The agriculture industry in Japan is one of the most important in the country, and also one that is currently facing the most severe cases of the labour shortage. With fields located primarily in rural Japan and far away from the city, employing capable workers has become a challenge as more and more young people flock to the city in search of other opportunities. It is for this reason that the government expects to invite up to 36,500 workers in 5 years to offset the burden currently faced by the agricultural industry.
There are 2 major work categories in the agriculture industry that candidates may be assigned to, which will determine the work activities that will be carried out. These 2 categories are:
Work pertaining to protected horticulture and the planting and cultivation of domestic vegetables and fruit fall under this category. Some examples of products include wheat and barley, beans, root vegetables such as sweet potato and Japanese radish, tea, as well as common vegetables and fruit such as cucumber, cabbages, apples, peaches and so on.
Workers will be involved in the whole cultivation process of crops, such as planting, and watering, to picking and harvesting for transport. However, activities are not limited to the above and depending on the employer, the worker may also be assigned other tasks such as processing, transporting, and selling produce.
Activities relating to the rearing of livestock such as pigs, chickens, and cows fall under this category. Workers will primarily care for the animals, and also produce animal feed and clean up animal living areas. Similar to the previous category, work will not be limited to direct caring of livestock. Workers may also work in processing animal products such as meat and milk, as well as packaging, transporting, and selling produce. While this may sound like a lot of work, the law actually mandates that once a worker is assigned a primary activity, that activity must take up over half of the worker’s overall working time. For example, if someone’s main activity is assigned as vegetable cultivation, they will plant, water, and harvest vegetables at least 50% of their working time. They may carry out related activities such as harvesting fruit or processing crop into other products sometimes, while other activities such as packaging and transport will only be done occasionally (less than 1/3 of total working time).
An entry-level Specified Skilled Worker 1 (Tokutei Ginou 1) can seek employment in the agriculture field after they have passed 2 tests:
Those who have experience in the industry and have completed their term as a Specified Skilled Worker 2 will not be required to take the tests before applying.
Find the calendar information testshere
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