Long story, short – Japanese businesses in Japan are hiring.
Immigration is a sensitive issue everywhere and especially in Japan, where many citizens fear foreigners will bring crime and disorder. So why did Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a nationalist, right-of-center leader, decide last week to admit 500,000 blue-collar guest workers by 2025?
In a word, demographics. Japan’s persistently low fertility rate, 1.43 last year, caused the work force to shrink by 13% since 2000. Companies are screaming for workers, with an average of 1.59 jobs available for each applicant. The unemployment rate was 2.5% in April, the lowest among G-7 nations.
The labor shortage is one reason Mr. Abe’s program of economic reform hasn’t revived animal spirits, with GDP contracting 0.2% in the first quarter. The lack of hotel staff is holding back a boom in tourism. The average age of the Japanese farmer is 67. The lack of workers is hampering construction projects for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020[…]