By Shams Abbasi

ISLAMABAD (APP) – Pakistan and Japan have agreed to  negotiate on signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for export thousands of skilled labor from Pakistan to Japan.

Japan has decided to open its labor market in 14 different sectors including construction, nursing care, agriculture, manufacturing, light engineering and other sectors, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission at embassy of Japan in Pakistan Yusuke Shindo told APP.

The senior diplomat hoped that the MoU could be signed between the two countries in November.

He said Japan intended to attract up to 500,000 blue-collar workers from all over the world by 2025 and further enhance the number by 2030.

This law, which took effect in April this year, creates two new categories of visas for blue-collar workers in 14 sectors as Japan faces labor crunch.

He said that Japan has opened doors for foreign workers of different countries to undertake a policy initiative to alleviate problems caused by its rapidly growing old population, aging above 60 years.

“We need to import skilled labor from the Pakistan India , Sri lanka ,Bangladesh and other member countries of Association of South East Asian Nations,” he said.

He also lauded the Pakistani skilled workers in Japan, who were working with full commitment and honesty.

The senior diplomat added that professional skills and proficiency in Japanese language would be a must under the policy.

He said in the past, many foreign workers could not stay permanently in Japan due to lack of language proficiency, cultural gaps, training costs and mismatch of skills.

He said Japan and Pakistan enjoyed historical, diplomatic and economic relations, where Japan always supported Pakistan in every situation.

Yusuke Shindo said Japan’s major exports to Pakistan included automobiles, flat steel, tractors and transport, while the imports are mainly in agriculture including cotton yarn, oils, knitwear’s, cotton fabric and woven cotton fabric.

He said both sides had immense potential to increase bilateral trade from current volume and double the figure.

He said Pakistan needed to enhance competitiveness in its exports to compete in international market and to lower the issue of balance of payments.

To a question, he said Japanese companies were interested to establish the industrial units of auto-parts in Pakistan.

He said Japanese experts were also ready to train local agriculture worker for value addition and to establish the agro-industry in Pakistan.

The senior diplomat said Pakistan has proposed and wanted to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to have more access to both potential markets.

He informed that before negotiating the FTA, both sides discussed terms to lower the tariff line of potential trade items.