to address a chronic labor shortage in the nursing sector, an official said Wednesday.
Japan first aims to receive 3,000 Vietnamese carers within one year through an existing training program for foreigners, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Due to the country’s rapidly graying population, the labor ministry estimates a need for an additional 550,000 caregivers in fiscal 2025 compared to the fiscal 2016 total… Japan is also considering inviting caregivers from other countries, including Indonesia and Cambodia, the official said.
As of March last year, there were roughly 1.9 million carers in Japan. The labor ministry estimates Japan will need about 2.45 million care workers in fiscal 2025, at which point the people belonging to the baby boomer generation born in the late 1940s will all be 75 years or older, meaning the need for nursing care service will almost certainly increase…
In a related development, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday that Japan aims to accept more foreign workers from April next year by creating a new residency status. To fill labor shortages not just in nursing care but also in other sectors including agriculture and manufacturing, the government has suggested it may begin admitting hundreds of thousands of blue-collar workers from abroad.
COMMENT: Oddly enough (or rather, not so oddly), Japan’s corporate sector is again asking for more cheap labor without taking into account that they are importing people, not raw materials. And of course, as argued below in the second Kyodo JT article on the same day, there is at best mumbled support for actual immigration.
This isn’t a sustainable long-term strategy, and everybody knows it. But they go through the kabuki for as long as possible. I daresay someday soon somebody will advocate Middle-Eastern-Oil-Countries’ style labor importation (where foreigners do all the work, and wind up outnumbering the leisured citizen class), since we’ve already had one major Japanese pundit crazily arguing for instituting South-African-style Apartheid in Japan. Except for one problem with ever considering an oil-economy model: Japan is not an oil economy. And again, Japan’s other silly policy balloon — robotizing society — doesn’t work either because robots don’t pay taxes.
In sum, Debito.org advocates that Japan consider a real immigration policy to make NJ migrants into permanent residents and citizens. It’s the only way, as myself and the UN (not to mention the Japanese Government itself!) have argued for decades, to avert Japan’s otherwise unavoidable demographic crisis. Dr. Debito Arudou
Japan faces challenges as it moves to accept more foreign workers
KYODO/Japan Times JUL 25, 2018
Japan’s move toward opening its doors to more foreign workers is widely seen as a must to better cope with an expected shrinkage in the working population.
Potentially broadening the scope of non-Japanese workers accepted into a country that for years has kept a firm grip on immigration would also mark a major policy change.
But the challenges facing an aging Japan are manifold as observers call for a clear-cut rather than makeshift approach, and stress the need to create a society easier for foreign nationals to live and work in.
“It’s a natural turn of events” to accept more foreign workers, said Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives.
“Given the situation Japan is in and its future, we’ve already entered a phase in which we need to seek help not just from highly skilled workers,” Kobayashi said at a news conference Tuesday.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed Cabinet ministers the same day to make preparations to accept more foreign workers by offering a new residential status starting next April.
The plan being considered would set a five-year limit on residence under the new status.
That may help conservatives, a major support base for Abe, but observers say the country needs to have a serious immigration debate for its future.
The country had a record 1.28 million foreign workers as of October last year. Chinese workers made up the largest portion, at nearly 30 percent, ahead of workers from Vietnam, the Philippines and Brazil, according to government data.
Currently, there are limited paths offered to work legally. Foreign nationals are given residential status to work in fields such as education, business management, law and health care.
Those coming under a 1993 program designed to impart technical skills can also work in the country but critics see it as encouraging simple and cheap labor.
The government “should have created a system to accept foreign workers seriously in the first place. In this sense, (the envisaged introduction of a new residential status) is a step forward,” said Shoichi Ibusuki, a lawyer well-versed in foreign labor issues.
But he also raises questions about the plan to, in principle, impose a five-year cap on stays and to bar foreign workers from bringing in family members.
“It’s unacceptable from a humanitarian perspective (for foreign workers) to live far from their family members for five years,” Ibusuki said.
The potential policy change may be long overdue.
No time can be spared amid increased tightness in the labor market. In 2017, job availability rose to its highest in 44 years, with 150 jobs available for every 100 job seekers.
Still, one senior labor ministry official expressed concern about the practice of paying unfairly low wages to foreign workers.
“Not only would it not benefit the foreign workers themselves, but it could also take jobs away from Japanese workers,” the official said.
For companies, particularly small- and mid-sized companies being forced to hunt for workers, the prospect of paving the way for more foreign labor is a positive development.
Takashi Yamauchi, who heads the Japan Federation of Construction Contractors, hailed the government move as “timely” as the construction sector is expected to see increased demand in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
The number of foreign workers has already been rising in recent years and the uptrend will likely continue if the government’s new plan goes through.
At convenience store operator FamilyMart Co., for instance, non-Japanese workers account for some 5 percent of its roughly 200,000 workers.
But sectoral gaps have yet to be bridged. Sectors such as nursing care that are in desperate need of labor have faced difficulty in securing workers.
With the rapid aging of the population appearing to pick up pace, the government has increased the number of options for foreign nationals to land nursing care jobs.
Labor shortages could also sap economic growth over the longer term — bad news for Abe, who has been trying to revive the world’s third-largest economy with his “Abenomics” policy mix.
The government aims to realize a society in which both Japanese and non-Japanese people can coexist and plans to draw up measures to help foreign nationals learn Japanese and find housing.
As of April this year, 46 percent of local governments had crafted guidelines or plans designed for foreign nationals, with action depending on the percentage of non-Japanese residents.
Meanwhile, proposals have been floated to reorganize the Immigration Bureau and create a Justice Ministry-affiliated agency to handle low-skilled foreign nationals.
“It should go beyond simply enforcing immigration controls. I hope it will play a role in assisting foreign workers living in Japan in a comprehensive manner,” said Toshihiro Menju, a senior official at the Japan Center for International Exchange.
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