Faced with rising unemployment, Japan is paying foreign workers to leave the nation for good, the New York Times reports. The offer targets some 366,000 Latin Americans of Japanese descent who perform undesirable manufacturing jobs. With industrial production at a 25-year low, many of them are out of work, and lawmakers say the controversial idea will ease pressure on Japan’s strained labor markets.
At least 100 workers have already agreed to take the $3,000—plus $2,000 for each dependent—and repatriate. “We can’t afford to stay here much longer,” reasons a teary-eyed former auto worker. Critics say the plan is short-sighted and undoes what little progress the closed-door nation has made in opening its borders. “It’s baffling,” says a sociologist. “This is an insult to the community.”