Under Memorandum of Cooperation, 14 sectors will be opened up for Pakistan’s workforce
Pakistan and Japan on Monday signed a Memorandum of Cooperation that would allow skilled Pakistani workers to secure employment in the East Asian island nation.
Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Secretary Aamir Hasan and Japanese Ambassador to Pakistan Kuninori Matsuda inked the agreement, which envisages opening up 14 Japanese sectors for Pakistan’s workers, including construction, information technology, nursing, manufacturing and engineering. “We need to sign this framework to hire Pakistani labor,” announced the Japanese ambassador at the signing, “as Japan is currently facing a serious shortage of workers due to an aging society and shrinking population.”
He said Japan was currently developing a new work visa policy as it expected to welcome around 340,000 skilled workers from across the world, including Pakistan, to make up shortfalls in its domestic labor market.
“I always feel happy to bring good news when it comes to Japan-Pakistan relations, but today is truly special as the signing of this MoC is definitely a big step in the promotion of ties between Pakistan and Japan,” said the ambassador. He said the framework decided in the agreement would not only provide job opportunities for skilled Pakistanis, but would also create new vistas for robust bilateral cooperation. Under this framework, said Matsuda, there would also be greater opportunities for Japanese companies to invest in Pakistan, and vice versa.
The ambassador encouraged Pakistanis to learn the Japanese language, saying this would significantly boost their employment potential. He said education was a key sector that Tokyo wished to help Islamabad with, adding the Japanese embassy would create a network of Japanese language programs to encourage people-to-people exchanges and help students that wished to pursue studies in Japan.
Speaking at the event, secretary Hasan said Pakistan had, up till now, only sent 1,600 workers to Japan through the Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment. “The signing of this MoC would formalize export of Pakistani manpower,” he added.
Hasan said around 96 percent of the manpower currently exported by Pakistan was to Gulf nations. He said Islamabad hoped to diversify this, adding the memorandum would surely help, as Tokyo was destined to be a potential market for the Pakistani workforce.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari said the inking of the agreement was a groundbreaking moment for both Pakistan and Japan, as it would foster relations between the two nations. “Both countries have similar culture and sublime values, especially toward the elderly,” he said, adding he hoped this would help Pakistanis wishing to seek employment in Japan.
Bukhari said the memorandum was a great boon for both countries, as while Japan was facing an aging population, 65 percent of Pakistan’s population was under 35. “We will provide you our best quality workforce,” he said, as he urged Japanese officials to ensure the best care for Pakistanis in their country.
The Overseas Pakistanis ministry would help skilled workers learn Japanese to ensure the maximum number of Pakistanis could avail employment opportunities in Japan, Bukhari added.
Japan’s Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs Sonoura Kentaro told the signing ceremony that Pakistan and Japan had established good relations for the last 70 years. He said Japan wished to further enhance ties between the two countries.