Japan's Duskin welcomes its first foreign housekeepers
Recruits from Philippines aid government push to ease labor shortages
TOKYO -- Japanese housekeeping services provider Duskin welcomed eight foreign employees Monday as the country opens its doors to overseas recruits to alleviate a labor crunch afflicting the industry.
The eight Filipino employees, ranging in age from 25 to 38, all have experience housekeeping for Japanese families in the Philippines. After completing two weeks of training, the workers will kick off their three-year gig at the company's Merry Maids business. Japanese staff will accompany them to customers' homes.
"I want to learn various skills at Duskin every day," one newcomer said in fluent Japanese as she introduced herself. Half of the staff will be placed in Yokohama, with the rest assigned to work in Osaka.
Duskin aims to hire eight more foreign housekeepers this fiscal year for assignment in Tokyo, and the company hopes to employ about 100 foreign workers over the next five years.
Japan's housekeeping industry suffers from prolonged labor shortages. The government in 2015 lifted restrictions on foreign housekeepers in special economic zones such as Tokyo and Osaka. Employing foreign workers for domestic services is a core part of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plan to create a buoyant economy backed by full labor participation.
Companies such as Duskin and Bears have been approved by the Cabinet Office as well as metropolitan governments in Tokyo and Osaka to operate housekeeping services with foreign workers.