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There has been a lot of discussion recently about allowing more foreign workers into Japan to make up for severe labor shortages in some fields. As of the end of 2014, the labor ministry estimated there were 790,000 foreign nationals working in Japan legally, which is more than the number of national civil servants (640,000).

However, the Japan Civil Liberties Union believes that many employers don’t report the number of foreign workers they use, so the number could be more than 1 million if you go by Ministry of Justice statistics about immigration. A question that is rarely asked, however, is what sort of conditions and wages can foreign workers expect if more were permitted to immigrate?

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