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Turkey expresses disappointment over Japan’s new visa system

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Ankara voiced disappointment with a new visa system in Japan that will not accept unskilled blue-collar workers from Turkey, the Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday, according to the state-run Anadolu agency.

In a statement Hami Aksoy said Turkey was among the countries whose workers will not be accepted by Japan under a new law that will introduce new visa categories for foreign workers starting from April.

In November of last year the Japanese Cabinet approved a bill that would regulate the country’s immigration by creating new visa types for foreign nationals. The law will enter into force in April.

“This situation does not reflect the spirit of deep-rooted and friendly relations and the strategic partnership between our countries,” Aksoy said.

He added that the decision should be revised “as soon as possible.”

“In this regard, the Japanese ambassador to Turkey [Akio Miyajima] was summoned to the ministry and our concerns were expressed to him,” Aksoy added.

Tokyo has created a new visa system to attract foreign workers into its labor-hungry sectors — including construction, farming and nursing care — due to an aging population and falling birthrate, according to the Japan Times daily.

The introduction of the system represents a major change for the country, which had effectively granted working visas only to people with professional knowledge and high skill levels, such as doctors, lawyers and teachers.

The number of foreign workers in Japan has tripled over the past decade to a record 1.46 million as of October, according to the ministry.

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