japans record breaking milestone over 2 million foreign workers tackle labor shortage
Japan is facing a big challenge because there aren’t enough people to do all the jobs that need to be done. In October 2023, the number of foreign workers in Japan went over 2 million for the first time. This means that more and more people from other countries are coming to work in Japan.
Why is Japan bringing in so many foreign workers? Well, the country has a problem – not enough people to work. Japan’s population of people who can work has been getting smaller since 1995. That’s a long time! A study from last year said that by the year 2040, Japan might not have enough workers – more than 11 million might be missing!
The situation is especially tough for smaller businesses. These are the ones with fewer than 10 employees. Last year, a lot of these businesses had to close down because they couldn’t find enough people to work for them. In fact, a report said that a record number of these small businesses went bankrupt because of this problem.
So, Japan is turning to people from other countries to help out with the work. The number of foreign workers has gone up by 12.4% from the previous year. It’s a big jump, even though it’s a bit slower than before because of the pandemic.
In short, Japan doesn’t have enough people to do the jobs, especially in smaller businesses, and now they are welcoming more foreign workers to fill in the gaps.
Friday’s report told us that many small businesses in Japan rely on workers from other countries. Out of around 319,000 places that hire non-Japanese workers, about three out of five have no more than 30 employees.
The report also said that the manufacturing sector, which includes making things like cars and electronics, has the most foreign workers. After that, there are many foreign workers in jobs like service (helping others) and retail (selling things). The number of construction workers also went up a lot, by 24% from the year before. This means more people are building things like houses and roads. A survey by the labor ministry said that the construction sector has a big shortage of workers, just like the healthcare sector.
Vietnam is the biggest source of workers coming to Japan. In fact, about 51% of the people who came to Japan as “technical interns” (workers who are learning new skills) were from Vietnam. So, Japan is getting a lot of help from workers in Vietnam to fill in the gaps in jobs that need to be done.