Japan has been gearing up to attract more foreign workers to address its severe labor shortage, with its Cabinet approving a plan to expand the number of industries covered by the blue-collar skilled worker visa that effectively grants permanent residency.

But the country faces headwinds as an attractive workplace amid a weakening yen and competition from other Asian locations such as Taiwan and South Korea with fewer visa requirements.

Weng Fei, an employee of the construction company in Gifu Prefecture, became the first person in Japan to obtain the Specified Skilled Worker No. 2 visa in April last year.