On Nov. 19, Diamond Chain Store Online, a site featuring news for the retail industry, posted a story about a Reuters article that appeared a day earlier outlining the government's plan to liberalize visa procedures and allow more foreign workers to not only stay in Japan indefinitely but bring their families to live with them.

The story explained what the proposed changes would mean to the site's readers. At present, only a specific type of foreign worker can stay in Japan indefinitely. As far as foreign laborers go, except for some in the construction or shipbuilding industries, residency is capped at five years. The proposed revision would eliminate this cap for most foreign nationals who have been permitted to work in Japan, a prospect that Diamond Chain Store emphasizes is because of the country’s labor shortage.

In 2019, when the government relaxed immigration rules for people with certain skills, it projected that 345,000 foreign workers would come to Japan over the following five years, but then COVID-19 happened. The number of foreign workers, including technical trainees and student visa holders, available to Japanese businesses has for the past two years been limited to those already in the country. The government has allowed some to renew their visas on an exceptional basis.