Japan's Cabinet has adopted an economic plan that would allow more foreign workers as the rapidly aging country seeks to make up for its declining workforce.
The plan, approved by the Cabinet on Friday, relaxes visa requirements in sectors facing severe labor shortages such as nursing care, agriculture, construction and transport.
The workers would be allowed to stay in the country for only up to five years as visitors, not as immigrants.
The decision underscores Japan's need to fill its labor shortage, forcing it to put aside its reluctance to accept outsiders.
The number of foreign workers in Japan has nearly doubled over the past five years to 1.28 million last year. The basic economic plan for 2018 needs parliamentary approval before it can take effect.