LDP drafts plan to train 5 mil. tech experts

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Liberal Democratic Party headquarters

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party hopes to upgrade Japan’s digital prowess with a new plan that would step up financial support for vocational training and encourage the creation of more such tech-oriented curriculums, with the aim of equipping 5 million people with digital skills, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

Drafted by the LDP’s digital human resource subcommittee — headed by Satsuki Katayama, a former minister in charge of regional revitalization — the package of proposals will soon be finalized for submission to the government.

Galvanized by the digitization initiative promoted by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, the plan would serve an ancillary goal of harnessing the digital sector as a source of employment, as the job market struggles to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Calling for a “wide range of necessary measures, including subsidies and preferential treatment,” the proposals will seek to rectify what the subcommittee cited as Japan’s “failure to fully develop, secure and utilize digital human resources.”

A major prong of a five-year plan outlined by the subcommittee calls for the cultivation of 1.5 million workers, such as technicians who can ensure the stable operation of the nation’s digital infrastructure and engineers with app-development and other skills, by utilizing measures including vocational training subsidies.

The plan also calls for the widespread rollout of pragmatic curriculums at schools to create a cohort of 250,000 data scientists with the skills to analyze big data, in addition to requesting the expansion of specialized training institutes to secure 5,000 more cyberattack experts for the workforce.

The plan seeks to train a total of 5 million people, including those who will acquire even a basic foundation in tech skills.

Although the draft stipulates that the digital training program would, in principle, apply to “domestic human resources,” the subcommittee has noted that there may be a need to also accept experts from overseas for the time being, and called on the National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cyber Security (NISC) and Foreign Ministry to cooperate in establishing a screening system for overseas personnel.