TOKYO: The number of foreign workers in Japan topped 1 million for the first time last year, the government has said, as the country looks overseas to offset labour shortages. Tokyo has moved little on loosening strict rules for foreign workers despite years of calls to crack open Japan’s borders to more immigrants. But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has unveiled a plan to review the rules, saying foreign labour will increasingly be needed, particularly in the booming construction industry ahead of the Tokyo Olympics 2020. A record 1,083,769 foreigners were working in the country at the end of October, up 19.4% from a year earlier, the labour and welfare ministry said on Friday. The number of Chinese workers, topping the foreign labour list, gained 6.9% to some 345,000, accounting for nearly one third of the total, it said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2017.
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