Osaka holds municipal job seminar for non-Japanese

OSAKA — A preparatory course for non-Japanese residents hoping to take the city’s employment exams started here May 9 after the Osaka Municipal Government recently lifted the nationality clause in its employment rules.

Six South Korean residents who will take the exams, slated for June, attended the orientation meeting of the seminar organized by the Osaka headquarters of the Korean Youth Association in Japan. The association plans to hold six meetings through June, including a three-day study camp.

Three Japanese candidates and three Korean members of the association are also taking the course. “When foreigners pass the exams and are hired as public servants, I think real internationalization of Japanese society begins,” said Bae Ho-Soo, 23, who will take Osaka’s employment exams this summer. “I would like to promote international exchange and work for foreign residents in this city, if I pass,” said Bae, who graduated from a Japanese university in March.

Cha Suno, a 24-year-old university student enrolled in the seminar, said he wants to be a public servant because he would like an occupation in which he can use his Korean name. The city has 120,000 Korean residents, about 17 percent of the total Korean population in Japan. But many Koreans use Japanese names because of discrimination against them.

“It’s difficult to pass the exams,” Suno said. “But I’m glad to take this opportunity because the recent move (by several local governments to start hiring more foreigners) means that our human rights are recognized in Japanese society.”