Japan might make it easier for "highly skilled professionals" to acquire permanent residency status so it can lure the talent it needs to rejuvenate the stagnant economy.

Under discussion is cutting the minimum requirement for consecutive years of stay to three years from five, Immigration Bureau official Yusuke Takeuchi told The Japan Times on Thursday.

"The government believes accepting foreigners with professional skills will bring benefits because it would lead to a strengthening of the nation's economy and create employment, so offering more incentives is necessary," he said. The term "highly skilled" refers to professors, researchers, information technology personnel, and business managers, among others, he said.