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OSAKA — Prompted by serious concerns among small and medium-size firms over the shortage of blue-collar labor, the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry on July 10 created a working group to discuss how to attract more workers from foreign countries.

Chamber officials said the working group, made up of company executives and scholars, plans to put together a proposal next March calling for the creation of a working visa for skilled foreign laborers that would enable people to come to Japan with their families and work. The proposal will challenge the Japanese government’s policy of offering working visas to foreign engineers and researchers but not to skilled workers, which is based on the belief that accepting blue-collar workers could adversely affect Japan’s socioeconomic system.

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