The “Gateway Japan” Initiative

software engineer
The Government seems to want to accept more foreign workers.

Quotation from Nikkei Newspaper Jan 18 2014 (Original Article in Japanese):
“The Government looks into a new growth strategy, increasing the number of foreign workers and the extension of the Intern Training Program.”
– In order to bolster the work force, which is declining as a result of the low birth rate and ageing population, the Government is looking into the creation of a system which will allow for more foreign workers to be accepted into the country, extending the time period of the Technical Intern Training Program beyond the current 3 year maximum and expanding it into the healthcare field. –

Quotation from Reuters Jan 20 2014 (Original Article in Japanese):
“Within the growth strategy review – a cautious plan for an increased foreign workforce.”
– The Foreign Worker’s Technical Intern Training Program is a system which enables the transfer of Japan’s technology to developing countries and supports the development of worker’s skills. Currently, there are around 150,000 foreigners within Japan on this program. Industry is increasingly calling for the same system to be used as a means of addressing the shortage of workers and securing foreign labor for the workforce. They have argued for the current maximum stay of 3 years to be extended to 5 at the Ministry of Justice’s round-table conference.
It is expected that the final decision on the direction of policy will be unveiled in June of this year. –

I do not totally agree with the Intern Training System for the manufacturing industry which is referred to in the articles above. But it seems to be a good example for this topic. Accurately, I am going to talk about, employment system wise – about the hiring of the professionals and industry wise – about software industry.

The total population, and the number of workers, has already peaked and has now been declining for several years. An increase in productivity will not alone be able to maintain GDP or create growth, as it will not be sufficient to compensate for the decline in the number of workers.
It is now commonly accepted that if we do not wish to simply allow a gradual decline, that, along with increased workforce participation of female and older workers, the introduction of more foreign workers is necessary.
While extending the time period of the Intern Training Program is a rather modest proposal, insufficient to resolve the problem by itself, I expect that this kind of gradual approach, if continued over several years, could eventually produce significant results.

While there is a seemingly endless list of worrying problems associated with this issue, various examples of successes from around the world already exist (as do examples of people’s anticipated concerns), so while referencing these examples, we must quickly change our thinking within the next few years, and then adapt ourselves over the next few decades.
There is strong competition among countries and cities to attract highly skilled workers who add value to the economy, so in addition to pay, the environment that they live in and the hospitality of the country in which they are to live are also vitally important.

It seems to me that there tends to be a rather passive tone to the media narrative on this topic, with it often being stated that, “in order to make up for the decline in the working population we must accept more foreign workers.” You get the sense that those who hold this position, while ultimately accepting the introduction of foreign workers, view this introduction as something to be avoided if at all possible.
However, the company which I previously worked for had many foreign workers and I personally had no opposition to working with them, nor did it seem in any way strange to do so. There were no negative feelings at all.
In fact, quite the opposite. The positive sense, that working with people with entirely different ways of thinking was enjoyable, was stronger.
When you work with people from an entirely different background, such as those from a different country, you can hear opinions and points of view that you could never have imagined by yourself. This can provide you with results and a sense of achievement that are utterly irreplaceable.

No matter how you look at it, Tokyo provides such a good quality of life that people from all over the world wish to live there.
I consider it to be a city that, to an extraordinary extent, is both sophisticated and easy to live in and by nature of the city’s attractiveness alone (even if the individual companies themselves are not as attractive) people will be drawn to live there.
From now on, appealing to foreigners will become increasingly important. I think that first of all, a plan to use the inherent appeal of the cities will be the true gateway to attracting highly skilled people to Japan.