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Oct 10, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

The Japanese government is currently weighing whether or not to relax residency requirements for international students studying anime, design and culinary professions, according to a report from The Japan Times. The aim? To make it easier for graduates in these fields to find work after graduating. Here’s a closer look at the proposal, along with why experts say the change is necessary.

Supporting Japan’s Content Industry

As the country aims to boost Japanese culture abroad, securing the right talent is a critical part of the equation, say experts. Enter the requested changes to residency requirements. Currently, residency status is necessary for international graduates -- a status dependent on whether or not “they can make use of the specialized knowledge and techniques they acquired at vocational schools or universities in Japan,” says The Japan Times.

Broadening the Scope

However, residency status for working is limited to jobs requiring higher professional skills, a scenario which insiders say is detrimental to content industry workers who may have less complicated roles and responsibilities as they enter the workforce. Because of this, the government is evaluating whether to grant permissions lasting for up to two years as long as an employment plan is submitted.

In addition to changing residency requirements, the Japanese government is also considering extending the length of time international students can stay while seeking work in Japan. Currently, graduates have just six months to find jobs, but experts say this is not long enough given their simultaneous commitment to graduation projects.

Wondering about the timeline for these possible changes? The soonest the new residency requirements will go into effect will be late next year, following a research period in which the government will survey entities from both industry and academia to determine the best course of action.

Read more about studying in Japan.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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