The ruling coalition hopes to push the government's bill to amend the immigration control law through the Diet shortly. If passed, the revision will create new visa statuses that will enable foreign workers to be employed for unskilled labor in Japan. This is a major departure from the policy of accepting a limited number of foreign workers with specialized, highly professional skills.

Behind this change is a strong push from certain business sectors in Japan that are suffering from a serious labor shortage due to the rapidly graying and declining population. The government hopes to enforce the revision beginning next April, after getting it cleared in the Diet during the current extraordinary session. Since this represents a considerable change in policy direction, the amendment was the subject of heated debates in the Diet.

Currently, the visa statuses that allow foreigners to work in Japan can be grouped into five general categories: