Photo/IllutrationFilipino workers make a bed at a hotel in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture. Bed-making was included as a “skill to be learned” for the building cleaning industry from spring 2017. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Cleaners, nursing care, restaurant and hotel staff are among foreign workers to be invited to Japan under plans to expand immigration to address the acute labor shortage.

The government is considering taking in workers in 14 industries under a proposed “specified skill” category in a new residence status program, according to sources, although the list includes jobs in food service and lodging industries that are currently excluded under the Technical Intern Training Program.

The Ministry of Justice is planning to proceed with related ministries and agencies, and will finalize the applicable industries and jobs in a ministerial ordinance after the revised law passes.

The government is intending to submit legislation to revise the immigration control law to the extraordinary Diet session that will commence from Oct. 24.

A series of meetings to review the legislation within the Judicial Affairs Division of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party that started on Oct. 22 immediately met with resistance from its own Diet members, many of whom expressed concerns over the new residence status after a briefing was given on the outline of the revised legislation.

“It is too hasty to proceed with the discussion (on the new program) when problems surrounding the Technical Intern Training Program are not solved yet,” one lawmaker said.

“Have you secured the budget for child education costs in cases where migrant workers are allowed to bring their young families?” asked another.

Members of the Judicial Affairs Division are scheduled to ask for input between Oct. 23 and 25 from representatives of various industries facing a chronic labor shortage, municipal governments, labor unions and the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.

Division director Gaku Hasegawa said after the Oct. 22 meeting: “We realize that the labor shortage is a pressing issue. We plan to have a thorough but speedy discussion.”

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The 14 industries the government is considering for the new residence status:

Nursing care for elderly

Building cleaning

Farming

Fishery

Food and beverage production

Food service (such as restaurants, cafes, bars)

Material fabrication (such as metal casting)

Industrial machinery production

Electronics and electric appliance related

Construction

Ship building and marine equipment

Automobile maintenance

Aviation service

Lodging (hotels)