TOKYO - The government decided Friday to allow more foreign workers into the construction industry, given growing manpower demand for reconstruction of areas hit by the March 2011 disaster and for building facilities for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, officials said.
The government plans to extend the period apprentices from emerging economies are allowed to stay in Japan for training from the current three years, and to allow those who have completed their training periods to return to Japan to work, according to the officials.
The measures will be introduced in early fiscal 2015 starting next April by creating a new resident status.
The number of construction workers in Japan has declined since the government under former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who was in office from 2001 to 2006, reduced public works spending.
In 2012, the number of workers in the construction industry stood at 5.03 million, about 30 percent below the peak recorded in 1997. More than 30 percent were 55 years old or older, while those below 29 accounted for only 10 percent.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has increased public works orders, accelerating labor shortages in the construction field.