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Japan immigration

Japan's job market keeps foreigners stuck in temporary work for years

Midcareer job seekers face language barrier and tradition favoring new grads

A job support center in Tokyo. Foreigners who join Japanese companies midcareer have few opportunities for on-the-job training, a staffing executive says. (Photo by Koji Uema)

TOKYO -- Kyo, a 32-year-old Taiwanese woman, had lived in Tokyo for over six years before landing a permanent job at a clothing store. The job was not easy to come by, despite her graduating from a university in Taiwan and spending a year in Tokyo learning Japanese.

Kyo, who wanted to be identified only by her surname, worked as a temp at a sports retail chain for years after learning Japanese at a private university, but her contract needed to be renewed every three months.

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