• Kyodo


The government plans to set up a headquarters within the Cabinet to work out measures by the end of fiscal 2015 for accepting more foreign workers in Japan, according to a draft schedule for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s new growth strategy.

The growth strategy to be compiled later this month eyes laying out necessary rules to allow foreigners to engage in broader types of jobs in sectors such as nursing care and in longer periods, the draft obtained by Kyodo News showed.

A midterm strategy on the issue for fiscal 2016 and beyond will be decided through discussions among relevant ministries, the draft says.

As a first step, foreign workers will be allowed to work as housekeepers this year in the newly created “strategic special zones” which promote deregulations and tax breaks, while qualified foreign students will also be able to work.

At present, limited kinds of jobs are permitted for foreigners, such as those in research, culinary arts or other areas that require high skills.

But the government faces the need to make up for a falling working population amid a decreasing birthrate and aging society to avoid an economic slowdown.

The draft also envisions legislation within this year to promote the use of private-sector funds for infrastructure development.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange is considering establishing a market by the end of fiscal 2015 to list venture funds that will invest in infrastructure projects such as airports, ports and facilities for renewable energy.

Among other goals, the draft aims to quadruple the number of agribusiness companies based on 2010 figures to 50,000 by 2023. Japan aims to beef up the competitiveness of its agriculture ahead of tariff cuts for farm products under the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks.

Regarding tourism, the government will look at the possibility of relaxing visa rules to meet a goal by 2030 of having foreigners account for one-sixth of travelers staying in hotels in Japan.

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