Tokyo : The warm chemistry between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, is seemingly set to blow in a job windfall for tens of thousands of skilled but unemployed Indians. Going by the buzz in top government circles, particularly in the Skills Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry, about one lakh Indian youths are set to board planes to Tokyo in phases to be part of the skilled workforce for the 2020 Olympic Games.
Japan’s barriers to foreign labour are falling by the wayside as preparations for the mega sports event threaten to exacerbate the worst shortage of construction workers in almost 20 years. So, to start with, a group of 10,000 young workers from India will arrive in Tokyo soon under the Skill Development Ministry’s Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) with Japan’s International Training Cooperation Organization (JITCO). Subsequently, more batches would be sent as per the demand raised by Japanese companies and receiving organizations in Tokyo, said a senior Skill Development Ministry official.
Apart from the Olympics, many Indian youths may get a chance to work in the bullet train factories and on construction sites as well as management of high-speed corridors. The same workforce when back in India, can be accommodated on key Japanese projects here, assuring them a stable job and income based on their skills and exposure gained. With Japan largely having an ageing population, there is a huge requirement to handle jobs in key sectors in the run-up to the Olympics.
Japan lost people due to calamities
Part of the problem relates to the workforce, which fell as Japan lost nearly a million people between its 2010 and 2015 national censuses. The population now stands at about 127 million people. China had to train its youth for three years to learn English and handle tourists and visitors for the 2008 Beijing Games.
Japan wants to be prepared with its best skills at hand and on time, a characteristic of the country. Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy sees the joint initiative as a game-changer. “The Prime Minister’s dream to make India skilled at par with global standards is set to take wings with our youth getting the best of opportunities to convert their training into jobs in foreign land like that of Japan and enhance their skills to earn a modest living,” he said.
The Perfectionist Work Culture
“It is a golden opportunity for our youth to enhance their skills and work in high-technology-enabled environments under this initiative between the two nations.” The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as a sending organization is working closely with the ministry to facilitate and ensure the success of the programme to make India’s youth globally employable. Sources added the initiative has just begun and will be on for some years under the Indo-Japan sustained economic cooperation programme. Mail Today has learnt that Japan was not “happy with the workforce it was getting from SAARC countries and Southeast Asia”.
India was sounded off about the demand and ministries like Skills, Labour and Commerce latched on to this opportunity to take the mission to a new level – training and jobs in a foreign country. Since Shinzo Abe came to power at the end of 2012, the number of foreigners living in Japan has risen by almost 10% to 2.2 million, with the number of “technical interns” rising 27% and the number of foreign students up 36%. However, the Skills Ministry has specifically directed to go for skilled and educated workforce to deliver on the Japanese “perfectionist work culture”‘ demands so that more and more workers continue to reach Tokyo over the next few years.
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