With the goal of attracting more skilled foreign workers, Japan moved to relax requirements for permanent residency for such individuals last April.

Before the change, skilled non-Japanese workers had to stay in Japan for at least five years before applying for permanent residency, but now only one year is required.

With the new fast-track rule, Japan is trying to shed its closed image, lure more skilled people, and retain those already working or studying here who can contribute to growing the economy.