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Japan's foreign intern program balloons as industries seek labor

Straying from original mandate, now 79 fields are eligible to accept trainees

A Vietnamese technical trainee works in a factory in Japan's Gunma Prefecture. Many businesses outside major urban centers rely on the program to meet their labor needs.   © Photo by Ken Kobayashi

TOKYO -- With Japan's foreign technical trainee program extending to a total of 79 fields as early as this year, the initiative seems to be becoming less about supporting developing countries and more about securing manpower for short-handed companies.

The Technical Intern Training Program is intended to provide foreign workers with on-the-job training at Japanese workplaces. The official goal is to contribute to the international community by cultivating talent and providing technical expertise to developing countries.

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