TOKYO -- Concern is growing in Japan that indispensable foreign workers will turn away from its domestic industry in the near future. Although Japan currently is a popular migration destination for them, its attractiveness will weaken if Southeast Asian countries achieve smooth economic development. In addition, competition for manpower with China is likely as the world's second-largest economy heads toward a decrease in population.
While reluctant to accept immigrants, Japan has a technical intern training program for foreign workers for the official purpose of assisting developing nations. But the on-the-job training system is often subject to questions about human rights. It is uncertain whether Japan will continue to be a favored destination for many foreign workers.