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外国人労働者 活用策を幅広く議論する時だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun 6:45 pm, April 21, 2014
In-depth discussions needed over hiring of more foreign workers
外国人労働者 活用策を幅広く議論する時だ

With the shrinking of this country’s workforce as a result of the rapid graying of society and the chronically low birthrate, Japan now faces the major challenge of meeting the nation’s manpower needs to ensure its society remains vigorous.
 少子高齢化で、働く世代の人口は減り続けている。社会の活力を維持するため、労働力の確保は大きな課題である。

Under the circumstances, the government has begun studying the effective use of foreign workers in such sectors as construction and nursing care services. The first issue to be taken up is significantly increasing the number of foreign workers in the construction industry.
 政府は建設、介護などの分野で外国人労働者の活用策の検討を始めた。
第1弾は、建設業での外国人の受け入れ拡充だ。

With the sharp rise in demand for construction related to facilities for the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, the industry is expected to face acute manpower shortages.
 建設業界は、2020年東京五輪・パラリンピックに向けて施設の建築需要が急増し、大幅な人手不足が予想される。

Regarding the plan for accepting technical trainees from developing countries—the Industrial Trainee and Technical Internship Program—the government plans to extend the period of stay for trainees in this country to up to six years, from the current three years, if they work in the construction industry. The planned extension will be temporary, effective from fiscal 2015 until the opening of the Tokyo Olympics. The step appears to be a last-ditch, stopgap measure to cope with the extreme shortage of construction workers.
 政府は開発途上国から受け入れる外国人技能実習制度について、在留できる期間を3年から最長6年に延長する方針を決めた。15年度から五輪開催までの時限措置とする。労働力不足の急場をしのぐ苦肉の策と言えよう。

In regard to the government-backed foreign trainee program, a slew of instances involving violations of the Labor Standards Law have been reported, including nonpayment of wages. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry must bolster surveillance procedures to crack down on wrongful labor practices.
 技能実習制度を巡っては、賃金不払いなど労働基準法違反の事例が相次いでいる問題がある。厚生労働省は、不正の監視を強化しなければならない。

Labor shortages are also serious in the nursing care service sector. Due to the graying of society, the number of nursing care workers across the country should be increased by 1 million by 2025, according to a government estimate.
 介護分野の人手不足も深刻だ。急速な高齢化に伴い、政府推計では、25年までに介護職員を100万人増やす必要があるという。

However, the foreign nursing care workers accepted by this country have been strictly limited to people from such countries as Indonesia who come to Japan with the aim of acquiring qualifications as certified welfare workers under economic partnership agreements between Japan and these countries. The number of people who passed certification examinations totaled about 240 since the start of the program in fiscal 2008, far short of making up for the labor shortage.
 経済連携協定(EPA)に基づき、外国人の介護労働は、インドネシアなどから介護福祉士の資格取得を目指して来日する場合に限られている。これまでの試験合格者は約240人に過ぎず、人手不足の解消にはほど遠い。

Boost working conditions

Without opening the door wider for foreigners with vocational skills, the future rise in demand for labor can never be met. The government should study the feasibility of adopting a new vocational certification examination system.
 一定の技能を持つ外国人に門戸を広げなければ、今後の需要はまかなえない。新たな技能検定試験なども検討してもらいたい。

It is also essential for the government to help foreigners who wish to work here as nursing care workers to improve their Japanese-language capabilities, as communication in Japanese is indispensable in the field.
 介護に不可欠なコミュニケーション能力を高めるため、政府は介護職員を志す外国人への日本語学習支援にも力を入れるべきだ。

One major factor behind the labor shortages in the construction and nursing care sectors may be because young Japanese who find employment in these businesses tend to quit their jobs very soon. This is mainly because wages in these sectors are lower than in other industries, making young workers worried about making long-term plans for the future.
 建設や介護分野の人手不足の背景には、就職した若者が定着しない問題も指摘できる。賃金が他の産業に比べて低く、将来の生活設計を描きづらい事情がある。

As long as companies remain dependent on cheap labor from overseas, wage levels of these firms are bound to remain static, and as a result they will continue to be unable to secure sufficient workers. It is vitally important for them to improve working conditions for Japanese workers, such as by introducing a regular wage raise system and a framework conducive to enhancing their vocational careers.
 安上がりな外国人労働者に頼ろうとする限り、賃金水準は向上せず、人手も確保できない。昇給制度など待遇改善やキャリア形成の仕組みを整えることが大切だ。

The government has hammered out a policy of encouraging women and the elderly to find employment. In sectors where there is still a labor shortage despite this policy, the government must come up with steps to make better use of labor from abroad.
 政府は女性や高齢者の就労促進を打ち出している。それでも不足する分野の労働力として外国人を活用する方策を考えるべきだ。

If foreign workers can be employed to do housework, the ratio of women joining the nation’s workforce will increase.
 家事支援に外国人を受け入れれば、女性の就業率をアップさせる効果も期待できよう。

There are now about 700,000 foreign workers in the country. Considering the possibility of cultural friction between foreign workers and Japanese and the impact on the nation’s public security, foreign workers should not be brought into the country in a haphazard manner.
 現在、外国人労働者は約70万人に上るが、文化的な摩擦や治安への影響を考えると、無秩序に増やすことはできまい。

How should foreign workers be brought into this country and how should they be utilized? The time is ripe for the government and private sector to discuss these matters extensively.
 外国人労働者をどう受け入れ、どう活用するか。官民で幅広く議論する時期に来ている。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 21, 2014)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2014-04-23 07:53 | 英字新聞

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