Trainee Program to Focus on Securing Manpower

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Vietnamese employees learn how to bag French fries at a Mos Food Services Inc. training session in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A Japanese government panel of experts on Wednesday proposed the launch of a new technical training program for foreign workers designed to help secure manpower in Japan.

The panel tasked with reviewing the country’s program to accept foreign technical trainees, in a draft interim report compiled the same day, called for abolishing the existing program and creating a new one. Compared with a draft review proposal released by the panel on April 10, the latest report put further emphasis on the necessity for procuring human resources amid a dearth of workforce in the country.

In response to criticism of the current training program as infringing human rights, the report also included extended descriptions related to the need to give sufficient considerations for foreign workers.

The panel will release its interim report on the foreign trainee program’s review later this month, aiming to put together its final report this autumn.

The government introduced the current program in 1993, aiming to make international contributions by allowing foreigners to gain skills and knowledge in Japan as trainees and use them for economic development in their home countries. In reality, however, the program has been largely used as a means to cover labor shortages in provincial areas and at small and midsize companies.

Regarding the current program, the panel said in the draft proposal released last week that there is a gap between its purpose and reality. The panel said the government should consider creating a new program aimed at securing and nurturing human resources.

Also in the draft proposal, the panel called for allowing foreign trainees staying in Japan under the new program to smoothly acquire special resident status given to foreign workers with specified skills. Additionally, Wednesday’s draft interim report pointed out that foreigners are supporting the Japanese economy and society at present amid increasingly serious labor shortages in the country.