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Japan immigration

Japan cries 'Help wanted,' but few foreigners heed the call

Just 376 new work visas approved out of first-year goal of 40,000

Filipinos took examinations at a college in Manila this April to qualify for Japan's specified skilled worker visa.   © Kyodo

TOKYO/MANILA -- Half a year after Japan launched a new work visa to fill spots in labor-short industries, not even 400 applicants have been approved, underscoring the challenges faced by the country in recruiting workers from abroad.

The government introduced "specified skilled worker" resident status in April for new arrivals willing to work in any of 14 industries hurting for employees, such as nursing homes and restaurants. Those who qualify can stay up to five years without additional testing, up from the general three-year limit under the old technical intern program.

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