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Japan immigration

Japan weighs opening immigration door wider amid labor crunch

More workers to qualify for permanent residency, but shift faces pushback

A Vietnamese woman works at a restaurant in Tokyo, under a program created in 2019 to fill 14 understaffed sectors. (Photo by Mizuho Miyazaki)

TOKYO -- Japan is considering letting foreign nationals working in farming, food service and other sectors remain in the country indefinitely as soon as next fiscal year, sources familiar with the matter said, a significant turning point for a country that has long kept its borders mostly closed to immigrants.

Permanent residency is now generally granted only to people in certain specialty occupations, such as engineers. But as Japan faces a labor shortage amid a rapidly aging population, officials are reconsidering this stance.

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