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Gov't to brief potential employers of foreigners about new immigration system from Feb.

The Ministry of Justice is seen in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Justice Minister Takashi Yamashita told a recess Diet hearing on Jan. 23 that the ministry will start briefing potential employers of foreign workers in early February across the nation about the new immigration system that would enable Japan to accept more workers from abroad in a bid to ease the nation's acute labor shortage.

Yamashita also told a House of Representatives Judicial Affairs Committee meeting that his ministry will create new posts at regional immigration bureaus in charge of preparing and improving conditions for the acceptance of more foreign residents.

According to the Justice Ministry, companies will be briefed on the new residency statuses designed for foreign workers to be introduced in April, as well as procedures to hire people from overseas under the new conditions.

Yamashita expressed his intention of dispatching ministry officials to seminars to be organized by government bodies overseeing 14 industries that are accepting workers under the new arrangement. "We will start cooperating with local governments in a speedy manner so that (the new system) can be implemented smoothly," Yamashita said in response to a question from Ryosei Akazawa, a lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

The government has already decided to set up some 100 one-stop consultation counters nationwide that can field various questions from foreign residents, and promote the introduction of multilingual administrative services. These are part of a comprehensive countermeasure package comprising 126 programs for the realization of an inclusive society. As many of these programs will be carried out by local governments, Justice Ministry specialists in charge will monitor their activities and cooperate with other central government departments when national support is needed.

The Justice Ministry said a total of 13 new ministry specialists responsible for supporting foreign residents would be deployed to 11 locations -- Sapporo and Sendai in northern Japan, Tokyo and Yokohama south of the capital, Nagoya in central Japan, Osaka, Kobe, Takamatsu and Hiroshima in the west and Fukuoka and Naha in the south.

(Japanese original by Takeshi Wada, City News Department)

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