Foreign Minister Taro Kono Tells World Economic Forum That Japan Is Ready to Accept More Workers from Abroad
AP, AFP-JIJI, September 14, 2018
Japan is gearing up to accept more foreign workers as its population is on the brink of a steep decline, Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Thursday.
Kono told a World Economic Forum meeting in Hanoi that Japan gains “value added” by accepting foreign people, especially since its aging population and low birth rate mean the country is shrinking by half a million people a year.
“We cannot sustain our society like that,” he said in response to a question during a panel discussion. “We are opening up our country. We are opening up our labor market to foreign countries. We are now trying to come up with a new work permit policy so I think everyone shall be welcome in Japan if they are willing to assimilate into Japanese society.”
The country has gradually been loosening restrictions to enable families to hire domestic help. It also has short programs to bring in foreign nurses from Indonesia and other countries. But language requirements have made long-term employment in such jobs difficult.
“It’s good to have diversity. It’s good to have an open policy,” Kono said.