Successive closures of plants by large domestic manufacturers as part of operational restructuring have left local governments and civilian groups facing serious problems, among them the increase in unemployed foreign workers.

A Japanese-language and business-etiquette class for Japanese-Brazilians was started in Minokamo, Gifu Prefecture, in mid-April.

"We will study hard to live in Japan," a woman in her 30s, one of about 40 students enrolled in the class, said in Portuguese at the opening ceremony.