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英語記事に慣れる「サクっと読む英文」

2017.3.14

1 million foreign workers now in Japan

Read the article to find out which sectors have the most foreign workers.
外国人労働者が最も多く働いているのはどんな分野なのか、記事を読んでみましょう。

Higher levelLower level
For the first time, the number of foreign workers in Japan is more than one million. A government survey shows that in 2016 there were 1.08 million foreign residents working for Japanese companies. The report shows a nearly 20% increase from the year before. Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare reported that there have been record increases in foreign workers for four years in a row.

Almost a third of the foreign workers came from China, and there was a 50% increase in Vietnamese workers last year, making them the second-largest group. People of Japanese descent and others who married Japanese people make up just over 38%.

More than 30% of the foreign workers are in the manufacturing sector. The service sector employs just under 15% of the workers, and about 13% work in wholesale and retail. Over 200,000 foreign professionals, including researchers and accounting experts, were working in Japan as of October of last year. Another 240,000 workers were foreign students.

Japan is facing a labor crisis. The sector with one of the highest labor shortages is construction, which has increased demand due to the 2020 Olympics. Many foreign workers are part of the trainee system, where workers learn skills that they can bring back to their home countries. The number of trainees rose by over 25% from last year, and accounts for nearly 20% of the foreign workers in Japan. But some experts have concerns about the current trainee system. As reported in Japan Today , former head of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau Hidenori Sakanaka said, “It’s not right that […] trainees who are supposed to be here to gain skills are counted as foreign labor.”

The Japanese government is also now giving special visas for foreign housekeepers. The idea is that domestic help will allow Japanese women to leave home and go to work. However, the program requires 400 hours of training before coming to Japan. Yuki Takahashi, founder of housekeeping company Bears KK told Bloomberg that the rules need to be relaxed. Takahashi said, “Japanese housekeepers don’t need qualifications—if someone is of good character we can hire and train them. Why can’t we do the same with the foreign workers?”

For the first time, there are more than one million foreign workers in Japan. A government report shows that in 2016 there were 1.08 million foreign people working for Japanese companies. Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare report shows that the number of foreign workers went up by nearly 20% from the year before. The number of foreign workers broke the record for the fourth year in a row.

Nearly a third of the foreign workers are Chinese. The second-largest group is Vietnamese. There was a 50% increase in Vietnamese workers last year. People with Japanese family and people who married Japanese people make up just over 38%.

More than 30% of the foreign workers are in manufacturing. About 15% of foreign workers are in the service industry, and about 13% work in retail. As of October of last year, there were over 200,000 foreign professionals working in Japan. Foreign professionals work in research, banking, etc. Another 240,000 foreign workers were students from abroad.

Japan needs more workers. The industry which needs workers the most is construction because of the 2020 Olympics.

Many foreign workers are part of the trainee system. In the trainee system, workers learn skills that they can bring back to their home countries. The number of trainees went up by over 25% this year. Nearly 20% of the foreign workers in Japan are trainees. But some people think the trainee system needs to change. As reported in Japan Today, former head of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau Hidenori Sakanaka said it’s not right that trainees are called workers—they are in Japan to learn.

The Japanese government is also letting some foreign housekeepers work in Japan. The government thinks that if Japanese women get help at home, they can work more. However, foreign housekeepers must have 400 hours of training before coming to Japan. Bloomberg interviewed owner of housekeeping company Bears KK, Yuki Takahashi. He said that the rules need to be relaxed. Japanese cleaners don’t need to have special skills. Takahashi said, “If someone is of good character we can hire and train them. Why can’t we do the same with the foreign workers?”

キーフレーズ

descent 血統、系統
make up 占める、構成する

あるものが全体の中である割合をもっていることを意味します。

例:Boys make up 25% of the team.
(男子がチームの25%を占めている。)

▼こちらもCheck!
使いこなす句動詞 “make up”

sector (経済や社会の)部門、分野
wholesale 卸売り
as of ~ ~の時点で

~に日付を入れ、「~の時点で」や「~現在」などという意味で使われます。

例:As of next year, taxes will increase.
(来年をもって、税が引き上げられます。)

trainee system 研修生制度
former head 元局長
be supposed to ~ ~することになっている

義務や取り決めなどにより、あることをすることになっている、または本来~するはずだ、という意味で使われます。

例:I’m supposed to go to the lecture, but I’m too busy.
(本当は講義に行かなくてはいけないが、あまりにも忙しすぎる。)

founder 設立者、創始者
qualification 資格
be of good character 良い性格を持った

本文中の “if someone is of good character” は、「もし誰かが良い性格を持っていれば(良い性格であれば)」という意味です。

例:I highly recommend him. He’s a man of good character.
(彼を強く推薦します。彼は良い性格の人です。)

「of + 名詞」を使うことによって名詞を後ろから修飾したり、be動詞の後に置いて物事の抽象的な特徴を表したりすることができます。

例:He’s a man of many talents.
(彼は多くの才能を持つ人だ。※名詞を後ろから修飾
 :This device is of great use.
(この装置は大いなる有用性を持っている。※be動詞の後に置いて特徴を表す

また、「of + 名詞」は形容詞と置き換えることができます。

例:He’s a talented man.
(彼は才能のある人だ。)
 :This device is very useful.
(この装置はとても役に立つ。)


こちらのコーナーでは、Gabaマンツーマン英会話の受講者様向け学習コンテンツ、「myRead」で取り上げた記事についてご紹介しています。日本語訳については、本記事における意味になりますのでご了承ください。
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