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Japan to make it simpler for foreigners in service sector to get resident status

The government has decided that it will make it easier for foreign workers in the service industry to obtain resident status in Japan in response to the shortage of human resources available to deal with increasing numbers of tourists from abroad.

    The decision came during a meeting of the Council on National Strategic Special Zones on Feb. 21. At the meeting, it was determined that special zones would be used, and that the criteria for resident status -- such as level of work experience and academic background -- would be adjusted in order to increase job opportunities for foreigners wanting to work in the service sector in Japan.

    Currently, there are strict criteria in place -- such as 10 or more years of work experience and a university degree, depending on the types of jobs -- for foreigners wanting to work in Japan for a long period of time.

    However, going forward, the government plans to shorten the required period of work experience for foreign applicants working in areas such as tourism or in restaurants -- mainly in response to the burgeoning numbers of tourists coming to Japan.

    The proposed amendment will be submitted to the current Diet session in due course.

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