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We must discuss accepting foreign workers with a greater sense of urgency, as the competition for workforce would grow in the future against countries like China. We need to take actions to make Japan attractive in the longer term, a country to be chosen by foreign workers.

32 Comments

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) president Shinichi Kitaoka. Japan needs about four times more foreign workers by 2040 to achieve the growth path the government has outlined in its economic forecast, a group of Tokyo-based public think tanks say.

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I agree with Kitaoka.

As far as accepting foreign workers with a greater sense of urgency and making Japan attractive in the longer term, a country to be chosen by foreign workers, do I think that will happen?

NO.

13 ( +25 / -12 )

The closing of the borders for almost two years, the constant subtle and not so subtle blaming foreigners for bringing Omicron into Japan,and then the video of the Vietnamese trainee being bullied and harrassed will do nothing to help Japan attract foreign workers to come to the country.

13 ( +22 / -9 )

For this to happen, pay foreigners well like any other employee in Japan, along with the same benefits. I’m sure, due to the aging population, it will come to that. Let go of your self centered mentality. Then maybe, foreigners will be open to Japan, but that’s their choice.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

Quote of the day that will inevitably fall on deaf ears of those in charge at the top and especially the justice ministry AKA immigration!

1 ( +10 / -9 )

Yeah, good luck trying to get the oyajis in the Diet to go along with that.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

Immigration only benefits the business owners. It lowers wages and increases the cost of living for workers at the bottom. The Nordic states had a much better quality of life than e.g. France and the UK even with smaller populations. There is no 'need', it's just rhetoric to conflate the goals of the rich with the poor

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Come on this is Japan, yes I love the place but I am a realist and the idea that this place will ever really open to foreigners is a pipe dream.

Look at the closing of the borders, remember at first only Japanese could return not even resident foreigners could.

Even today in with omicron they are still trying to portray it as a foreigner driven thing.

The government and media try everything to vilify non Japanese things.

Like the supposed news/research, claiming speaking English spreads covid more than speaking Japanese.

And goes on to show a Japanese person speaking English in an exaggerated way as to spit all over the place.

Before Covid I was thinking things were getting better and there was a possibility of Japan opening a bit more.

But not anymore

1 ( +11 / -10 )

nice talk but just talk.

groundless empty talk.

like that person have said something but all of us know reality here.

this will not happen at least not next decade or so.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

Try making Japan a better place to work and live for Japanese people! Old boomers have destroyed Japan as a place to raise a family and have a balanced life.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

It’s a dysfunctional society for locals there is no chance of it being a functioning society for foreigners.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Immigration only benefits the business owners. It lowers wages and increases the cost of living for workers at the bottom. The Nordic states had a much better quality of life than e.g. France and the UK even with smaller populations. There is no 'need', it's just rhetoric to conflate the goals of the rich with the poor

In a country with more jobs available than workers to fill them, which is Japan right now, I don't see how immigrants coming to fill jobs that are vacant anyway are going to depress wages.

Also, you don't seem to know what you are talking about.

Norway immigrant population: 12% (as portion of total population)

Sweden Immigrant population: 14%

France Immigrant Population: 14%

UK Immigrant population: 13%

I'm not seeing the difference.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

For this to happen, pay foreigners well like any other employee in Japan, along with the same benefits.

J-companies are unwilling to pay equal wages / benefits to even their own J-hordes of non-permanent workers, let alone foreigners.

I’m sure, due to the aging population, it will come to that.*

Wish you were right, but can,t see that happening on hid island unfortunately.

Let go of your self centered mentality. *

Never...Japanese are unique and special.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Japan needs foreigners, but doesn't want foreigners.

It might be a good idea to work on changing that underlying attitude first.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

It's not crucial that Japan's economy "grow," since its population is falling. That means zero growth would be a real gain. The morons who don't understand this fairly basic concept are the ones pushing for more foreign workers. Which tells you how dumb the policy is.

good luck trying to get the oyajis in the Diet to go along with that.

good luck trying to get the majority of Japan's population to go along with that. The past experience with the Brazilians and now the Vietnamese have dashed any hopes of widespread acceptance.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

DiscusS? How about act, Jack?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Good luck with that. Old attitudes die hard and some never die, especially the one prevalent here. Japanese don't really want you here and are not going for that. You know the old stuffy bureaucrat oyajis will not even consider it. They'll somehow pass the blame somewhere else. I won't feel any sorrow when the sheet hits the fan and they are actually doing most foreign workers a favor by not letting them come here.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

It's not crucial that Japan's economy "grow," since its population is falling. That means zero growth would be a real gain. The morons who don't understand this fairly basic concept are the ones pushing for more foreign workers. Which tells you how dumb the policy is.

I think you are half-right on this, in the sense that economic growth based solely on population growth doesn't necessarily mean people are economically better off, it just means there are more people.

But at the same time, economic growth (or shrinkage) isn't solely about the number of people, it is also related to productivity. You can grow your economy without growing the population if you make the workforce more productive. Increasing productivity is generally better than growing your population because it can make the society economically better off on a per-capita basis.

I think though that in Japan's case bringing in foreign workers isn't just about trying to create economic growth (or mitigate economic contraction) by adding more people, its also about productivity. The real economic problem for Japan is not that its population is getting smaller, it is that it is getting older. Generally the older a workforce becomes, the harder it is to increase the productivity of it - old people get set in their ways, are less innovative, etc. This is a bigger problem for Japan - trying to get a workforce that year by year is increasingly dominated by the "oyaji who uses fax machines for all communications" caricature is going to be a much bigger drag on its economy than a smaller population per se is, and this is something that can actually reduce per-capita economic well being of Japanese society as a whole.

Bringing in foreign workers isn't going to fully solve this problem, but I think it makes the case in favor of brining in young, skilled workers much stronger. Not as a means of stopping population decline, but as a means of trying to shore up sagging productivity in this country.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I've been hearing and reading versions of this mantra for 2 decades now and nothing ever comes of it. Japan is just not a welcoming environment for most foreigners, especially to work in.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

I always get surprised about how much of what JICA is trying to do goes completely against what the government in general actively tries to obstruct, it must take a lot of masochism for people to work in that agency, knowing well that any goals that they are supposed to accomplish frequently end up cut short by the rest of the Japanese government.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

 its also about productivity.

Japan has among the world's highest factory-floor labor productivity. Japan has long dispatched productivity consultants to US factories. At Tokyo restaurants at lunchtime, a single waiter can serve 20 tables and have your meal on your table in 5 minutes.

What skews the official numbers are sales people and other white collar wonks who put in long hours by hanging around the office doing nothing. The solution is to reform this space and tolerate moderately higher unemployment rates that would ensue, which would give jobless adults the chance to gain certifications and upgrade their skills...to become more productive.

Bringing in youngsters from third world nations on two-year visas to work cheaply in exploitive conditions for employers who couldnt otherwise stay in business is definitely not the solution.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

How about more kindergartens, subsidized children's clothes and food, more housing, higher wages and a better work life balance? Then in 20 years Japan won't need many foreign workers as the government would have done its job and increased the birth rate and future work force.

Alternatively, just stick your head in the sand and hope for miracles.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A very timely meeting of the FCCJ, not later than today afternoon.

The topic: How Strict Border Controls are Hurting Japan

But they also touchbase on the long-lasting effects these will have on Japan, on its foreign relations and perception abroad, as well as, of course, on how foreigners and foreign business/investors (in Japan) feel about what is going on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRK_MYT6luY

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Japan has among the world's highest factory-floor labor productivity. Japan has long dispatched productivity consultants to US factories. At Tokyo restaurants at lunchtime, a single waiter can serve 20 tables and have your meal on your table in 5 minutes.

Yup, Japan is very productive in some areas, this is true. But that ironically is part of the problem, its already maxed out its ability to increase productivity in some areas, while in others…

What skews the official numbers are sales people and other white collar wonks who put in long hours by hanging around the office doing nothing. The solution is to reform this space and tolerate moderately higher unemployment rates that would ensue, which would give jobless adults the chance to gain certifications and upgrade their skills...to become more productive.

Yeah, in other words those are areas where Japan needs to be more productive. And needs people who think and do things differently. Like us foreigners perhaps.

Bringing in youngsters from third world nations on two-year visas to work cheaply in exploitive conditions for employers who couldnt otherwise stay in business is definitely not the solution.

Agreed, which is why Japan should be moving away from offering such dismal conditions that it can only get short term, low skill workers who can’t make any long term investment in their lives here. What Japan needs is bright, young people who are incentivized to start businesses here and contribute long term to this society. Its not going to get many such people without actually doing something to make this country a more attractive destination, which I think is the point the guy quoted was trying to make. I think he is correct.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

LOL.

I am Japanese, but simply don’t look it (Caucasian father).

When I go to…say rent a location for my business, half the time the manager sends a lady out to make an X with her arms to me.

The horror on their faces when I address them in their language and inform them that I am just as, or not perhaps more Japanese than they are.

Japan has a long way to go before being attractive to foreigners to live proper, and that’s not even mentioning the lousy wages.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Weren’t you, @UK9393 11:55am, just writing you were happy foreigners were continuing to be restricted from entering Japan ?

*- @UK9393 10:56am: “Personally, and according to the many people here I speak to, we're happy we got Japan back.“ - Japan's border policy keeping hundreds of thousands of foreigners in limbo -*

- @UK9393Today 11:55am: “DiscusS? How about act, Jack?” -

So, which is it, for “foreigners”, in or out ? - (‘certain company’ excluded, of course.)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The keyword is “workers.” The definition is someone who does manual or industrial labor.

Except for token gaijins in temporary academic posts or ex-pats with foreign companies, there is little market for skilled or white-collar foreigners. Carlos Ghosn showed what happens if you get too “uppity.”

It’s all just words anyway.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Except for token gaijins in temporary academic posts or ex-pats with foreign companies, there is little market for skilled or white-collar foreigners.

I think you mean white workers. Most foreigners in Japan are non-visible minorities, and there is a big market for them, and Japan is an appealing place for many of them as well.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Perhaps the ‘autoincorrect’ may have snagged that post @Strangerland 6:36am with an added “e” to “appalling

“Most foreigners in Japan are non-visible minorities, and there is a big market for them, and Japan is an [appealing] place for many of them as well.” -

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's not just working here in Japan, it's the life outside of work. The immigrants have to live here and deal with a xenophobic bureaucracy at many levels, from housing, banking, medical care, and personnel departments, and support their families. Until that changes and becomes more accepting, it won't be attractive for many of them.

The most helpful people are surprisingly at the local ward offices.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japan is and never been serious about providing the ‘other’ with anything approaching equality.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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