Japan to add 4 more sectors to specified skilled foreign worker program

The Japanese government has decided to add four more sectors to its specified skilled worker program to attract foreign workers in fields that have labor shortages.

The Cabinet reached the decision on Friday on the program that additionally grants residency status to non-Japanese workers with expert skills.

The program currently covers 12 sectors, including nursing care, construction and agriculture. The four new fields are auto transportation, railroads, forestry and timber.

Bus and taxi drivers as well as train drivers and conductors will now be able to apply for the program. A high-level of Japanese language proficiency is a requirement for those jobs because they involve communication and safety management skills.

The government aims to accept up to 820,000 foreign workers in the 16 sectors in the five years from the fiscal year that begins in April.