Japan is increasingly depending on foreign workers to meet a shortfall in the domestic working population, but many of the jobs are menial or ones that nobody else wants.
Official figures show that a record 790,000 foreign nationals are now working in Japan, but the Japan Civil Liberties Union estimates there are more than 1 million.
According to the labor ministry, the number of working foreigners has increased by about 300,000 over a six-year period.
Many of them are doing jobs that most Japanese shun, such as decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture stemming from the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Childcare, nursing care and caring for seniors, as well as work on construction sites, provide employment for many foreign nationals.
The 790,000 figure for foreign workers comes from statistics for 2014 compiled by the labor ministry. However, because not all companies report on their foreign workers, the labor ministry number may only cover about 70 percent of the actual figure, according to Akira Hatate of the Japan Civil Liberties Union who is knowledgeable about issues related to foreign workers.
Hatate said that at least 1 million foreigners were already working in Japan.
With one estimate projecting a decrease of the Japanese working population by at least 20 million over the next 30 years, foreign workers will undoubtedly play an increasingly important role in the future.
Source: Asahi Image: Bank Image