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Politics

Japan woos 50,000 skilled Asian professionals in talent war

New initiative also aims to strengthen supply chains in auto parts and more

Researchers conduct an experiment at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Demand for highly skilled professionals is heating up among fast-growing members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japanese employers will offer job opportunities to 50,000 highly skilled Asian professionals in digital technology and other in-demand fields under a government initiative announced Monday.

Competition for talent is only heating up across the continent, particularly in the fast-growing members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The Asia-Japan Investing for the Future Initiative is designed to help Japanese companies secure the workers they need to better compete in booming business areas.

Japan wants to "offer opportunities for ambitious youth," said Koichi Hagiuda, minister of economy, trade and industry, in an online event Monday while visiting Indonesia.

Under the new initiative, the government will work to expand the number of degrees offered jointly by universities in Japan and abroad. Japanese employers will be encouraged to hire graduates of these programs and other skilled professionals over the next five years.

The government will also create more opportunities for foreign alumni of Japanese universities to participate in internships and information sessions by potential Japanese employers.

In addition to recruiting skilled professionals, the initiative will help Japanese companies build supply chains more resilient against unforeseen problems.

Coronavirus-related restrictions have disrupted factories across Southeast Asia, leading to major production setbacks for automakers and other manufacturers. The government will help companies build frameworks that allow them to share supply chain risks, as well as monitor their inventories and production capacity more closely.

The initiative will focus in particular on auto parts production, health care and logistics. It aims to create 100 examples of good supply chain practices over the next five years.

Hagiuda is also visiting Singapore and Thailand to meet with their economy ministers as part of his Southeast Asia tour through Friday.

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