ASICS Men's Gel Noosa Tri 9 Running Shoe Farruq Fahlevi, left, and Muhamad Irvan Gustian, both from Indonesia, work on a farm harvesting cabbages in Ibaraki Prefecture. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)
Cover Story

Famous for its resistance to immigration, Japan opens its doors

Number of foreign workers doubles in five years as nation faces labor crisis

Buy Cheap Mens Nike Kobe 8 2014 Black Purple,Asics Gel Super J33 running gym trainers UK 9.5 Green flash/ silver,Buy Cheap Nike Kobe 9 2014 Low Black White Yellow Mens Shoes,. Along with a group of Japanese colleagues, they will spend the day moving heavy wooden pilings and pouring concrete for the foundation of a seven-story condominium block. 

It is demanding work, Buy Cheap Nike Lebron 12 2015 Green Black Mens Shoes,Asics T306N GEL-Noosa Tri 8 Men's Running Shoes Black multicolor neon Size 14 M,Cheap Nike Kyrie 1 2015 Grey Red Basketball Shoes Sale,.

"I've chosen the construction industry because the work involves lots of communication and helps improve my Japanese," Hoang said, in fluent Japanese. He eventually wants to work as a translator in Japan, and hopes that his fiancee will be able to join him there one day.

His employer, Cheap Sale Online Air Jordan 9 IX Retro Mens Shoes On Sale Black Yellow,Brand New: Men's Asics Gel Kayano 22 - US 9,Discount Nike Air Max 1 Men's Running Shoe Maroon/Black-Whiteest,, said trainees like Hoang are indispensable for his company of 32. "Foreign trainees learn faster than Japanese," Maeda said. "They are more serious, more hardworking, and take fewer days off. They are keen to learn and work hard for money. For Sale Online Nike Air Max 97 Mens Shoes Blue White,Men's Size 10 Asics Gel Respector Navy Sand H5X2L 5005,Hot Sell Cheap For Sale Nike Dunk High Cut Mens Shoes Fur Inside for Winter Red Black,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Men's Air Max Lebron VIII Shoes in 24097,ASICS GEL-KAYANO 20 Running Shoe T3N2N-9099 BLK/ONYX/BLK,New Nike Air Max 2015 Mens Shoes Black Red Blue,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Nike Air Force other Women Blu Vietnamese trainee Dang Ngoc Hoang works at a building site in Tokyo. With Japan's construction workforce rapidly aging, new sources of labor are needed. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

The demand for construction workers is intensifying before the 2020 Olympics, Newest Nike Hyperdunks 2015 TB All Star Shoes Purple Red Mens Basketball Sneakers High Top Cheap Sale,ASICS GEL-SPOTLYTE 'ISIAH THOMAS' BASKETBALL SHOES BLACK PURPLE H419L 9030,Nike Air Jordan 3 III Cement Mens Shoes White Grey Blue,, the program has boomed in recent years -- and is one reason that the number of foreign workers in Japan has nearly quadrupled over the last decade.

Nike Air Jordan I 1 Retro Mens Shoes Low Grey White,Asics GT-2000 Men's Medium Width Athletic Running Training Shoes T2K2N,Nike Air Max 2013 New Releases Shoes for Kids Red,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Nike Air Max 90 Hyperfuse PRM Mens Shoes White Green,NEW MENS ASICS GT-1000 V4 GEL RUNNING SHOES TRAINERS SILVER / ELECTRIC 4E XWIDE,Nike Air Max 95 360 Mens Shoes Wire Drawing White Grey,.

Without fanfare, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has steadily loosened Japan's once tightly controlled visa policy, resulting in an almost doubling of the number of foreign workers in Japan to 1.28 million over the last five years. In its latest move, Abe's government is expected to create a new class of  five-year work permits for unskilled workers in hopes of attracting more than 500,000 new overseas workers by 2025. The new guidelines, to be finalized in June, will ease language requirements for foreign workers in construction, Nike Air Max LeBron XI Basketball Shoes For Men in 96553,SIZE? x ASICS GEL LYTE III "TSAVORITE" Silver Green 3M 25th Anniversary,Nike Air Max TN I Mens Shoes green dark white,.

Nike Shoes 807 Women Royal Blu

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Nike Air Max TN VIII Mens Shoes black white,Nike Air Force 1 Shoes Mens Navy White Grey N71438,Nike Barkley Posite Max For Men in 77570,. "My government has no intention of adopting a so-called immigration policy," Abe said in February.

Yet the total number of foreign residents in Japan has grown 20% in the last three years, reaching 2.6 million in 2017, or 2% of the total population. In Tokyo, one in eight residents who came of age this year were foreigners.

"Anyone wandering around Japan, from Hokkaido to Tokyo to Okinawa, knows that there is growing diversity in schools and the workplace," said Jeff Kingston, a professor at Temple University Japan. "Nike Foam Posites Size 14 and 15 For Men in 62643,Nike Air Max 1 Leather Premium Shoes Mens Dark Camo Black N50768,Nike Free Trainer 3.0 Mens Shoes Black,."

Asics Gel Kayano 22 Running Women's Shoes Size Foreign workers have become a part of everyday life in Japan, yet public debate on immigration remains limited. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

While foreign workers are now part of everyday life in Japan -- making ready-to-eat foods in convenience stores, growing fruits and vegetables on farms and sorting packages for delivery companies -- public debate has been limited.Nike Kobe VII(6) in 16236,Nike Air Pegasus 83/30 Shoes Mens Platinum Grey White Red N76322,Nike LeBron XI GS Glaxy For Men in 99359,. As a result, Abe's position -- despite its apparent contradictions -- has faced no strong pushback from the public or politicians yet.

Many Japanese look at the deep divisions in the West over immigration and conclude that a more open policy should be avoided. Yet the steady relaxation of migration rules has not led to the social fissures seen elsewhere.

"Nike Mercurial Victory IV Indoor Soccer Boots purple fluorescent green,Nike Benassi Jdi Print Slippers Mens Navy Black Royal Silver N69797,Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Shoes in 24450,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Nike Zoom Kobe VI(6) For Men in 60972,Nike Hurley One And Only Flip Flops Mens Black N10544,Popular Mercurial Veloce Ag Blue Volt Blue,," Kingston said.

With Japan facing its tightest labor market in decades, the business community would like Abe to go further. The unemployment rate stands at 2.5%, the lowest level in 25 years. There are now 1.59 jobs for every job seeker, the highest ratio since 1974.

Nike Dunk Sky Hi Sneakerboot Womens Dark Dark Grey Red N50814

Given Japan's demographics -- it is the world's oldest advanced economy -- the labor shortage is only going to intensify. The nation's working-age population, defined as those aged between 15 and 64, is expected to decrease more than 40% to 45 million over the next 50 years. By contrast, those aged 75 or older, dubbed the "super-elderly," are projected to make up more than a quarter of the population.

Cabbages and car parts

To Buy For Sale Nike Air Max 90 Men Shoes Online White Black Red,Nike Jordan Eclipse Leather "London" Shoes Mens Dark Obsidian Blue Grey Light Red N49385,Wholesale Air Max TN I Mens Shoes red black,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Nike Air Max 95 Deluxe QS Black/Antarctica/Catalina/Team Orange Running Shoes for MAN,Nike Killshot Vintage Vintage Shoes Mens White Light Brown White Black N95839,PUMA XS 850 Plus Buttercup Running Shoes for MAN,, the government's trainee program has allowed them to hold on to their livelihoods.

Among them is Kota Hirohara, 56, who raises cabbages on his small farm. On a recent May day, two Indonesian trainees were harvesting Hirohara's cabbages by hand with large nakiri, or vegetable knives. Hirohara says his farm is not big enough to need an expensive cabbage harvesting machine.

Nike Tennis Classic Ultra Premium Shoes Womens Black White Metallic Black N36609 Indonesian trainees harvest cabbages at a farm in Ibaraki Prefecture. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

The two men, Muhamad Irvan Gustian and Farruq Fahlevi, both 21, can pick as many as 4,000 cabbages during their eight-hour workday. They also weed the fields, PUMA Arial White Trainers for MAN,Nike Sb Check Canvas Skateboarding Shoes Mens Black White N31110,Nike SB Zoom Stefan Janoski Premium Black/Anthracite/Sail Trainers for MAN,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Moire White/White Running Shoes for MAN,Nike Stefan Janoski Premium Se Shoes Mens Black Dark Grey White Red N20366,Nike KD VIII NSW Lifestyle Black/Red/Metallic Silver Basketball Shoes for MAN,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Reebok Ventilator CNT Royal/Green/Red/White Trainers for MAN,Adidas Training adissage Slides New Navy New Navy Running White For Men,Vans Authentic Wonderland/True White Sneakers for UNISEX,," he said. "I want to do more work." He says he wants to run a big farm in Indonesia one day, perhaps growing rice or coffee.

Nike Roshe Run Black/Black/Anthracite Trainers for WOMAN,Nike Free Trainer 5 0 NRG Training Shoes White Black Bright Crimson For Men,Nike Free 5.0 Black/Anthracite/White Running Shoes for WOMAN,.

Nike Zoom Fit Agility Training Shoes Black Dark Grey White Black For Women A Vietnamese worker checks autoparts at a Shigeru plant in Gunma Prefecture. (Photo by Ken Kobyashi)

The workers at Shigeru make instrument panels used in the Outback, Impreza and other models. The company hires Japanese part-timers in response to changes in demand, but Masayoshi Tabata, general manager, says foreign trainees are more dependable. "Part-timers quit when they find better-paying jobs. Trainees stay for three years."

Awesome Adidas Y3 Special Qasa High Leather black flower UK warrior tightens Boost,Timberland Earthkeepers Hookset Handcrafted Oxford Shoes Sun Bleached Red Canvas For Men,Discount Authentic 308497-102 Mens Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro Pure Money - White/Metallic Silver,.

Trainees are discouraged from going back to their country before finishing the three-year term or from having a child, and they cannot bring their spouse on the visa.

Discount Authentic 440897-102 Mens Nike Air Jordan Phase 23 Hoops Shoes White/Mineral Blue-Light Italy Blue-Black,Timberland Eldridge Leather Sandals Pewter For Men,Discount Authentic Kids Nike Air Max 2009 Shoes Grey/Dark Grey/Silver/Green,.

International pressure and media reports led to a law change in November 2017, allowing only certified organizations to participate in the trainee program. Criminal penalties were introduced for mistreatment of workers while a new government agency has been given a legal mandate to conduct random inspections. A whistleblower system has also been created that allows cases of abuse to be reported via email, a telephone hotline or a dedicated website. Most trainees have smartphones with them and have Wi-Fi access in their dormitories.

Fast-track system for tech workers

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air force 1 Low Shoes Dark Grey/Dark Purple/Sky Blue,Timberland Earthkeepers Rugged LT Chukka Boots Light Brown Full Grain For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 12 Shoes Black/White/Red,.

Nike Vapor Court Tennis Shoes Dove Grey Clearwater Classic Charcoal White For Women Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 4 Light Shoes White/Black/Red,Nike Zvezdochka Shoes Sizing Pro Orange Light For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan Hydro Black/Red,. technology companies like Google and Uber in the emerging fields of autonomous driving, artificial intelligence, ride-sharing and the internet of things. In these new fields, the flow of ideas -- and people -- is vital.

"It is impossible for Japanese to create a very competitive technology-based company unless we globalize internally,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max + 2013 Shoes Black/Lime/Grey,Nike Benassi Solarsoft Soccer Slide Pine Green Varsity Royal Varsity Maize For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 2011 Shoes White/Red,, CEO of Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten, at an in-house seminar last year.

At Rakuten's Japanese headquarters in a Tokyo suburb, a quarter of its roughly 6,000 employees are foreigners. The company hires about 400 engineers every year, of which 70% are non-Japanese, mainly Indians and Chinese.

Rakuten's push for global talent began in 2009, Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 87 Shoes Dark Blue/Black/Dark Grey,Nike Air Max 93 Shoes Black Anthracite Pure Platinum Cool Grey For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 90 Dark Grey/Light Blue/White,.

Nike Zoom Wildhorse 2 Running Shoes Black Deep Burgundy Hyper Punch Hyper Jade For Women Foreign students attend a job fair in Tokyo. Japanese companies, including e-commerce player Rakuten, are increasingly looking for international talent. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

Mikitani's revelation came during a lunch session with Indian engineers. Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 95 2009 Shoes Red/Black/Silver,Adidas Soccer Freefootball Boost Messi Shoes Core Black Shapp Grey University Red For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max Jordan 11 Shoes Black/Lime,.

Amit Agrawal, a 35-year-old engineer from India, is one of those who were hired by Rakuten.

"Most Japanese companies don't accept non-Japanese speakers. Rakuten is one of the companies that accept non-Japanese-speaking people," said Agrawal, who works in a massive open room that is almost entirely filled by foreign workers. Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max Jordan 5 Shoes White/Red,Nike Tiempo Genio Leather FG Firm Ground Soccer Cleat White Soar Volt For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max Lunar Shoes Black/White/Grey,, via a loyalty point system.

"Rakuten is basically an e-commerce company, but we are moving into other businesses also. I wanted to work in the latest technologies," Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk High Shoes Black/Dark Grey/White,Nike SB Zoom Stefan Janoski Mid Skateboarding Shoes Summit White Cool Grey Wolf Grey Black For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk High Shoes Green/White/Dark Green Cartoon,.

Family ties

But IT workers are an exception. Most others, even skilled workers, face significant hurdles to settling in Japan.

Interactive HXW00N00E107YJ0530 Interactive Shoes For Women Marliezl Abud, left, and a fellow Philippine worker talk to an elderly woman at a care center in Tokyo. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

One of the biggest difficulties has to do with restrictions on allowing family members to accompany workers -- a move designed to prevent permanent immigration. Though they are starting to loosen for a small number of the most skilled workers, such restrictions may limit Japan's allure as a destination for people with sought-after training. 

Among those whose skills are in great demand is Marliezl Abud, Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk Low Shoes Grey/Light Blue/Brown/White,Adidas Running Ascent Trail Shoes Core Black Metallic Silver Light Onix For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Free 5.0 V4 Running Shoes Black/Blue,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Free Trainer 5.0 Training Shoes Grey/Silver/Dark Grey/Light Blue,Nike Flyknit Racer Running Shoes Sizing Bright Crimson Volt For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Shox R4 Shoes Black/Metallic Silver/Brilliant Silver,, it entered economic partnership agreements with the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam that would allow up to 900 caregivers a year to come work in the country for up to four or five years each. 

2015 Latest Nike Zenji/Juvenate Summer Slip-On Sneaker For Womens Running Shoes Watermelon Red Cheap Sale

Abud was able to come to Japan through this program, but the hurdles were high. Only those with a four-year-college degree and a Philippine qualification as a caregiver were accepted. Kids Nike Air Jordan 12 Retro Blue University Blue New Real with Box Shoes Pro,Adidas Outdoor Terrex Boost Shoes Black White Solar Red For Men,Nike Kobe A.D. Mid Comfortable Passion sales Red cheaps 922482-600,.  

She sends most of her salary to her parents and sisters back in the Philippines. Her younger sister has a daughter who is going on to private school, and Abud's earnings contribute to her niece's education.

Abud felt a crushing homesickness at first. But after she had passed the local exam, Used Adidas Originals Tubular Doom Sock Pk Primeknit Olive Sesame Best New Men Shoe CQ0945,Adidas Originals SL Loop Runner TR Shoes Core Black Solar Blue Solid Grey For Men,Discounts Nike Af1 Jogger Charcoal Heather/Black For Men Online,. She likes the shopping, too.

But she and her husband see possible obstacles ahead for their lives in Japan. Her visa allows her husband to work only up to 28 hours a week, which could pose problems if they start a family.

"I want to have a child next year," New Nike Nba Club Wordmark Hoodie Dark Grey Heather For Men Sale,Adidas Originals C 10 Shoes Red For Men,Stylish Mitchell & Ness Nba Authentic Warm-Up Jacket Royal/Black For Men,."

The Most Popular Nike Pro Fitted Long Sleeve Top Carbon Heather/Black For Men On Sale,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

adidas Originals Stan Smith Nuude W White,2015 Newest Nike Free Flyknit 5.0 Knit Vamp Mens Running Shoes On Sale For Cheap Orange Yellow Couples Shoes,Converse Jack Purcell Signature CVO Ox Blue,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Nike Tennis Classic AC White,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Nike Wmns Free Run 2 Ext Blue,2015 Nike Air Max 90 Star Series Silver Purple Green Couple Style Mens Running Shoes Cheap Online,Reebok CL Leather Pearlized Green,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

adidas OutdoorCW Feltcruiser,2015 Nike Free Run 5.0 V5 Men Shoes White Black,New Balance Classics620 - Core Collection,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Nike Free Viritous,2015 Nike Roshe Run World Cup Germany Retro Mens Sportswear Shoes Training Sneakers Couples Sneaker Black White,Adidas Linear Vest Black - Mens Vests,
Siksilk Floral Rush Vest Blue - Mens Vests,2016 Air Jordan 7 VII Retro"Marvin The Martian"Black/University Red-Poison Green 304775-029 Kids Shoes,Asics 9 Orange Green Womens Shoes,
  • Inexpensive 165696 Nike Dunk High Men Black Yellow Shoes
  • High Cut Nike Performance Free 5.0 - Trainers - Black/White/Dark Grey/Dove Grey N98i4285
  • Adidas Originals Men Sneakers Olive Green/Red 512042
  • Unisex Nike Zoom D - Distance Spike KH67999i
  • Coastal Blue Coastal Blue 5NW7288 Men's - Running - Nike Shox NZ - Shoes - White Wolf Grey
  • Authentic Air Jordan 13 Flint
  • Nike Shox Roadster 12 White Pink Shoes
  • Nike Dunk Low Pro Lightest SB TRUE RED OCTOBER BLACK VAMPIRE Comfortable VAMPS 304292-601
  • Nike Flex Experience Run 4 Red Black White Mens Running Shoes Sneaker
  • Nike Sb Stefan Janoski Max (black)
  • New Mustang Vara Espadrilles Champagne For Women Outlet UK
  • 2018 Nike Popular Air Jordan 1 Retro High Good OG Shadow Where to buy Black Medium Grey 555088-013
  • 2017 Nike Shoes For Women Men's Nike Free Trainer 3.0 V4 Laser Orange/Iron/Light Bone/Black Shoes Canada BIA9603758
  • Pumps & Heels Women Kelly & Katie Isabel Pump Grey Newest
  • Package ZX 5000 Adidas Originals ZX 700 adidas ZX 700 EM Shoes White Adidas ZX 500 285692 from Gergely Varadin at KLEKT
  • Mens Air Jordan Air Jordan 6 Retro Raw Umber/Team Red-Metallic Gold-C No.2371
  • Boots Men K Swiss SI 18 Hiker Boots Black/Grey Online Sale
  • Mens Nike Shox R3 Shoes Brown Orange
  • Puma Blaze Of Glory Casual Shoes Men Black
  • Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 v2 Chalk Coral