National

Despite depopulation, only 14.6% in Japan feel local communities should accept foreign workers: survey

JIJI

While more than half of Japanese feel that their communities are shrinking, only about 14 percent believe it is necessary for society to actively accept foreign workers and those wishing to settle in order to keep their regions going, a survey has found.

The survey, which covered 2,000 people aged 18 or over nationwide, was conducted by Jiji Press in an interview format between Oct. 5-8 and received valid answers from 62.6 percent of participants.

According to the survey, 83.5 percent said they enjoyed living in their communities.

The combined share of respondents who feel that the population of their community is decreasing either “very much” or “somewhat” came to 56.4 percent. The proportion was high among elderly respondents, standing at 68.5 percent for people aged 70 or over and 65.8 percent for those in their 60s, and low among younger generations, at 38.8 percent for people aged 18-29 and 43.0 percent for those in their 30s.

Asked about the measures needed to keep their communities viable, with multiple answers allowed, 71.8 percent — the largest group — called for financial assistance from local authorities to attract young couples raising families to live there.

The second-largest group, or 27.9 percent, cited the need to create jobs in local areas through deregulation in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries, followed by 19.8 percent who pointed to the importance of companies introducing teleworking systems to enable employees to work in remote areas.

Only 14.6 percent said that local communities should actively accept workers and settlers from abroad, according to the survey.

The proportion showed little difference between respondents who support the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and those who do not support the administration, coming to 15.6 percent and 16.0 percent, respectively.

A government-sponsored bill to revise the immigration control law has been submitted to the Diet.

A major feature of the amendment is a plan to introduce new types of resident status, designed to accept more foreign workers in order to cover serious labor shortages in the nation.