ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Politics

Japan looks to add convenience stores to foreign worker program

Trucking companies also tabbed for the specified skills' visa arrangement, ruling party says

Convenience store jobs have become popular among international students in Japan. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi) 

TOKYO -- Japan is considering whether to bring in more foreign workers who can take jobs at convenience stores and other businesses that are having trouble finding help in a country famous for its shallow labor pool.

The dominant Liberal Democratic Party will soon make a proposal to add more industries to the "specified skills" work visa program.

Japan last year added a "specified skilled worker" resident status for foreigners working in any of 14 industries that are experiencing labor shortages. Those who qualify can stay up to five years without additional screening, and if they go on to satisfy other criteria permanent residence is also within reach.

The proposal will be reflected in a policy that the government will put the finishing touches on next month. It also includes relief measures in case of dismissal due to the spread of the new coronavirus.

The LDP's special committee of foreign workers on Thursday met with representatives of convenience store operators and trucking companies at party headquarters.

The government's goal with the specified skills program is to accept about 350,000 foreign workers in five years. But the program has not been widely embraced, with only around 1,600 workers accepted into it as of last year.

The 14 sectors currently allowed to take advantage of the program include nursing care, agriculture and food services.

Meanwhile, convenience store jobs have been popular among international students, and the number of foreigners becoming store managers is on the rise.

The proposal also wants to add other industries, such as industrial waste.

The party is pushing to simplify and digitalize program applications, as the current complicated form is seen as an obstacle to foreign applicants.

"It's inevitable that Japan's working-age population aged 15 to 64 is on the decline," said Naohiro Yashiro, professor at Showa Women's University. "The government should work on improving the employment environment, as well as opening its gates to motivated foreign workers."

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends October 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more