Vastavam web: Shinichiro Tsukada says his small plastering company in Tokyo wouldn’t survive without the 22 Chinese and Vietnamese workers who make up half his payroll. “They’re treasures, real treasures,” he said. “Workers are disappearing as our population ages. Buildings cannot be built because there aren’t enough workers We have no choice but to allow them into the country. ”That is prying open the country’s restrictive immigration policies, which until now have only allowed a trickle of so-called unskilled foreign workers into the country.
But authorities are treading carefully because immigration is a delicate subject in Japan. Although public attitudes are slowly shifting, there is widespread concern that an influx of foreigners will upset the social order, increase job competition and weaken traditions. Driven by economic and demographic forces, the government is set to announce plans on Friday that will create new five-year work permit categories for foreigners.
Officials have said they are focusing on five areas: farming, construction, hotels, elderly care and shipbuilding. Authorities are also considering allowing foreign workers who pass certain tests to stay indefinitely and bring family members. If the measures are approved by the Cabinet, the government aims to have parliament make them into law this fall. “We are reaching a point where if we don’t start thinking about immigration, then Japan’s future will be in danger,” said Toshihiro Menju, the managing director at the Japan Center for International Exchange.