The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will set up a panel to consider allowing more foreign people to work in the country, officials said Tuesday, in a move designed to address labor shortages stemming from an aging society.
Labor shortages are especially serious in sectors such as nursing and medical care, agriculture and construction. The LDP panel, scheduled to hold its first meeting on March 15, plans to come up with recommendations to the government as early as next month.
A revised immigration law took effect last year, allowing foreign nationals in managerial positions at Japanese companies and those with advanced knowledge and skills to stay in the country. The LDP panel will consider further deregulation measures to let in more foreign workers.
But the panel is unlikely to support allowing immigrants to enter the country out of concerns that such a move will threaten Japanese jobs, sources said.
Foreign workers in Japan totaled about 910,000 as of October, according to the labor ministry.
The proportion of foreign nationals to the total workforce is less than 2 percent in Japan, far lower than 10 percent in Europe and 16 percent in the United States, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.