Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe answers a question during a press conference at the prime minister's official residence, Dec 10, 2018, in Tokyo. (EUGENE HOSHIKO / AP)
TOKYO — Support rate for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet declined in December, as the majority of respondents were opposed to the National Diet's passage of a Bill to accept more foreign workers, according to a Kyodo News poll released Sunday.
According to the nationwide opinion poll conducted over the weekend, the approval rating stood at 42.4 percent, dropping by 4.9 percent compared to the previous survey in early November.
The foreign labor Bill cleared the upper house on Dec 8 and will take effect from April 2019, allowing blue-collar workers in sectors facing a labor crunch to obtain two new categories of visas
Meanwhile, the disapproval rate for the cabinet increased by 4.6 percent to reach 44.1 percent, exceeding the support rate for the first time since the poll in May.
Among 1,035 respondents, 65.8 percent voted against the Diet's approval of the Bill to accept up to 345,150 foreign blue-collar workers over five years to address labor shortage.
Only 24.8 percent were in favor of the decision for concerns that the hastily crafted Bill lacked details and may expose the workers to exploitation.
The Bill cleared the upper house on Dec 8 and will take effect from April 2019. Blue-collar workers in sectors facing a labor crunch will be able to obtain two new categories of visas.
One category allows workers to stay for up to five years without bringing relatives. More skilled workers in specific areas can stay in Japan for more than five years after renewing licenses and are allowed to bring family members.
While 56.6 percent of the surveyed said Japan is in need of more foreign workers in labor-short industries, more than half of them said they are against the Abe administration's move to put the Bill to a vote in the extraordinary Diet session earlier in December.
HONG KONG NEWS