Japan asks for more SI workers

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By Mike Puia

JAPAN has indicated its eagerness to recruit more locals to work in Japan.

In a press conference yesterday, Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela said he had a meeting with Japan’s parliamentary vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Iwao Horii, and they discussed a new bilateral agreement on labour mobility.

Prime Minister Hou has just returned from the 49th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) meeting in Nauru.

He called the conference to provide an update on the meetings he had whilst attending the PIF meeting.

Hou said Japan is in shortage of labour and it is keen to get locals to work in its construction and hospitality sector.

He said currently they are working on an agreement that would pave the way for this to happen.

“The new agreement on labour mobility with Japan will be ready in the coming weeks for signing,” the Prime Minister said.

He said Japan is interested to recruit people who already undergo training in tertiary learning centres like Rural Training Centres (RTCs), the Solomon Islands National University and Don Bosco.

PM Hou said locals who are selected will not train in Japan but work.

He said companies in Japan that are interested to recruit locals will request the number of workers it needed and those selected based on criteria will go straight and do internship and language before they commenced work.

“In fact, Japan plead to get people in thousands and thousands,” Prime Minister Hou said.

He said youths who missed out in secondary schools will have the chance when this program took off the ground.

PM Hou said it is clear from the labour mobility agreement this country signed with Australia that this country is disorganised.

He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade has been tasked to ensure this country is organised to take advantage of these agreements.

Hou confirmed part of the government’s effort to get this country organised is an expansion to be done to the MFAET.

He said a Technical Advisor from New Zealand is putting a framework on what needs to be done.

Part of the country’s preparation is a plan to host a labour mobility conference in Honiara next month.

Prime Minister Hou said all preparations should be completed this year so that by next year the country reaped the benefits of the labour mobility schemes it has with other countries.

It is going to be a huge conference and first of its kind. Pacific leaders are expected to attend this conference.

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