TOKYO  - Japan plans to ease restrictions on unskilled foreign workers in five sectors hit hard by labor shortfalls, the Nikkei business daily said on Wednesday, as the country confronts the challenges of a shrinking and aging population.
The government hopes to attract more than 500,000 foreign laborers to nursing, shipbuilding, lodging as well as construction and agricultural industries by around 2025, the newspaper said.
Prospective foreign workers in those sectors can acquire work permits for up to five years by passing occupational and Japanese language tests starting next April, in which they will be required to demonstrate they are capable of understanding slow conversations and conducting basic tasks, the paper said.
A strengthening economy since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in 2012, rebuilding after the 2011 tsunami, a construction boom ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and a shrinking and aging population have aggravated Japan’s labor shortage.(FA)