500,000 visitors from Japan expected
Tokyo – Inflow of Japanese tourists into the Philippines could reach 500,000 this year from over 400,000 in 2013 even as more Filipino workers are finding their way into Japan’s labor market changing Philippines’ presence from the entertainer-type of labor to the more skilled engineers, IT workers and English teachers.
Philippine Tourism Attache to Japan Valentino L. Cabansag said during the Philippine Airline delegation’s call on Philippine Ambassador Manuel Lopez (NAME) that the resumption of PAL’s Manila-Haneda flights last March 30 is going to beef up more exchanges between the two countries.
There were a total of 209,000 Filipinos in Japan as of 2012 mostly permanent residents by virtue of their marriage to Japanese nationals. But the mix has been changing from the entertainer era to the more skilled Filipinos.
As of 2012, there were already 9,000 Filipino trainees in Japan from various industry sectors under the technical internship program of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
The figure has been growing rapidly as Japanese firms prefer Filipinos over Chinese because of the Filipinos work ethics and facility of the English language.
The Philippines is also its source of English instructors and engineers with the Philippines becoming Japan’s source of English instruction.
Ambassador Lopez said that after the earthquake and tsunami calamities in Japan, Filipino workers prefer to continue working while other foreign workers were preoccupied with leaving their employers immediately.
Lopez said that 75 percent of the embassies in Tokyo employ Filipino cooks and drivers.
The Philippines is Japan’s third largest source of foreign worker. The biggest are China and Korea.
With the improved frequencies of PAL flights to Tokyo, a total of 11 in a week, there would be more Filipinos traveling to Japan and Japanese vacationing in the Philippines.
PAL’s Haneda service and a weakening of the Japanese yen against the dollar, more Filipinos would be able to spend their holidays here than in Bangkok or Hong Kong.
Political development in Bangkok is also driving Filipinos to look for other destinations.
“With political issues, we are now the favorite, especially that the aging population of Japan is becoming more pronounced,” he said.
The grant of multiple, longer-term Japanese visa to Filipinos is also attracting more Filipinos into Japan. There are 600,000 Chinese workers in Japan and 400,000 Koreans.
Lopez also noted that Japan will continue to hire more Filipinos because they need to because of its huge manpower requirement to undertake projects for its hosting of the 2020 Olympic.