• Kyodo, Jiji

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The government adopted a policy Tuesday to strengthen support for foreign residents who may face hurdles in getting coronavirus vaccinations.

The government, together with local municipalities, will ensure that vaccination vouchers are sent without fail to foreign nationals living in the country and promote multilingual COVID-19 consultation services via telephone, it said.

The bolstered support is among 10 new measures added to the government’s existing policy package aimed at helping improve the daily lives of foreign residents.

The revised policy also said that new preferential measures will be implemented for businesses that provide adequate accommodations for foreign technical trainees that respect their privacy and take sufficient infection prevention measures.

“We’ll work steadily to prevent foreign residents from being isolated and accept them as members of society,” Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said at a news conference,

The package was originally crafted in December 2018, before Japan launched a new visa system in April 2019 to formally open its doors to foreign blue-collar workers amid a serious labor shortage. It is revised each year and now covers 197 policies.

As of late 2020, Japan had around 2.89 million foreign residents in total.

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