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Local governments adopt support policies to secure foreign labor in caregiving industry

Part-time workers from Vietnam receive training on ways to serve food and drinks in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, on March 20, 2019. (Mainichi/Takeshi Wada)

TOKYO -- Competition is intensifying in the nursing care industry as local governments across Japan are implementing support measures to secure foreign labor forces.

Among them, the Yokohama Municipal Government was quick in adopting a measure to secure human resources with "special skills" to work under a new residency status that will start in April.

The Yokohama Municipal Government signed an agreement to increase cooperation in accepting human resources from Vietnam with caregiving skills with Gakken Cocofump Holdings Co. -- a welfare corporation for the aged that provides teaching materials for Hue University in Vietnam. The move conforms with Hue University College of Medicine and Pharmacy's establishment of a training course on "Elderly Nursing Care" with Japanese standards.

Those taking the course will learn Japanese and nursing care skills with a goal to enter Japan under the new residency status. Students are to consider working in the Kanagawa Prefecture city of Yokohama, south of Tokyo, and are given priority to be accepted into Gakken Cocofump and other caregiving facilities in Yokohama.

The Yokohama Municipal Government expects to secure 50 of such human resources in 2020.

Other local governments aim to acquire exchange students and foreign technical trainees. The Chiba Prefectural Government will subsidize tuition fees and house rent for students seeking to become care workers. It will also support the job matching process between applicants and care facilities in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo. The prefectural government expects students to have part-time jobs while in school and work after graduation.

In another case, a support center co-established by the Hyogo Prefectural Government and Kobe Municipal Government was certified last month as a supervising organization responsible for accepting foreign technical trainees. It is very rare for an administration to set up such an organization.

The move comes amid problems with brokers charging huge fees to bring technical trainees to Japan. A Hyogo Prefectural Government representative said their aim is to "provide a sense of security" with the involvement of administrations.

(Japanese original by Jun Kaneko, City News Department)

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