The Japanese government has approved a set of policy measures to make it easier for foreigners to live and work in Japan.
The package approved Tuesday is in line with a revised immigration law set to take effect in April marking a major policy change. Residential status now available only to high-skilled workers will become available to a much wider range of lower-skilled workers.
The measures include ones to prevent brokers from taking unfair advantage of foreign workers. To alleviate a labor shortages in rural areas, checks will be put in place to prevent an excessive concentration of foreigners in cities.
Up to 345,000 foreign workers are set to be allowed into 14 sectors of the economy over a five-year period starting in April. The limit will stay in place until economic needs change.
Among the 126 specific measures in the package are provisions for multilingual support in public services.
A Japanese-language proficiency test required for the new visa status will be offered in nine countries: Vietnam, the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, Thailand, Myanmar, Mongolia, and Nepal.
To prevent a concentration of workers in cities, the government will periodically announce information on the number of foreign workers in different regions and sectors.