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Critics have complained of a lack of clarity and pointed to future challenges after Japan enacted a foreign workers bill to allow more than 345,000 people to work there in the next five years.
The Japanese Diet, the upper house of the parliament, on Saturday voted to allow more workers from overseas into the country.
The bill introduced two types of visas in 14 industries such as construction, nursing and farming. The visas will take effect in April.
Under the first type, "certain skilled foreigners" in specified fields will be allowed to stay in Japan for up to five years without their families. The second type, "more advance-skilled foreigners", can bring their spouses and children and have the chance to stay in Japan indefinitely if "certain conditions were met".
"Most parties agree with the idea of accepting more foreigners because of the shrinking and aging population," said Masanari Koike, a former member of Japan"s House of Representatives. "But opponents and the public are concerned about the uncertainty over how the bill will change the society and the labor market."
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had been accused of rushing the bill through as a way to gain support from the business community before national elections in 2019.
"It is clear to everyone that the immigration bill designed to accept more foreign workers is a slipshod job far from perfection," the Mainichi newspaper said in an editorial, "but the incredibly arrogant government and the ruling camp have blocked their ears to criticism".
"The bill is concerning also because it failed to answer problems brought by the Technical Intern Training Program and how to bring in real high-skilled intelligence," Koike added.
The TITP, which was introduced in 1993, is a work training program providing employment opportunities for foreign nationals, but it has proved controversial.
Currently, Japan brings in around 250,000 workers from other Asian countries under the TITP, but critics say the workers are paid little, work long hours and get little to no training.
Last week, Japan"s Justice Ministry revealed that 63 foreign workers died while under the TITP scheme between 2016 and 2018.silicone allergy braceletbracelet swatch siliconecustom wristbandwristband designlokai rubber bracelet