See More on Facebook

Business, Culture and society

Foreign worker influx presents business opportunity in Japan

Service industry businesses catering to foreign workers are popping up all over Japan.


Written by

Updated: May 23, 2019

As companies hurry to prepare for the acceptance of foreign workers that they hope will solve their labor shortages, other businesses are offering services to help foreigners obtain visas under the new system and help them in their daily lives.

Matsuya Foods Co., which runs a major chain of beef-bowl restaurants, has about 4,000 foreign workers that make up 20 percent of its workforce. Twenty-four of them, mainly from Vietnam, took the restaurant worker skills test for the new Type-1 residence status for specific skills introduced in April. When the results were released on Tuesday, many received good news.

All of them had been part-time workers on student visas. Now, they will be among the first to transition to the Type-1 residence status.

“If they want, we’re willing to hire them as regular employees and train them to manage their own stores,” said the Matsuya employee in charge of the matter.

Companies and organizations can directly hire foreigners who pass the skills tests. There are many companies that aim to solve their serious labor shortages by accepting foreign workers. Some companies are directly helping foreigners obtain their qualifications.

Around March, major hotel chain Toyoko Inn Co. began Japanese-language training for about 20 of its employees on Cebu Island in the Philippines. The plan is to have these workers take special skills tests, then transfer them to Japan after they receive their visas.

Support organizations

One of the biggest challenges for businesses employing foreign workers is figuring out how to help them settle into their jobs.

As part of the new residence status system, a framework was created for registration-support organizations that specialize in assisting foreigners in their daily lives. These organizations need to be accredited by the Immigration Services Agency.

Under the conventional technical intern training program, the supervisory organizations that were supposed to intermediate between foreign interns and their employers and provide guidance were found to have employed slipshod labor management practices, which led to about 9,000 workers disappearing from their workplaces. The new framework is intended to prevent these problems in the new system.

Many companies, particularly small and midsize firms, have little experience employing foreigners. For registration-support organizations, helping foreigners obtain visas and settle into their jobs presents a major business opportunity.

In April, major staffing company Pasona Inc. launched a service aimed at companies and organizations to help foreign workers settle into their jobs. The company said it has already received inquiries from about 100 companies and organizations, and aims to sign contracts with 500 firms in the next three years.

Tokyo-based Global Trust Networks (GTN) Co. has hired about 30 foreign workers to mediate for foreigner-only rental housing units and handle inquiries from both tenants and management companies. Services are available in 16 languages, including Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese.

About 1,400 companies and organizations are seeking to become registration-support organizations, with 35 already having obtained accreditation. Pasona and GTN have both submitted applications and hope to complete their registrations quickly.

Farm-bound

There is a growing need for businesses that can introduce or dispatch foreign workers to employers. As foreigners tend to congregate in big cities, these services could help solve the lack of manpower in local areas.

A staffing company in Hokkaido is currently introducing part-time foreign workers to restaurants and other companies for a fee of ¥50,000 to 60,000 per worker.

Up to 53,000 foreign workers could receive visas to work in the restaurant industry under the new system over the next five years. “We’ve already received a lot of inquiries,” a company representative said with expectation.

Dispatch employment is allowed under the new system only for agriculture and fishing jobs.

Abridge Inc., a Tokyo-based information technology venture capital firm, plans to launch a business to recruit about 100 people from Cambodia and Vietnam in this year, help them obtain special skills visas, then dispatch them to work at farms in places like Hokkaido and Okinawa Prefecture. The company wants to quickly expand the program to the 1,000-person range.

“Nationwide, more and more farmers are unable to deal with the harvest using only Japanese staff. There is a big demand,” said the person in charge of the program at the company.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Japan News
About the Author: The Japan News is published by The Yomiuri Shimbun, which boasts the largest circulation in the world.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Business, Culture and society

Ho Chi Minh attracts nearly 4 billion USD in investment in 2019

Manufacturing and textiles among key sectors. HCM City attracted about US$3.63 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) capital in the first seven months of this year, marking a year-on-year increase of 15.2 per cent, according to the municipal People’s Committee. Nearly $688.8 million came from 678 newly registered projects, up 26.9 per cent in value and 18.3 per cent in the number of projects from the same period last year. In the period, 2,668 foreign investors bought shares and acquired stakes of domestic enterprises with total registered capital of $2.6 billion, 28.3 per cent and 16.7 per cent higher respectively than in the same period last year. Meanwhile, HCM City granted business licences to 24,529 new domestic enterprises worth more than VND396 trillion ($17 billion), up 0.9 per cent and 25.7 per cent, respectively. Up to 71,874 existing enterprises were allowed to add a c


By Viet Nam News
August 20, 2019

Business, Culture and society

Goldman Sachs appoints lawyer to observe 1MDB trial

The bank has been implicated by recent findings. Goldman Sachs Group Inc has appointed a lawyer to observe the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. The US bank is represented by local lawyer Chetan Jethwani, who will hold a watching brief in the hearing set to begin Aug 26, according to a Kuala Lumpur court. A watching brief lets lawyers, whose clients aren’t directly involved in the case, obtain witness statements and documents in the trial but doesn’t allow them to question witnesses or submit evidence. Malaysia escalated efforts to prosecute Goldman Sachs by announcing criminal charges against 17 of its current and former directors, after charging three of the bank’s units last year. Najib’s second trial revolves around 25 money laundering and corruption charges linked to joint ventures, asset sales and debt issuance by 1MDB.


By The Star
August 20, 2019

Business, Culture and society

Holding Huawei hostage won’t pay off: China Daily editorial

Editor’s note: Washington has postponed its Huawei decision until after holidays. Early this week, Washington will review its decision on Huawei as scheduled. It put the company on its export-control list on May 15, delaying the restrictions for three months from May 21. Although it might be the US suppliers of Huawei that care more about the outcome than the Chinese telecommunications giant itself, the US should not try to hold Huawei hostage to try and force China into agreeing to an unfair trade deal. Huawei is confident that no power can hold back the pace with which the world will step over the threshold into the 5G era and equally sure of its leadership advantages in that technology, which come from its innovation and foresight. It spends about $20 billion a year on research and development, and it has reportedly already begun research on the next generation 6G telecommunications technology.


By China Daily
August 20, 2019

Business, Culture and society

Taiwan raises 2019 GDP growth forecast

GDP growth raised on investment data. Taiwan has raised its forecast for gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2019, reflecting increased investment in Taiwan by local suppliers looking to steer clear of the trade dispute between the United States and China. The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said in a statement Friday that it has revised its estimate for GDP growth in 2019 to 2.46 percent, up 0.27 percentage points from its previous forecast in May. A big factor in the revision was increased investment at home by Taiwan-based companies operating in China that wanted to increase their production capacity in Taiwan to avoid punitive tariffs imposed by the United States on goods made in China, the DGBAS said. The trade dispute has also prompted a shakeup in the global electronics supply chain, leading to more production capacity in Taiwan, the DGBAS said.


By ANN Members
August 19, 2019

Business, Culture and society

China condemns US politicians’ Hong Kong statements

The statements were recorded in all the State-Run papers. Recent statements from US politicians violated the spirit of rule of law and interfered with China’s internal affairs, a spokesman with the country’s top legislature said on Saturday. You Wenze, spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, said some US politicians have glorified violent crimes in Hong Kong as protests for human rights and freedom, while smearing as violent suppression Hong Kong police efforts at law enforcement and maintaining social order. He said some politicians have threatened for US Congress to pass a so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which “severely violated the spirit of rule of law, showed clear double standards and grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs”. You’s remarks came in response to several statements from US


By China Daily
August 19, 2019

Business, Culture and society

Japan marks 74th anniversary of war’s end

The new emperor made an address on his first war anniversary on the throne. The Emperor used the words “deep remorse” during his address at a national memorial service held Thursday in Tokyo to mark the 74th anniversary of the end of World War II. The Emperor, who ascended to the throne on May 1, and the Empress attended the ceremony held by the government at the Nippon Budokan hall in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, the first of its kind in the Reiwa era. About 6,500 people, including bereaved relatives, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and representatives of various fields, were present to honor the about 3.1 million Japanese people who died in the war. Among those registered to attend, 53 representatives of families of the war victims from Miyazaki Prefecture were unable to attend the ceremony because their flight was canceled due to Typhoon No. 10. Participants obser


By The Japan News
August 16, 2019