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June 22, 2004

Working Holiday Losing Appeal

Fewer people from Australia, New Zealand and Canada are taking advantage of the working holiday visa agreement with Japan. According to the Japan Association for Working Holiday Makers, one big reason is a perceived drop in wages for English teachers as the industry becomes more competitive. It also mentions the prolonged economic slump and the continuing high cost of living here. The visa program dates back to 1980 and currently allows people between the ages of 18 and 30 from the above countries as well as South Korea, France, Germany and England to live and work in Japan for a year. But compared to the record numbers set in the early 1990s, the number of visas issued in Australia, New Zealand and Canada have dropped by 50-75% - the total for the three countries in 2003 was just 2,218 people. Meanwhile, record numbers of young Japanese are making use of the program to work in those countries. In 2003, the number of visas issued here was 20,917, up 2.5% from the previous year and the fourth increase in a row. (

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