The government is considering relaxing requirements for highly skilled foreigners to obtain permanent residency status in Japan as it expects them to help enhance the nation's international competitiveness, according to government sources.

The government plans to submit a bill to revise the immigration control law to the ordinary Diet session, which convenes Friday, enabling corporate managers as well as highly skilled researchers and professionals to obtain permanent resident visas after three years of residency in Japan instead of the current five years, the sources said.

Under the current system, foreign nationals need more than 10 years of residency in Japan to get permanent residency, but foreigners with high skills need only five years for the status.

The government plans to shorten the required period from five years to three for researchers studying advanced information technologies and cutting-edge medical technologies, people involved in the development of new materials and top managers of global companies, the sources said.

Around 2.03 million foreign nationals were staying in Japan as of the end of 2012, including about 620,000 permanent residents, according to the Justice Ministry.