Japan is the third-most willing country to accept immigrants, a 27-nation survey by the Pew Research Center showed Monday.

According to the U.S. research institution’s survey, conducted in the spring, 23 percent of respondents in Japan said the country should bring in more immigrants, the third-highest figure after 28 percent in Spain and 24 percent in the United States.

The result apparently reflected the relatively small number of foreign workers in Japan and concerns over serious labor shortages amid the shrinking depopulation, observers said.

Meanwhile, only 13 percent of Japanese said they hope to see the number of immigrants reduced — the lowest proportion among all countries surveyed — while 58 percent said they want the status quo maintained, the highest percentage seen in the survey.

The survey also showed that the proportion of respondents in Japan who see the migration of labor overseas as a big problem jumped to 30 percent from 12 percent in 2002.

On Saturday, the government enacted the amended immigration control law to accept more foreign workers. The move is widely seen as a major policy shift toward allowing unskilled foreign workers into domestic industries.

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