Asics Gel Lyte III LC Light Grey Light Grey Sz 12.5 NIB H5E3L Laser Cut 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

Nike Air Max LeBron 10 Elite Simple Basketball Shoes For Men in 93277,Asics Gel-Lyte III "Oreo Pack" Size 11.5 - Euro Exclusive Colorway H6T1L-0101,Nike Air Max TN Cushioning Mens Shoes red black,. 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, Nike Air Max TN I Mens Shoes wheat yellow white,ASICS GEL-SAGA TRAINER ATOMIC BLUE ATOMIC BLUE SNEAKER SHOE,Nike Anti Skid Kids Wearable Breathable Caterpillar Running Shoes Online Store Green Pink,.

"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, Nike Dunk SB 2012 New Mid Cut Mens Shoes white gray purple,New Asics H5Z2N.8001 GEL Lyte III Dark Green Men's Running Shoes Size 10 US,Nike Hyperize Sneakers For Men in 73278,, 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. Nike Ken Griffen Max Mens Shoes 2014 Grey Blue,Nike Air Force 1 07 Lv8 Shoes Mens White N88340,Nike Lunar Hyperdunk X 2012 in 69071,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Nike Roshe Run HYP QS Mens Light Weight Mesh Organge Air Force Blue Low Running Shoes,Nike Air Jordan Spike 40 Pe Shoes Mens Orange White Royal N75369,Nike Zoom KD V ELITE Series Basketball Shoes Dark Green,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Discount Authentic Womens Nike Shox R4 Shoes White/Light Blue/Brilliant Silver 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, On Sale Nike Air Max 87 Men Shoes Cheap Online White Blue,Nike Air Max Goadome 6" Waterproof Boots Mens Deep Burgundy Black Deep Burgundy N51646,Sale Mercurial Victory X Tf Powder Light Brown Orange Special,, 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.

Under Armour UA Curry One 2015 Playoffs All Black Basketball Shoes Sale,Nike Dunk High Pro Sb Shoes Mens Metallic Silver Red Black N68829,Adidas Originals ZX 8000 Boost Night Sky/Night Sky/Bold Blue Sneakers for MAN,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Reebok Ventilator CNT JO/Black/Running White Sneakers for MAN,Nike Internationalist Leather Shoes Mens Brown Blue Brown N43256,Saucony Grid SD Teal/Black Sneakers for MAN,.

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, New Balance MRL996 Grey/Light Blue Sneakers for MAN,Nike Lunarestoa 2 Premium Shoes Mens Black Brown Black N15689,Converse Jack Purcell Wetland Mid Black Trainers for MAN,.

Designers Under Armour Fly By Run Tank Europa Purple/Constellation Purple/Reflective For Women

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Nike Air Max 1 FB Light Bone/Light Bone/Poison Green Running Shoes for MAN,Nike Sb Dunk High Premium Flash Skateboarding Shoes Mens Black Black N15072,PUMA Blaze of Glory Crackle Posy Green Trainers for MAN,. "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 Air Max 90 Leather Iron/Metallic Red Bronze/Sail Running Shoes for WOMAN,Nike Zoom Sb Stefan Janoski Canvas Shoes Mens Blue White N40680,Nike Air Max Thea Jacquard Premium Bright Citron/Black/Noble Purple/Bright Citron Running Shoes for,."

The Hottest Styles Nike Archive Sleeveless Hoodie Sail/Black For Women Selling Well 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.Acronym Nike certificate Air Vapormax Moc 2 FK Best Black Volt Yellow AQ0996-007,Nike Free Trainer 3 0 V3 Training Shoes Pure Platinum Flash Lime Black White For Men,Discount Authentic 136066-041 Mens Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro Black / Royal Blue,. 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.

"Discount Authentic 378037-002 Kids Nike 72-10 Air Jordan 11 Retro Black/Gym Red-White-Anthracite,Timberland Earthkeepers Hookset Handcrafted Oxford Shoes Sun Bleached Red Canvas For Men,Discount Authentic Kids Nike Air Jordan 4 Shoes White/Grey/Blue,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air force 1 Low Shoes Dark Brown/Ceramic White,Timberland Earthkeepers Stormbuck Lite Oxford Shoes Navy Scuff Proof For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 13 Night Light Shoes Black,," 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.

Asics Sheepskin Blue Mens Shoes

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

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 4 Night Light ShoesWhite/Black,Nike Roshe Run Shoes Poison Green Black For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan Jumpman Shoes Black/Red,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 2009 Shoes Black/Silver/White,Nike Benassi JDI PO QS Slide White White For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 2012 Shoes Dark Grey/Gold,, 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.

Asics 8 Blue Mens Shoes 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, Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 90 2009 Shoes White/Black/Grey,Nike Air Pegasus 83 Shoes Cedar Hyper Crimson Black Summit White For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 90 White/Dark Blue/Red,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max BW Shoes Black/Purple/White,Adidas Soccer Nitrocharge 1 FG Cleats Amazon Purple For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max Jordan 3 Shoes White/Blue,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max LTD Shoes White/Blue,FC247 LunarGato II Soccer Shoes Black White Poison Green Black For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max TN Shoes Silver/Green/Black,," 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.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk High Shoes Dark Grey/Black/White/Orange,Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 2 Running Shoes Black Dark Ash Hyper Cobalt Hyper Jade For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk Low Shoes Brown/Orange/Light Blue,.

Nike Air Max 87 Men Nere Rosso 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."

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Free 3.0 V3 Running Shoes Dark Red/White,Nike Free 5 0 Running Shoes Volt White Black For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Huarache Free 2012 Training Shoes White/Light Blue/Dark Blue,.

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 Mens Nike Shox R4 Shoes Cool Grey/Yellow,Adidas Originals Stan Smith Shoes Running White Ftw Running White Collegiate Red For Men,Kids Nike Air Jordan 12 Retail Retro GG Kings Websites 510815-018 Black Violet Basketball sales Shoes,.

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

Nike SB Dunk Colourful High Elite Black Iridescent Original 854851-019,Adidas Originals MCN Americana 84 Lab Running White Ftw For Men,LE COQ SPORTIF ADORLO TRACK TOP - DRESS BLUES OTHER BRANDS TRACK TOPS MENS,.

Nike Tn Grigio Men Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Jordan Jumpman Air Brushed Graphic Hoodie Black/White/Blue For Men Outlet,Nike Lunar Mont Royal Golf Shoes Obsidian Bright Crimson Black Obsidian For Men,New Trendy Nike Nfl Salute To Service Therma Po Hoodie Cargo Khaki For Men Sale,. 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,The Hottest Styles Nike Kyrie Therma Hyper Elite Hoodie Wolf Grey/White/Black For Men,Olympia HXM0570918208N9999 Casual Shoes For Men,adidas Originals LA Trainer W Gray,, 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, adidas Originals ZX 700 Red,KD7 Basketball Shoes Black Photo Blue Hyper Crimson Metallic Silver For Men,Nike Mayfly Woven Black,.

Contracted Fish Mouth Waterproof Platform Wedge Muffins Female Sandals - Black - 39 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 Wmns Air Max 95 Winter Brown,2014 New Air Jordan 1 Trek Black Yellow Outdoor Climbing Shoes,Puma Cell Bubble x Trapstar Black,.

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. adidas GolfadiPower Sport Boost,2015 Air Jordan Spizike 3.5 Retro Mens Shoes Glowing Black Red Sale,New Balance Classics620 - Redwoods,, 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," Nike Free 5.0 TR Fit 5 MTLC,2015 Latest Nike Roshe Run 3 Shoes Online First Mens Sneakers On Sale Black White,Adidas Manchester United 2016/17 Away Socks Blue - Accessories Socks,.

Family ties

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

Mid Heel Rhinestone Embellished Ankle Strap Sandals - Black - 36 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, Asics Slip-On Pink Womens Shoes,2015 New Nike Air Jordan 5 V Mens Shoes White Purple,Asics 8 Green Purple Womens Shoes,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Nike Air Huarache Bianche Women,2015 Newest Nike Free Flyknit 5.0 Knit Vamp Mens Running Shoes On Sale For Cheap Orange Yellow Couples Shoes,Onitsuka Tiger High Tops White Womens Shoes,, 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. 

Square Toe Mules Shoes - Off-white - 39

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. Nike Air Force 1 07 Suede Shoes Womens Dark White Metallic Gold N51195,2015 Nike Free 5.0 2 Mens Shoes Latest 5.0+2 Running Sneakers For Cheap Blue Fluorescent Green Black,Nike Juvenate Textile Shoes Womens Blue Blue Blue N38167,.  

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, Adidas Running Energy Boost 2 0 Shoes Pearl Grey Running White Pearl Metallic For Women,2015 Nike Free Run+ 2 Men Shoes Green White,Nike Free 1 0 Cross Bionic Training Shoes Black White Volt For Women,. 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," Nike Internationalist Mid Shoes Medium Ash Light Ash Hyper Crimson Hyper Turquoise For Women,2015 Nike ZVEZDOCHKA Mens Sandals Shoes New Sale Black,Nike Dual Fusion Run 3 Running Shoes Court Purple Hyper Grape White Hyper Punch For Women,."

2015 Discount Nike Zoom Fit Agility Sneakers On Sale Womens Shoes Fluorescent Green Silver,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

2015 Nike Free 3.0 V2 Womens Shoes Grey Orange,Cheap Nike Kyrie 1 2015 Black Red Basketball Shoes Sale,2016 Nike Lunar Force 1 Low"Jacquard Pack"Womens Shoes Jacquard Woven Uppers Black/White Deals,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

New Nike Air Max 2015 Womens Shoes Black / Green / Blue Discount,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Nike Air Max 90 Womens Shoes Wholesale Black Green,Cheap Sale Online Nike Free Run 4.0 Mens Shoes Fur For Winter Blue Grey,Nike Free Powerlines II Womens Shoes Black Gold,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

To Buy For Sale 2013 Air Jordan 5 V Retro Women Shoes White Blue,Discount Outlet Air Max 2012 Mens Shoes Breathable For Sale Black White,Discount Authentic Womens Nike Air Jordan 11 Shoes Cream/White,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Discount Authentic Womens Nike Air Max 2009 Shoes Grey/Black/Light Blue,Hot Nike Air Jordan 11 Kids Black Red,Discount Authentic Womens Nike Air Max 90 Grey/Dark Grey/Purple/Green,
Discount Authentic Womens Nike Dunk High Heels High Shoes Dark Brown/Orange,Men's Air Griffey Max 2.5 in 25568,Discount Authentic Womens Nike Dunk Low Shoes White/Light Blue/Blue,
  • Buy 225766 Nike Dunk Low Men Black White Shoes
  • Satisfactory Reebok Classic Classic Spirit - Trainers - Sharing/White/Energy K31p2682
  • Vans Men Rowley Pro Sneakers Classic Retro 592489
  • Cheap Air Jordan 31 XXX1 "Space Jam" Black Dark Concord White Sale
  • Cool Grey Shoes - Men's - Wolf Grey Pure Platinum 3GV1044 - Nike LunarEpic Low Flyknit 2 - Running Black
  • Authentic Air Jordan III 3 White Retro 88
  • Adidas Tubular Invader Strap Fast Delivery Avialable
  • Nike Free Flyknit 4. 0 Green Black White Mens Running Shoes
  • Reebok Classic Slider (purple)
  • New Trendy Betty London Gimy Sandals Black For Women Sale Online
  • Bargain Kobe 9 EM Low Create Wolf Black cheaps Grey White
  • 2017 Nike Store Trainers Women's Nike Air Huarache Ultra Breathe Hyper Violet/Viola/Hyper Violet Shoes Canada QRC2303983
  • Pumps & Heels Women J. Renee Melenne Wedge Pump Grey New Arrival Fashion
  • Package Nike Flyknit Lunar 1 Men Nike Flyknit Running Shoes Trainers Pro Direct Running Flyknit Lunar 1 Clearance Sale Sport Apparel Up to 60 Off
  • Boots Men Frank Wright Whitby Brogue Boots Tan 2017 Arrive
  • Mens Puma Drift Cat II Trainers White Tan
  • Reebok Classic Leather Ice Casual Shoes Men White
  • James 13 grey