Scorching heat continues for much of Japan – Nationwide
Japan continued to experience extreme heat on Sunday as temperatures soared into the high 30s on the last weekend of August. The highest temperature recorded Sunday was 39 degrees in Isesaki, Gunma Prefecture, followed by 38 degrees in Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture. Gifu and Nagoya cities recorded 37 degrees. In Tokyo, the mercury reached 36 degrees and is forecast to do so again on Monday. Sunday was the 41st day in a row that temperatures in much of Japan (except Hokkaido) have remained above 30 degrees. On the other hand, Kushiro in Hokkaido had a high of 21 degrees on Sunday. The Japan Meteorological Agency said temperatures are likely to remain in the mid-30s for much of this week, despite the approach of autumn.
Narita airport hiring more foreigners as inbound visitors grow – Chiba
Japan’s largest international gateway is hiring more foreigners to better serve non-Japanese visitors as they arrive in increasing numbers under the government’s policy to promote inbound tourism. The move by Narita International Airport Corp comes as the country seeks to attract 40 million visitors by 2020, when Tokyo hosts the Olympics and Paralympic, and 60 million by 2030, so as to achieve economic growth amid a shrinking domestic market characterized by an aging population and a persistently low birthrate.
The transport ministry is now considering creating a new visa status to expand foreign employment at airports nationwide to counter expected shortages of Japanese workers there. In late July, Roneta Ratumaitavuki, a 24-year-old Fijian, began working at the airport near Tokyo as one of the first three foreigners directly employed by the airport operator. Speaking in fluent English, Ratumaitavuki was attending to a group of men from Singapore at a reception counter of a pay lounge, giving them instructions on where to smoke and enquiring whether they would be paying their bills together or separately. Language skills and a high educational background were what Narita International Airport was looking for when it decided to recruit staff from Fiji. After learning that the English-speaking country has many educated but unemployed people, the airport operator held interviews locally and offered positions to three out of the 181 who applied, according to its officials.
Being Japan’s busiest airport by international passenger traffic, the airport plays an important role in Japan’s inbound tourism, promoted under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s growth strategy. The number of foreign visitors to Japan eclipsed 20 million in 2016 and hit record 28.7 million in 2017. Of those who entered Japan by air last year, the largest group of 29 percent came through Narita airport, according to the transport ministry. In the face of the growing number of airport users, a security firm conducting safety inspections at Narita has also started hiring foreign staff over the past few years and now employs some 10 people from countries including China, South Korea and Sri Lanka.
Japan to set up immigration agency to cope with influx of foreigners – Nationwide
As Japan is set to open the door to blue-collar labourers from abroad next April, the government has decided to upgrade the Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau into an agency to respond to an expected surge in work, government sources said Monday.
The ministry will request 3 billion yen to set up the planned agency, also next April, when Japan starts accepting foreign workers under a new residency status, details of which are expected to be discussed in the Diet this fall.
In what could be a turning point for Japan’s labour market, the government expects to accept hundreds of thousands of foreigners for jobs in fields including nursing care, agriculture, construction, hotel, shipbuilding, manufacturing and fisheries, as the country grapples with population decline and a labour shortage. The number of foreign workers in Japan has been surging in recent years amid a labour crunch, doubling to a record 1.28 million as of October 2017 from 680,000 in 2012, according to statistics compiled by the Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry. Of the 1.28 million, Chinese made up the largest single group of 370,000, followed by Vietnamese and Filipinos.