ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailMenu BurgerPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon SearchSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Japan immigration

Abe's foreign-worker plan spurs protests in Japan's ruling party

Skeptic blasts the visa program as 'essentially an immigration policy'

Businesses are increasingly reliant on foreign workers amid a chronic labor shortage.

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's new visa program to admit more foreign workers faced vocal opposition within his own ruling party Friday as members raised such issues as a potential increase in crime and the need to limit arrivals.

The judicial affairs division under the Liberal Democratic Party's Policy Research Council discussed legislation that would create two new visa categories, for skilled and unskilled foreign workers. With members expressing deep reservations, internal approval of the legislation, initially targeted for that day, was postponed at least until Monday.

Some took issue with a program that would allow skilled workers to bring their families and stay beyond the initial five-year limit.

"Isn't this essentially an immigration policy?" one member asked. "Such a drastic overhaul should be debated in a regular parliamentary session," said another. The legislation is slated for submission to the extraordinary session that convened Wednesday.

Anxiety about crime was also cited. "There should be a provision in the legislation to stop accepting workers if the crime rate goes up," a member suggested.

As for the number of foreigners to be admitted under the new visas, Justice Ministry officials at the meeting were vague. "We plan to present future prospects, including estimates, when we compile policy guidelines for separate business sectors," an official said.

The judicial affairs division drew up a resolution asking the government to reflect the voices of host businesses and regions in the guidelines for individual sectors.

The government hopes to endorse the legislation in the cabinet by the end of next week and submit it to the Diet for approval. The plan is to start accepting workers under the new programs starting next April, as the nation faces severe labor shortages.

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.

Get Unlimited access

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 June 30th

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 the Nikkei Asian Review 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