Japan’s parliament has approved a controversial new law allowing thousands of foreigners into the country to ease labour shortages.
From next April foreigners will be allowed to take up jobs in sectors such construction, farming and nursing.
Japan has traditionally been wary of immigration but the government says more foreigners are needed because of Japan’s ageing population.
Opposition parties say the law risks exposing newcomers to exploitation.
Under the new system, more than 300,000 foreigners could be allowed to work in sectors facing a labour crunch.
The law creates two new visa categories.
Workers in the first category will be allowed in for five years if they have a certain level of skill and some proficiency in Japanese.
Workers with a higher level of skills would qualify for the second visa category and will eventually be allowed to apply for residency.
Meanwhile, the opposition has argued that an influx of foreign workers will depress wages and lead to exploitation of migrant labour.