Asics Footpatrol Uk9 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

2015 New Nike Roshe Run 2014 Commemorative Edition Mens Shoes Discount Online All Black,ASICS Men's GT-1000 4 Running Shoes 6P,2015 Newest Nike Free Flyknit 5.0 Rainbow Mens Running Trainers Shoes Deals Blue Gray,. 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, 2015 Nike Flex Series Sneakers Mens Running Shoes For Cheap Black Blue,ASICS GEL LYTE III H631L 9090 TRAINERS SNEAKERS PACK BLACK BLACK-mint,2015 Nike Free Run 4.0 Men Shoes Red Grey,.

"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, 2015 Nike Internationalist Leather Mens Run Shoes Grass Green Gray Brown Cheap Sale,Asics Gel Lyte III Men's Running Shoes Size 12 Puddle Pack Blue Sneakers H5U3L,2015 Nike Zoom Pegasus 31 Mens Running Shoes Gray Blue Red Cushion Sneakers Online,, 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. 2016 Fragment Design x NikeCourt Air Trainer 1"French Open"White Gray Dark Blue Mens Mid Shoes,ASICS GEL LYTE V 5 BLUE BLACK WHITE H6S4L 4290 SZ 9.5,2016 Nike Lunar Force 1 Low Mens Shoes Green White Online Cheap Sale,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Air Jordan 4 Cement Retro Mens Shoes Engraved 2012 White Blue,Asics Gel Nimbus 18 Black Silver Blue Men Running Shoes / T600N-9993,Air Max 2011 Leather Mens Shoes Wholesale black,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

VANS FULL PATCH RAGLAN - WHITE VANS VEST MENS 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, Air Max 90 Mens Shoes Cheap On Sale White Black Gray Blue,Asics Gel Sight Navy Black Japan Denim H6l1N.5090 Lyte III V Men's 7-13,Air Max 90 Premium EM Mens Shoes Red Black,, 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.

AIR MAX LTD 01 Mens Shoes Wholesale White Silver,asics Herren Laufschuh GEL-STRATUS 2 M gelb / blau,Buy Cheap Nike KD 6 2014 Black Rose Mens Shoes,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Buy Cheap Nike Kobe 9 High 2015 All Star Black Gold Mens Shoes,Asics T606N GT-2000 4 Men's Running Shoes Sz 14,Buy Cheap Nike Lebron 12 2015 Purple Black Yellow Mens Shoes,.

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, Cheap Nike KD VIII 8 2015 Purple Green Basketball Shoes Sale,Lily Brown Asics Gel Sage Green Magenta 6619 Size 9.5 W/Receipt,Cheap Sale Nike Air Jordan 4 IV Mens Shoes On Sale White Grey,.

Latest Jordan Wings Anorak Bordeaux/Dark Grey/Black For Men Sale

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Discount Nike Tiempo Legend Elite Ag White Blue,Men's ASICS Gel Nimbus 19 Running Shoes size 11 D Regular width,For Sale Cheap To Buy Nike Shox Roadster 12 Mens Shoes Grey Blue White,. "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. "Hot Sale Popular Air Jordan 9 IX Mens Shoes Black,ASICS GEL-DEDICATE 4 MEN'S SHOE FLASH YELLOW/SILVER SIZE 8 E507Y 0793 NIB,Magista Nike Mercurial Superfly FG Fly line IV TPU soccer cleats yellow white black,."

New Under Armour Outrun The Storm Jacket Black/Reflective For Men On Sale 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.New Air Jordan 4 IV Retro Mens Shoes Fur Winter Blue Cheap,Asics GEL-KAYANO 22 NYC New York City/2015 T5M2N-0193 Size 13 NIB NWT,New Release Nike Air Max 2013 Punching Mens Shoes Grey Green,. 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 Air Griffey Max 360 For Men in 64086,Asics Gel-Solution Speed 2 Clay Tennis Court Shoes Men's Size 11.5,Nike Air Jordan 6 VI Retro Mens Shoes Black Cheap Sale,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Nike Air Jordan XI 11 New Online Releases Grey,Asics GT-2000 5 Men's T709N.4101 Island Blue/White/Black Running Shoes (4E),Nike Air Max 90 25TH Anniversary ICE Diamond Mens Running Shoes Transparent Gray Green Online Sale,," 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.

The Hottest Styles Nike Dynamic Reveal Jacket Black For Men Outlet

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

Nike Air Max 90 Mens Shoes HYP KPU TPU 2014 New Camo Green White,New Men Asics Gel Strike 3 White/platinum/red 10.5,Nike Air Max LeBron 10 Elite Basketball Shoes For Men in 94972,, 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 TN Cushioning Mens Shoes black blue,RESTOCK ASICS GEL LYTE III LIMITED OREO PACK WHITE BLACK MEN US SIZE 8 9 10 11 V,Nike Air Max TN I Mens Shoes Refined white,, 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.

adidas Originals Gazelle Khaki 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, Nike Air More Uptempo Retro Pippen PE Basketball Sneakers Classic Black White Mens Shoes Cheap Sale,Nike Air Force 1 07 Lv8 Shoes Mens Black Metallic Silver White Black N26674,Nike Cortez Men Nylon Shoes Red Brown,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Nike Foam Posites Airmax Sneakers For Men in 54375,Nike Air Force 1 Shoes Mens Red Red White N81160,Nike Free Trainer 3.0 Mens Shoes Black Yellow,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Nike Ken Griffen Max Mens Shoes 2014 Green,Nike Air Max 1 Woven Shoes Mens Black N12371,Nike Lunar 5.0 Spider LT +2 Mens Shoes Dark Gray,," 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 Mercurial Vapor IX K FG Soccer Boots Cleats black white,Nike Air Max Tavas Shoes Mens Grey Dark Grey Platinum Black N57975,Nike Zoom Hyperflight PRM Superhero Red Black For Men in 95719,.

adidas Originals Tubular Viral W Gray 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."

Nike Zoom Kobe BLACK MAMBA 24 Basketball Shoes For Men in 89279,Nike Archive 83.M Shoes Mens White Platinum Grey Blue N97103,Online Shopping Nike Roshe Mens Running Shoes Wool Skin For Sale Black Rose Red,.

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.

To Buy Air Jordan 1 I Leopard Mens shoes Fur Inside For Winter Online Cheap Green Brown,Nike Free Hypervenom 2 Fs Shoes Mens Olive White Black N73785,Under Armour UA Curry One 2015 Grey Black Basketball Shoes Sale,.

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

New Balance M997 Blue/Red Sneakers for MAN,Nike Hurley Phantom Free Flip Flops Mens Navy N69413,Adidas Originals ZX Flux Weave White/White/Ch Solid Grey Sneakers for MAN,.

Nike Air Max 90 Leather White Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Nike Free 5.0 Volt/Black/Electric Green Running Shoes for MAN,Nike Jordan Hydro Ix Retro Slippers Mens Black Dark Grey White N19539,PUMA R698 x Stamp,. 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,Nike Flyknit Racer Black/White Running Shoes for MAN,Nike Roshe Ld-1000 Shoes Mens Obsidian White N72830,Vans Classic Slip-On Checkerboard/black/pewter Trainers for MAN,, 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, Nike Archive ,Nike Sb Check Canvas Skateboarding Shoes Mens Black White N31110,Nike Air Max 90 Anniversary Black/Black/Infrared/White Running Shoes for MAN,.

Nike Wmns Air Huarache Run Ultra BR Pink 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. Nike Tennis Classic Ultra Fo QS Midnight Navy/Midnight Navy Sneakers for WOMAN,Nike Sb Zoom Stefan Janoski Leather Skateboarding Shoes Mens Black Grey White N23423,Nike Benassi Swoosh White/Black/Black Slippers for WOMAN,.

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. 2018 Nike Kyrie Irving 4 Best Deals IV Men Basketball Shoes Special Dark New York Blue/Black/Red,Adidas Weightlifting Powerlift 2 0 Shoes Pride Ink For Men,Direct 872087-405 NIKE INTERNATIONALIST LT17,, 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 313495-602 Mens Nike Air Jordan 21 Retro Varsity Red/Metallic Silver-Black,Nike Lunar Trainer 1 Training Shoes White Black Volt White For Men,Discount Authentic 539542-035 Mens Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro RTTG Las Vegas Black / Metallic Gold-White-Gym Red,.

Family ties

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

Nike Wmns SFB 6 NSW Leather Boot Black 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 Kids Nike Air Max Jordan 12 Shoes Black/Red,Timberland Earthkeepers Adventure Cupsole Chukka Shoes Blue Buffed For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air force 1 Low Shoes Light Fen/White,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 13 Shoes White/Blue/Dark Grey,Timberland Hookset Handcrafted Leather Oxford Shoes Brown Full Grain For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 4 Night Light ShoesWhite/Black/Red,, 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. 

Reebok x FACE Classic Leather Spirit Orange

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. Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan Alpha Trunner Shoes Black/White,Timberland Earthkeepers Stormbuck Lite Oxford Shoes Brown Suede For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 2009 Shoes Black/Green,.  

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, Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 2011 Shoes White/Dark Blue/Black,Timberland Chestnut Ridge Waterproof Chelsea Boots Black Smooth For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 87 Shoes Gold/Black/White,. 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," Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 90 Brown/White/Black,Nike LunarFresh SneakerBoot SneakerBoot Hyper Cobalt Photo Blue Heritage Blue Volt For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 91 Shoes Black/Dark Blue/Light Blue,."

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max BW Shoes White/Blue/Black/Red,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max Jordan 3.5 Shoes Grey/Dark Grey/White/Black,Adidas Originals Bostonstar Dots Shoes Running White Ftw For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max LTD Shoes Grey/White/Black/Light Blue,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max TN Shoes White/Black/Silver,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk High Shoes Dark Brown/White,Adidas Originals SL Loop Runner Shoes Red Running White Bluebird For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk Low Shoes Black/Red/White,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Free 4.0 V2 Running Shoes Black/Dark Grey,Adidas Originals C 10 Shoes Night Flash For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Free TR Fit Running Shoes Black/Dark Red/White,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Shox R2 Shoes Black/Blue,Adidas Football Adizero 5 star 3 0 Low Strateg Power Red Running White Black For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Shox R6 Shoes Blue/Grey/White,
NIKE AIR Famous JORDAN 1 Canada RETRO HIGH OG cheaps WHEAT 555088 710,Sneakers H198 HXM1980L4817ZS124N Casual Shoes For Men,Top Quality DS Air Jordan XXXI Low GEORGETOWN HOYAS XXX1 31 897564 007,
  • Comfortable 147838 Nike Classic Cortez Nylon Prm Men Silver Brown Black Shoes
  • Shop For The Best Nike Sportswear Air Huarache Utility - Trainers - Pure Platinum/Black/Dark Grey/Wo
  • Caterpillar Caterpillar Haverhill Men Boots Bagpipe 540194
  • Unisex Nike SB Stefan Janoski Hyperfeel - Skateboarding Shoe LH682842f
  • Clothing - Running - Men's - New Balance 7" Accelerate Shorts - Supercell Alpha Orange 8NP9022
  • Air Jordan 6 Gatorade
  • Nike Roshe Run 2015 Suede Blue Janue Shoes
  • Lightest Kids Nike Air Foamposite Pro Dr. Customize Doom outlets Black White 624041-006
  • Nike Air Max LD Zero Hiroshi Fujiwara Fragment Obsidian black gold 848624 413 Mens Running Sneakers Shoes
  • adidas ZX Flux GTX (black)
  • New Airstep / A.S.98 Ramos Sandals Blue / Marine For Women Clearance
  • 2016 2015 Crazylight Retail Boost Primeknit Black White
  • 2017 Nike Email Women's Nike Flyknit Lunar 3 Black/Pink Pow/Total Orange/White Shoes Canada ILP5404190
  • Pumps & Heels Women Madden Girl Unite Platform Pump Black Top Quality
  • Paul Green Black Leather Olisa QAK530995
  • Mens Air Max Thea Nike Print Black White
  • Boots Men Prada Canvas Chukka Boot Khaki/OliveGreen Cheap Online
  • Mens Nike Air Max LTD Shoes - White/Golden Yellow Logo
  • Nike Cortez Basic Leather Casual Shoes Men White/Grey/Metallic Silver
  • Nike Mercurial Victory V Tf Nike Soccer Mercurial Nike Soccer Mercurial Deals Nike Kids Jr Mercurial