JCCI says Japan should accept unskilled foreign workers

Japan must accept unskilled foreign workers to resolve the serious labor shortage that is hitting small and midsize companies especially hard the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry said in a report released Thursday.

The report calls for admitting unskilled foreign laborers to the nation with no restriction on the types of jobs they can do, although it does lay out some requirements:

— The government will decide the number of workers to be accepted and issue a working visa valid for between three and five years.

— The government will monitor the status of the labor shortage in the manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors as well as the nursing and welfare field.

— Candidates must pass a Japanese-language proficiency test in their home country and complete a training program to learn Japanese customs.

Currently, the country accepts unskilled foreign workers in principle only under a three-year training and technical internship program that comprises one year of basic job training and two years of practical on-the-job training.

The report points out the discrepancy emerging between the intended purpose of human resource development through basic and practical training, and reality in which many trained foreigners are actually [forced to work illegally] as unskilled laborers [and have their passports confiscated by their employers].