TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party on Tuesday endorsed a controversial visa program to admit more foreign workers, but only on the condition of reviewing the system within a few years, reflecting lingering misgivings within the party.
The Liberal Democratic Party’s General Council approved plans to create two visa categories for low- and high-skilled workers. The legislation will be submitted to the Diet following cabinet approval on Friday. Abe’s government targets for passage during the current session to kick-start the program next April.
Many LDP members expressed concerns about what they see as in effect an immigration policy during an internal debate even as sectors facing severe labor shortages pleaded with the government to bring in more workers. Those skeptics demanded a review provision in the legislation to assess the program after its launch, citing a possible increase in crime and the challenge of handling increased arrivals.