DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 Feb) — Japan wants more workers from the Philippines to address the looming shortage in its labor market, Japanese Assistant Press Secretary Natsuko Sakata announced.
In an interview on Sunday at the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao, Sakata announced that the Philippines has been identified as one of the nine priority countries where the Japanese government plans to source out workers with the opening of its labor market on April 1, 2019 to augment its workforce in at least 14 specialized fields.
She said they estimate around 345,000 migrant workers will be needed in Japan over the next five years from China, Nepal, Mongolia, and six countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) — Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Myanmar.
She said social challenges confronting Japan such as the ageing population and having less children joining the labor pool forced their government to open its labor market to migrant workers, specifically care workers; building cleaning management; machine parts and tooling industries; industrial machinery industry; electric, electronics and information industries; construction industry; shipbuilding and ship machinery industry; automobile repair maintenance; aviation industry; agriculture; fishery and aquaculture; manufacture of food and beverages; and food service industry.
She said the relevant ministries of Japan have yet to determine which of the employment opportunities identified under the specialized fields are available for Filipino workers. She said guidelines will be set to prevent abuses against migrant workers.
Filipino applicants must pass skills and Japanese language examinations to ensure that workers are already prepared for employment when they arrive in Japan, she said.
“We have to ask your capabilities — skills — and second Japanese language capability. We have these tests in place,” she said.
She said both Japanese and Philippine governments are working on the memoranum of understanding to ensure the safety and welfare of the Filipino workers in Japan, including mechanism for both governments to cooperate if anything happens to a worker.
The National Diet, Japan’s bicameral legislature, is also working on some amendments in the immigration law in light of the opening up its labor market to migrant workers, she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)