TOKYO -- The Japanese government will make it easier for foreign workers in such fields as animation and fashion to become permanent residents, seeking to attract talent to help spread Japanese culture throughout the world.
Japan's points-based immigration system for highly skilled professionals lets those who receive a certain score based on such factors as academic background, work history and age seek permanent residency after living in the country for three years. Those who meet a higher bar can apply after as little as one year.
The system is currently limited largely to such workers as engineers, executives and researchers. Around 6,670 applicants had received approval through the end of 2016, a figure that the government aims to lift to 20,000 by the end of 2022, according to this year's growth strategy. Expanding the range of eligible professionals should increase the foreign talent available in fields related to Japan's cultural exports and encourage these workers to stay for the long haul.
Changes under consideration would give applicants credit for graduating from top-tier fashion or design institutions and for winning prestigious prizes in artistic fields. The list of qualifying schools and awards will be set by next spring, with implementation slated for fiscal 2018.