A senior Japanese diplomat has said that Japan is negotiating with Pakistan to sign a memorandum of understanding for the import of thousands of skilled labour.
Yusuke Shindo, deputy head of mission at Japan Embassy in Islamabad, said that the memorandum could be signed in the next month.
He said that Japan intends to attract up to 500,000 blue-collar workers from all over the world during the next five years by 2025 and further enhance this by 2030.
Yusuke Shindo said that Japan has opened doors for foreign workers from different countries to alleviate problems caused by its rapidly ageing population.
In the current scenario because of a population of age more than 60, Japan is facing a labour shortage for which, “we need to export skilled labour from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and other Association of South East Asian Nations (ASAIN),” he said, adding that the professional skills and proficiency in the Japanese language will be a must for the workers under this policy.
In the past, lack of language ability, cultural gaps, cost of training, mismatch in skills and the fact that many foreign workers cannot stay permanently in Japan were some of the problems that the workers faced, he said. Yusuke Shindo said that Japan has major exports to Pakistan in the automobile sector including cars, flat steel, tractors, and transport.
He said that Japan has imports mainly in agriculture including cotton yarn, oils, knitwear, cotton fabric and woven cotton fabric. He said that both the sides have the potential to increase bilateral trade and can double their trading volume. He said that Pakistan needs to enhance the competitiveness in its export items for competing in the international market to increase its exports and improve its balance of payments.
To a question, Yusuke Shindo said that the Japanese companies are interested in establishing the industrial manufacturing units of auto parts in Pakistan to provide an opportunity for the local people. Japan’s experts are also ready to train the local agriculture workers for value addition and to establish the agro-industry in Pakistan, he said.
The diplomat said that Pakistan has proposed and wants to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to provide more access to both potential markets. Before negotiating the FTA, both the sides are negotiating to lower the tariff line in potential trade items and also establish a preferential trade agreement in the future, he said.