OSAKA — The Osaka Prefectural Government will open all 128 kinds of prefectural government jobs to local foreign residents, it was announced Friday.

Some jobs have been closed to foreign residents, including those in the fields of general administration, public works, construction and public-health engineering.

The new regulation will not take effect until recruitment for fiscal 2000 since the prefectural government has already decided not to hire any general administrative employees for fiscal 1999 due to financial constraints.

The regulation will also apply to job categories that can involve exercising public authority and policy making, although ceilings in employees’ career paths will prevent foreign residents from gaining positions where they might wield authority.

According to a prefectural government survey, 5,791 of 10,182 workers in the fields listed above do not exercise public authority.

Kim Hyon Su of the Korean Residents Union in Japan said the decision is in line with internationalization and a high awareness of human rights.

Kim pointed out that more than 180,000 Korean residents, of 670,000 nationwide, live in Osaka. The nationality requirement for recruitment of local government officials is not a legally backed precedent, but rather subject to each municipality’s perception of foreign residents, he said.

Kim said the prefecture’s decision was still inadequate because there was no explanation why it had come to change its mind at this point, and also because it did not refer to the constitutionally guaranteed freedom to choose one’s own occupation.

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