0711 GMT February 20, 2019
A total of 13 officials to help the integration of foreigners into Japan will be assigned to eight regional immigration bureaus and three district immigration offices under the new agency, asahi.com reported.
With the assignment, the ministry is aiming to heighten measures for a harmonious coexistence between foreigners and Japanese citizens in cooperation with local governments, they said.
It will mark the first time that the central government will assign officials who specialize in those kinds of integration measures.
The number of foreigners who live in Japan is expected to increase after a new work visa system takes effect from April, following a revision to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law in December.
So far, the government has left many of the measures for improving the environment for foreigners assimilating into society to local governments. The 13 officials will play central roles in implementing those measures.
Concretely speaking, the officials will gather information on measures taken by local governments in their areas and introduce effective measures to other local governments.
If local governments need support from the central government, the officials will facilitate coordination between local governments and the concerned ministries and agencies. The officials will also accept petitions and consultations from local governments.
The officials will be assigned to eight regional immigration bureaus in Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Takamatsu, Hiroshima and Fukuoka and three district immigration offices in Yokohama, Kobe and Naha.
Two officials will be assigned to each of the bureaus in Tokyo and Nagoya. The other bureaus and the three district offices will have one official each.
The ministry will assign its officials to the 13 posts in the initial stages. In the future, however, it will also assign to the posts local government officials who have know-how on those measures.
The ministry will also set up two sections in the immigration control agency. One will coordinate with other ministries and agencies concerned. The other will share information with the 13 officials and offer them support.
As for measures for foreigners to smoothly assimilate into society, the government worked out comprehensive measures in December 2006.
Since then, the government has undertaken these measures with the Cabinet Secretariat serving as the coordinator.
However, there has been much criticism that those measures have failed to produce sufficient results. Therefore, the government compiled comprehensive measures in late 2018 at the same time as the immigration control law was revised.