Labour shortage

Given Japan’s projected population decline and ageing society, it is anticipated that the current shortage of available labour will continue, severely impacting the logistics sector as expansion of e-commerce drives up demand. The logistics sector is especially vulnerable as many of the long-haul drivers it employs have reached or are reaching retirement age. In order to continue meeting the demand for logistics services, it is important that the Government puts in place practical strategies to improve the availability of labour in the short- and medium-term. The EBC appreciates the various initiatives put forward by the Government. However, many of them do not quite hit the target but are held back by limitations either in scope or by administrative restrictions. There is a particular concern around the short-term challenge, since potential solutions such as the use of new technologies, including autonomous driving. and increased use of automation in freight handling will only become available in the long term. From 2024, the legislation will change so that drivers will not be able to work for more than eight consecutive hours.


  • Japan should ease its visa requirements to allow foreign temporary labour, particularly during peak periods of demand, such as Golden Week and around the end of the year.
  • Japan should make it easier for logistics companies to use the Technical Intern Trainee Program.
  • The authorities should support companies in setting up childcare provision, including through access to training and certification for childcare workers, to facilitate the employment of women in the sector.
  • Japan should promote the importance of the logistics sector to encourage more female participation.
  • As the issue with labour shortage is shared by Europe and Japan, the two economies should work closer on this issue.