ABU DHABI, 9th March 2016 (WAM) — Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party is to set up a panel to consider allowing more foreign people to work in the country, officials said on Tuesday, in a move designed to address labour shortages stemming from an aging society, Japan Times reported today.

Labour shortages are especially serious in sectors such as nursing and medical care, agriculture and construction. The LDP panel, scheduled to hold its first meeting on 15th March, plans to come up with recommendations for the government as early as next month.

A revised immigration law took effect last year, allowing foreign nationals in managerial positions at Japanese companies and those with advanced knowledge and skills to stay in the country. The LDP panel will consider further deregulation measures to let in more foreign workers, the paper said.

However, the panel is unlikely to support allowing immigrants to enter the country out of concerns that such a move will threaten Japanese jobs, sources told the paper.

There are about 910,000 foreign workers in Japan as of October, according to the Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry.

The proportion of foreign nationals to the total workforce is less than two percent in Japan, far lower than 10 percent in Europe and 16 percent in the United States, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

WAM/MMYS/Moran