Japan Expands Scope of Category II Residence Status Amidst Labor Shortage

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, center, and ministers pose for a photo before a Cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office on Friday.

The government decided to expand the scope of the Category II residence status for foreign workers during a Cabinet meeting on Friday. It will expand from the current two fields to 11. Prior to the meeting, it was also decided to dissolve the foreign technical intern training program aimed at international contribution during a related ministerial meeting. A new system will be created that focuses primarily on securing human resources.

Category I has 12 residence status fields that are aimed at general workers, which have a maximum residency period of five years. Two fields, construction and shipbuilding/ship machinery already fall under Category II granted to foreigners with advanced skills.

Based on the Friday decision, nine Category I fields will fall under Category II. These include building cleaning, automobile maintenance, agriculture, fishery industries and food service.

The addition is based on the demands of various industries that are facing severe labor shortages due to an aging society and declining birthrate. There are no limitations to the number of renewals for Category II, and it also allows for long-term stay and accompanying family members. The changes are hoped to bring about long-term employment by various companies.