The Japanese government has announced an intention to expand their immigration policy to allow foreign workers to stay indefinitely.
As the current policy exists, foreign workers are largely admitted in select industries, mostly white-collar businessmen. A 2019 reform expanded this consideration to blue-collar workers in understaffed sectors. But this was only up to five years, and without admitting the workers’ families.
As Nikkei Asia reports, the intended reform would allow blue-collar workers in understaffed sectors to renew their visas “indefinitely,” and make arrangements for the workers’ families. The intention of this reform is to address labor shortages created by Japan’s shrinking and aging population.
According to the World Bank (the source used by Google when searching Japan’s population), the population of Japan peaked in 2008 at 128 million after experiencing slowing growth, before it finally began declining. As of 2020, the population sits at 125 million people.
In addition to an overall population decline; less than 60% of the population falls within ages 15 and 64 according to the Census Bureau of Japan. This means 28% over the age of 65, and only 13% under the age of 15. As deaths exceed births in the island nation, homes are being left unoccupied, and jobs are being left unfilled.
These changes to Japan’s immigration policy are expected to occur as early as the 2022 fiscal year.