ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Japan immigration

Japan ruling party balks at Abe's worker visa plans

Public support a key consideration ahead of upper house election in 2019

A Vietnamese interpreter helps a resident of Japan during a hospital visit in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo. Foreign residents are increasing in Japan as the country grapples with a shortage of labor.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's party has decided to extend debate on the pros and cons of legislation to admit more foreign workers, as lawmakers worry about the potential backlash from conservative voters.

The Liberal Democratic Party's judicial affairs division under its Policy Research Council initially targeted Friday for internal approval of the bill but decided to push it back until at least Monday.

The legislation would create two visa categories. One would be for unskilled workers, who could stay up to five years without their families and with no possibility of extensions. The other would cover qualified workers, who would be allowed to bring their families and could be granted extensions beyond the initial five years.

Senior members including Policy Research Council chief Fumio Kishida decided Thursday on the postponement in light of various concerns, including a possible rise in crime and the challenge of creating a system to handle increased arrivals. They determined that rushing to a conclusion without a thorough debate could anger party supporters ahead of the upper house election in the summer of 2019.

In a two-day session that ended that day for expert comment, LDP members appeared divided. "Allowing workers to bring their families and letting them stay indefinitely does not sound right," said a member of the opposition camp. "We should first think about raising wages for Japanese workers," another member said. An identification number program to keep track of foreign workers was also proposed. Some pointed out the need for deeper debate on foreigners' rights.

The plan is to pass the legislation during the current parliamentary session to start accepting foreign workers in April under the new program, as the nation faces a severe labor crunch.

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.

Try 1 month for $0.99

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 October 31st

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 Nikkei Asia 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

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more