Japan grappling with immigration

Japan's government plans to compile a central database of foreigners by 2007, aiming to improve services to foreign residents, according to Asahi Shimbun:

The Justice Ministry's Immigration Bureau is to manage the database, which will contain all foreign nationals registration data, the sources said last week. At present, such data are kept separately by the municipalities where they live. The move will extend to all foreign nationals who arrived in Japan in and after the 1980s, and include current addresses and duration of stay, the sources said.

The central database is expected to help facilitate services for foreign residents, such as promoting language training and social insurance programs, sources said. At the same time, the information could also assist in tracking down foreigners suspected in criminal investigations.


The article also discusses foreign workers in Japan:

The Foreign Ministry and officials from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry have pressed the government to accept foreign workers, primarily hoping to open Japan's labor market.

The move would satisfy other Asian nations, and also encourage more foreign laborers to come to Japan, aiding its competitiveness in the international market. However the Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare remain cautious, citing the social cost of accepting foreign workers, such as frictions with local communities.


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