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Evaluating Opportunities for Foreigners in ‘Cool Japan’ Industries

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Students from countries including Indonesia and China study at Japan Anime and Manga College in Niigata Prefecture. The Yomiuri Shimbun.

According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the total number of foreigners working in Japan was 1,083,769 as of October last year, up 60 percent from five years before.

The government is considering a plan to increase the number of foreigners engaged in work related to the Cool Japan initiative, such as in the anime and fashion fields, through relaxed requirements for resident status enabling them to work in Japan.

Under the current system, even if foreigners studying in Japan find work as assistants or in other support jobs after graduation, they are not eligible for resident status. Under the plan, however, resident status would be granted in those circumstances.

The change is intended to develop and utilize the foreign workforce to promote Cool Japan-related business overseas.

According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the total number of foreigners working in Japan was 1,083,769 as of October last year, up 60 percent from five years before. Behind the surge is action to proactively accept people who have high-level knowledge in particular fields or are highly skilled professionals. However, employment remains sluggish for foreigners in support jobs.

Regarding the anime and fashion industries, foreign employees who are engaged in such creative work as original drawings and clothing design can obtain resident status for up to five years, which can be renewed. However, coloring animated images and sewing are deemed support jobs, and resident status is not granted to people engaged in such work.

Graduating into work

Many foreigners are studying Cool Japan fields at university, vocational schools or other institutions in Japan. But in many cases they are unable to qualify for resident status — even if they find jobs at companies they wish to work for after they graduate — because they usually have to start with simple support work in the early years of their careers. The current system is seen as problematic as it is unable to fully utilize the foreign labor force … (read more)

via The Japan News

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