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Tuesday, 11th February 2014
In General Japan News,

Japan to open doors to expats?

Japan's tough immigration policies may be about to ease substantially, as the government turns towards the expat community in search of a solution to its ageing and declining population.

In a statement released by Shinzo Abe's administration, it became apparent that new measures are being considered that could encourage an influx of foreign residents, with several options being explored to this effect.

Allowing highly skilled expats to obtain permanent residency status in Japan more quickly - in three years instead of five - is one change that is being explored, as well as permitting longer on-the-job training programmes for foreigners.

Figures from 2012 suggest that around two million people originating from outside the Land of the Rising Sun live there, including just 620,000 permanent residents.

Only one per cent of the workforce is made up of expats, but the government has acknowledged comprehensive steps are needed in order to change this.

The construction industry, which expects to benefit over the next few years due to Tokyo hosting the 2020 Olympic Games, was held up as a case in point, due to the fact it is drastically short of young labour.

Japan is estimated to require around ten million immigrants over the next half a century if it is going to offset its projected population decline.

Currently, a common way of living in the country is to take a working holiday visa, which permits the applicant to take low-skilled work during their time there. Many holders choose to work in the translation, IT, modelling, gastronomy and entertainment industries.

Those looking to move to Japan as a result of this news will have to wait until the end of March before they find out what action will be taken.