Debate on a bill to accept more foreign blue-collar workers began Wednesday in the House of Councillors after the ruling bloc forced it through the Lower House the previous day despite an outcry from opposition parties.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito are seeking passage of the bill during the ongoing Diet session that continues through Dec. 10. Meeting that schedule would allow the major immigration policy shift — an attempt to address serious labor shortages caused by an aging population and falling birthrate — to take effect in April.

Opposition parties have argued for closer scrutiny of the bill. Tetsuro Fukuyama, secretary general of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, lambasted the ruling camp for having "bulldozed" the House of Representatives' deliberations on Tuesday.