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Japan Sees Record Foreign Nationals Amid Labor Shortage

Japan Sees Record Foreign Nationals Amid Labor Shortage

In Tokyo, the surge in the number of foreigners residing in Japan coincides with the nation’s struggle to address a labor crisis amidst a burgeoning economy.

Official statistics reveal that the count of foreign nationals living in Japan reached an all-time high of over 3.4 million in 2023. Moreover, there was a notable uptick in visas related to employment, reflecting the country’s endeavors to tackle its acute labor shortage and meet the demands of the business sector.

Read more: Thailand Worries Over Japans Visa Policy

According to data from the Immigration Services Agency, as of December 2023, the population of foreign nationals in Japan stood at 3,410,992, marking a 10.9% increase from the previous year and setting a record high for the second consecutive year.

Specifically, the number of specified skilled workers surged by 59.2% to approximately 208,000, while trainees enrolled in Japan’s technical internship program rose by 24.5% to around 404,000, reaching levels last seen in 2019 before the onset of the pandemic, as reported by Japan Times.

While Japan’s economy continues to expand, sustaining this growth without an adequate workforce poses numerous challenges. Recent discussions even explored the possibility of revoking permanent residency permits for foreigners failing to fulfill tax or social security obligations, a move met with criticism.

To address these issues, the government is poised to submit legislation amending the immigration control and refugee recognition law during the current parliamentary session. Additionally, plans are underway to introduce a new training program facilitating smoother residency processes for foreign workers, replacing the existing technical internship program. This initiative aims to equip unskilled foreign workers with the necessary training to qualify for Type 1 residency status, allowing them to work in Japan for the medium to long term. These legislative revisions are anticipated to be implemented as early as 2027, subject to approval during the ongoing parliamentary session.