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Japan immigration

Japan advises small businesses on keeping foreign talent

Consultants to help create ideal work environments to attract graduates

 Employee training and communicating career paths will be part of the agenda for the consultants. (Photo by Hiroto Aramaki)

TOKYO -- The Japanese government will dispatch experts to small and midsized businesses across the country to help companies retain skilled foreign workers, Nikkei has learned.

Consultants versed in small businesses and social insurance will visit select companies later this year. The program will target those that recruit highly skilled foreign nationals who have graduated from Japanese universities and technical schools.

Previously, government support generally focused on hiring practices and obtaining work visas. However, many companies have said they are unclear on how to create optimal work environments for foreign recruits.

The consultants will enter businesses as support staff and instruct employers on creating standards for employee evaluations, as well as on setting up proper payroll systems. Employee training and communicating career paths will also be on the agenda.

The Japan External Trade Organization will provide the consultants. Known as Jetro, the state-backed group will compile instructional material for businesses based on the opinions of experts and those with similar hands-on business experience.

The program will select roughly 30 small to mid-tier companies for the fiscal year starting April, with the roster to expand in later years. Participating candidates will be determined based on their strategies going forward, such as offshore expansion. The program will be announced Friday.

Japanese small businesses nationwide are coping with aging business managers, along with a labor shortage. The companies are starved for talent that can develop products for the next generation and direct offshore expansion. The government plans to resolve the demand by supporting the intake of foreign staff.

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