Japan to invite more foreigners as sports instructors、 housekeepers


TOKYO -- Japan plans to broaden eligibility for resident status granted to foreigners with the aim of bringing in more workers to fill the nation’s worsening labor shortages.

One focus area is tourism. The Japan Tourism Agency will work with the Ministry of Justice to relax the requirements for foreign ski instructors with plans to compile concrete measures this fiscal year.

Currently those seeking resident status as sports instructors must have three years of experience. The ministry is considering replacing the requirement with a merit-based evaluation system.

The requirements will also be eased within special economic zones. As a starter Osaka and Kanagawa prefectures will accept foreign housekeepers by the end of this year.

Until now Japan has limited foreign housekeepers to those who have obtained resident status through marriage to Japanese nationals. Japan is also considering accepting foreign entrepreneurs.

Japan has accepted foreign caregivers from Indonesia the Philippines and Vietnam under economic partnership agreements since fiscal 2008 with the total reaching roughly 1500. Their resident status is valid for four years and may be extended should they obtain nursing care certifications in Japan.

Once related legislation is enacted Japan can accept caregivers from countries other than the EPA partners enabling people with a certain level of Japanese language skills to live here as technical interns.

The ministry has included the proposals in its immigration control plan through 2020.

The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research forecasts that Japan’s working-age population will sink below 50 million as early as 2051. Meanwhile the ratio of foreigners to Japanese nationals stands at 1% -- lower than 16.2% in the U.S. 8% in the U.K. and 1.8% in South Korea.