LAST_UPDATEMon, 23 Jul 2018 8pm

Japan To Launch Ministerial Panel On New Resident Status

TOKYO -- The Japanese government plans to establish a ministerial council as early as this month to discuss specifics of a planned new resident status aimed at accepting more foreign workers, Japan's Jiji Press reported the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga as saying.

Hoping to introduce the new resident status in April next year, the government plans to submit a related bill to the Diet, the country's parliament, at an early date.

Ministries and agencies have been told to assess the needs in industries facing serious labour shortages.

Construction, agriculture and three other prospective sectors may accept foreign workers under the new resident status system.

Reiterating that the system is not an immigration policy, Suga said: "We want to create a system allowing our country to accept a wide range of foreign workers who have a certain degree of expertise or skills."

The resident status, proposed in the government's economic and fiscal policy guidelines compiled last month, would allow foreign workers to stay in Japan for up to five years if they have skills that can be of immediate use and basic conversational skills in Japanese.

Suga pointed out that the planned ministerial council will discuss, among other things, target industrial sectors, measures to strengthen Japanese language education for foreign workers and a management system for such workers during their stay in Japan.