TOKYO (AP) — Japan's Cabinet has approved a draft bill that would allow more foreign blue-color workers as the country's fast-aging population faces labor shortages.
The bill, endorsed by the Cabinet on Friday, is a major revision of Japan's policy on foreign labor. The country has long resisted accepting foreign workers.
The proposed legislation would create two new visa categories for foreigners employed in more than a dozen sectors. The government hopes the bill will be enacted by next April.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denied that the relaxed policy on foreign workers means Japan is opening its doors to immigrants.
Media surveys show public sentiment is divided on the issue. Opponents are concerned about crime and jobs taken away from Japanese, while proponents say foreign workers are indispensable in sectors facing labor shortages.