Japan to allow hiring of skilled foreign farm workers

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Tokyo, Dec 12 (IANS) The Japanese government will allow employment of skilled foreign workers in the agricultural sector in special zones, in a bid to ease the labour shortage in the country.

"We have decided to add the employment of foreign workers in the agricultural sector... to the menu for strategic special zones," Xinhua news agency quoted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as saying on Monday at a meeting of an advisory council on national strategic special zones.

The strategic special zones are in north-eastern Akita prefecture, eastern Ibaraki prefecture, central Aichi prefecture and south-western Nagasaki prefecture.

Foreign applicants are required to have a certain level of skills and should be able to communicate in Japanese to a certain degree.

In the special zones, skilled foreign workers will be paid at least at the same level as Japanese workers doing the same job.

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