Japan invites Bruneians into its workforce as the nation battles manpower shortage

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Workers in business suits waiting in rush hour on crossroad in Shinjuku business district, Tokyo, Japan.

Analisa Amu

The Japanese government is encouraging young Bruneians to seek employment opportunities and experience in Japan as the nation seeks to address manpower shortage caused by an aging population, its top envoy in the sultanate said.

Japanese Ambassador to Brunei Motohiko Kato in a lecture held at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) said the country faces a “pressing” issue of a shrinking working population.

“Japanese businesses are struggling to expand domestically due to limited labour forces,” said the ambassador.

He further mentioned that due to that, the government of Japan is trying to achieve three things for the betterment of its economy and workforce.

Japanese Ambassador to Brunei Motohiko Kato. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Firstly, the nation is encouraging women to play more active role in the labour market; secondly, to extend working age until the age of 70; and lastly, to allow more foreign nationals to work in the country.

“We accept those with the right skills and good educational background. Japanese government needs a variety of influences, different approaches and culture in order for its businesses to go global so as to balance the lack of domestic growth,” he said.

The ambassador also said it is not necessary for one to be fluent in speaking Japanese to work in the country.

“Combine your language skills with an in-depth understanding of the Japanese culture and people then you will be highly valued by the Japanese people including your potential employers,” he said, adding that Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) is a recognised university in Japan.

Japanese companies practice the ‘Kaizen’ principle which means continuous improvement and this serves as a great way for employees to grow and stay motivated in the company, the envoy said.

It also encourages employees to present ideas on how to improve their work environment and enhance their productivity, said Ambassador Kato.

The one-hour Language Learning and Career Development lecture was attended by students and lecturers of UBD.

The ambassador also talked about his previous diplomatic experience in countries such as the US, UK, France and Afghanistan as well as emphasising that language is not just a tool to talk but to understand a country’s history, culture, religion and customs.

The Bruneian