Japan set to accept up to 7,300 foreign workers in farm sector

TOKYO, Nov. 15 ― Japan will likely bring up to 7,300 foreign workers into the country’s farm sector in a new approach to immigration in the first year, a simulation by the government has showed.

The parliament at the current extraordinary session is set to deliberate the draft legislation to accept more foreign blue-collar workers from April next year, a controversial move for the country that is known for its strict immigration rules.

The draft legislation is designed to tackle the labor shortage in 14 sectors, including agriculture, social care and construction, in the face of the country’s aging population.

Under the new bill, foreign nationals with skills in the 14 sectors will be granted a new visa status to work for up to five years in Japan.

The government presented its simulation of the number of foreign workers in each of the 14 sectors at a Nov. 14 informal meeting of lower house judicial affairs committee.

According to the simulation, the farm sector may accept between 3,600 and 7,300 foreign workers in the first year, becoming the most in need of workers in the 14 sectors.

Under the new system, the accumulated total number of foreign workers in the sector over a five-year period may reach between 18,000 and 36,500.

The number in the 14 sectors over the five-year period is projected a total of 262,700 and 345,150 foreign workers.

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