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Japan, Britain to Expand Working Holiday Opportunities

The Japan News

London (Jiji Press)—Japan and Britain have agreed to issue up to 6,000 working holiday visas to each other’s people annually, starting next year, as the two countries seeks to promote exchanges among young people and strengthen their ties.

Japan’s quota will be expanded by sixfold from the current 1,000, while the British quota will be increased by fourfold from the current 1,500.

The move is based on the Hiroshima Accord, a joint document released by the two countries on the sidelines of the summit of the Group of Seven major democracies in the western Japan city of Hiroshima in May to strengthen cooperation in the economic, security and other fields.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa and British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly signed a memorandum of understanding on measures to promote human exchanges between the two countries, such as expanding working holiday visa issuance, when they met in Tokyo on Tuesday on the sidelines of a G-7 meeting.

Japan first introduced its working holiday scheme in 1980 with Australia, now having such arrangements in place with 29 countries and regions, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

The working holiday scheme between Japan and Britain started in 2001, allowing people aged between 18 and 30 to stay in the other country for up to two years.

The number of applications has far exceeded the quotas due to the popularity of the scheme, leaving many people unable to obtain working holiday visas.

For young Japanese people, the scheme allows them to improve their English skills through life and work in Britain, and gives them the advantage of being able to receive high wages amid the yen’s weakness against the British pound.

A 28-year-old woman from Tokyo who has been living in London since summer this year using the scheme said, “Even now it is difficult to find a job and housing with good conditions, and if the quota is raised by fourfold, many people may not be able to find them.”