The Japanese Diet (Parliament) in Tokyo. Photo: iStock.
The Japanese Diet, or Parliament, in Tokyo. Photo: iStock

Japan is expected to increase the number of migrant workers allowed into the country by hundreds of thousands in an attempt to rejuvenate its workforce.

The Japanese Diet will soon to pass a new law that will raise the number of low-skilled and low-wage workers entering the country, CBC reported.

The population of Japan is in decline, spelling real trouble for a country where manufacturing remains an economic mainstay. In 2017, Japan’s population decreased by 0.3% to 125.2 million. In the same period, only 946,060 births were recorded, the lowest figure since 1899. In addition, 20% of the national population is aged 65 and above.

Shinzo Abe’s conservative administration is, albeit reluctantly, reforming immigration laws in order to bring in more workers in the coming five years. About 345,000 more migrant workers in the blue-collar sector are set to enter Japan.

However, Japan has often been criticized for its treatment of foreign workers, namely those brought in under the “Technical Intern Training Program,” which is aimed at equipping interns with skills they can take back to their homelands.

Critics say the so-called interns usually end up doing undesirable jobs such as cleaning and dishwashing.

Since 2015, 69 foreign trainees in Japan have died due to work-related accidents. The number of work-related suicides is also cause for concern.