1 million foreign workers now in Japan
Read the article to find out which sectors have the most foreign workers.
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?”
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?”
make up 占める、構成する
例：Boys make up 25% of the team.
使いこなす句動詞 “make up”
as of ~ ～の時点で
例：As of next year, taxes will increase.
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
例：I’m supposed to go to the lecture, but I’m too busy.
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.
例：He’s a man of many talents.
：This device is of great use.
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.
：This device is very useful.