Asics Skysensor Glide 4 IV White Black Mens Running Shoes Sneakers TJR335-9001 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 Free Powerlines II Mens Shoes Blue Silver,Nike Air Force 1 Mid 07 Shoes Mens Black N11983,Nike Hypervenom Phelon Indoor football shoes white black neon,. 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 Kobe VII(6) Shoes in 20284,Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Moire Shoes Mens Grey Grey Grey N58557,Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly IIII X AG Soccer Cleats gold yellow,.

"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 Zoom KD IV 4 Sneakers Kevin Durant For Men in 72770,Nike Air Pegasus Racer Shoes Mens Red White N82644,Nike Zoom Kobe VIII blue snake Basketball Shoes for Men in 88462,, 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. Popular Nike Mercurial Vapor Ix Reflective Light Gray Green Black,Nike Free Hypervenom 2 Fs Shoes Mens Blue White Navy Blue N42488,To Buy J3 And J4 Limited Mens Shoes Online Cheap Black White,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Reebok Ventilator CN Snowy Grey/Emerald Haze Sneakers for MAN,Nike Jordan Eclipse Shoes Mens Black Platinum Red White N27877,Adidas Performance Ultra Boost Navy/Navy/Silver Metallic Running Shoes for MAN,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Nike Football Men Bianche Nere Arancia 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, Adidas Tech Super Running White/Vivid Pink/Bliss Sneakers for MAN,Nike Roshe Flyknit Shoes Mens Black Dark Grey White N19593,ASICS GT-II White/White Sneakers for MAN,, 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.

PUMA R698 x BWGH Winter White Sneakers for MAN,Nike Sb Zoom Stefan Janoski Skateboarding Shoes Mens White Black N90174,Jordan Spizike White/Light Poison Green/Red/Grey Basketball Shoes for MAN,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Nike Air Huarache White/Sport Turqoise/Gold Running Shoes for MAN,Nike Zoom Hypercross TR Training Shoes Black Anthracite Black For Men,Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 3 GTX Cargo Khaki/Menta/Fuchsia Flash Running Shoes for WOMAN,.

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 90 Essential Pure Platinum/Fuchsia Flash/Dark Grey/White Running Shoes for WOMAN,Nike Air Max Effort TR Training Shoes Blue Lagoon Dove Grey Bright Crimson White For Men,2018 Mens Under Armour UA Curry Store 4 Low King of Glory Golfs Bright Color/White Australia Basketball Shoes,.

Ankle Buckle Strap Side Zipper Boots - Brown - 36

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Discount Authentic 136001-142 Mens Nike Air Jordan 12 Retro Melo White/University Blue-Metallic Silver,Timberland Denim Boat Shoes Blue Washed Denim For Men,Discount Authentic 384664-001 Mens Nike Air Jordan 6 Retro Detroit Pistons - Black/Varsity Red-True Blue-Light Graphite,. "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. "Discount Authentic Kids Nike Air Jordan 26 Shoes Black/White/Blue,Timberland 6 Inch Premium Waterproof Boots Olive Waterbuck For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air force 1 Low Shoes Black/Blue/Yellow/Red Graffiti,."

Fold Over Furry Lining Ankle Boots - Khaki - 38 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.Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 12 Shoes Dark Grey/White,Nike Internationalist Leather Premium Shoes Anthracite Granite Black Granite For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 4 High Shoes White/Black/Red,. 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 Mens Nike Air Jordan Alpha Trunner Shoes Black/White,Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Moire Shoes Midnight Navy New Slate Dark For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 2009 Shoes Black/White/Light Green,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 2012 Shoes Dark Grey/Blue/White,Nike Air Force 1 07 LV8 Shoes University Red White Gum Light Brown University Red For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 90 2009 Shoes Grey/Black/Orange,," 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.

Outdoor Woolen Yarn Ball Knitted Beanie - Coffee

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 Max 90 White/Dark Blue/Grey/Yellow,Nike Free Hypervenom Mid Shoes Black Dark Grey Black For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 95 Shoes Yellow/Black/White,, 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 Jordan 26 Shoes Red/White,Nike SB Check Canvas Skateboarding Shoes Black White For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max LTD Shoes White/Black/Light Blue,, 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.

Twist Knit Double Color Ball Beanie - Light Pink 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 TN Shoes Silver/Green/Black,Nike Free 4 0 Flyknit Running Shoes Pure Platinum Midnight Fog Light Charcoal Black For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk High Shoes Blue/Red/Black/White,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk Low Shoes Blue/Black/Yellow/Orange,Adidas Outdoor Terrex Boost Shoes Black White Solar Red For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Free 5.0+ Running Shoes Orange/Blue,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Shox NZ Shoes Black/Gold/Grey,Adidas Originals Veritas Mid Shoes Onix For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Shox R4 Shoes White/Black/Gym Red,," 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.

MENS NIKE LUPINEK Super FLYKNIT ACG promotion LOW AU SHOES black platinum grey 853954 002,Nike Lunar Waverly Golf Shoes Baroque Brown Sail Hyper Punch Black For Men,Nike Zoom All Exclusive Out Low 2 Running Dusty Unique Peach/Metallic Red sales Bronze AJ0036 200,.

Adidas Originals ZX Flux Slip On Trainers in Granite Running Shoes 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."

LE COQ SPORTIF FRUIBA TEE - ULTRA BLUE OTHER BRANDS VEST MENS,Olympia HXM0520C8905LY9999 Casual Shoes For Men,Latest Converse Golf Le Fleur Essentials Hoodie Egret For Men Outlet,.

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.

New Under Armour Swacket Full Zip Hoodie True Grey Heather/Black For Men,Adidas Baseball Energy Boost Icon Cleats Core Black Tech Grey Metallic Infrared For Men,The Hottest Styles Under Armour College Armour Fleece Hoodie Powder Keg For Men Sale Online,.

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

adidas Originals NMD_CS1 PK White,2014 New Nike Air Jordan IV 4 Retro Mens Shoes White Red,Converse All Star Hi Red,.

ONLINE Nike Air Pegasus 83 Blue Orange Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Nike Mayfly Blue,2015 Air Jordan Spizike 3.5 Retro Mens Shoes Glowing Grey Orange,Nike Wmns Classic Cortez Leather Silver,. 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,Puma x ALIFE Leadcat Black,2015 Latest Nike Air Max Zero QS 87 Retro Mens Running Shoes Army Green Brown Orange 789695-007,adidas OutdoorDaroga Plus Leather,, 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, New BalanceM690v4,2015 New Nike Air Jordan XIII 13 Mens Shoes Black Red,Nike Lunar TR1,.

Adidas Originals Racer Lite Print Trainers in Black White Running Shoes 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. Adidas Real Madrid 2015 Training Top - Mens Top,2015 Newest Nike Free Flyknit 5.0 Rainbow Mens Running Trainers Shoes Deals Couples Shoes Pink Royal,Asics New Arrival Dark Blue Womens Shoes,.

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. Asics 4.5 Blue Womens Shoes,2015 Nike Free 5.0 2 Mens Shoes Latest 5.0+2 Running Sneakers For Cheap Grey Black Blue,Nike Air Presto Women Nere Bianche,, 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," Flat Nose Comfortable Shallow Professional Work Suede Women's Shoes - Pink - 41,2015 Nike Free Run+ 2 Men Shoes Grey Green,Nike Air Max 1 Essential Shoes Womens Black White N31717,.

Family ties

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

GET Vans Old Skool Reissue turquoise 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, Nike Roshe One Knit Jacquard Shoes Womens Green White Turquoise N55301,2015 Nike ZVEZDOCHKA Mens Sandals Shoes Comfort Green,Adidas Originals Adria PS 3 Stripes Mid Shoes Multi Solid Grey Running White Running White For Women,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Timberland Strafford Double Buckle Sandals Brown Full Grain For Women,2016 Nike Air Max Tailwind 8 Print Sneakers Black Grey Mens Running Shoes 805941-001,Nike Air Max 90 Premium Shoes White Metallic Silver White For Women,, 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. 

AUTHENTIC Adidas ZX 700 W White

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 Zoom Fly 2 Running Shoes Cool Blue Pink Pow White Bright Citrus For Women,2016 Nike Mens Basketball Sneakers Lebron 13 Navy Blue Silver,2015 Latest Nike Roshe Run 3 Shoes Online First Womens Sneakers On Sale Carbon Grey Yellow,.  

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, 2015 Nike Free Trainer 3.0 v3 Womens Shoes Online Store Claret White,Air Max 2011 Leather Mens Shoes Wholesale yellow black,Air Max 90 Premium EM Womens Shoes Yellow Black,. 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 Air Max 1 87 Womens Running Shoes Sweet Classic Crawn,Air Max 90 Mens Shoes Cheap On Sale White Light Green,Nike Air Max TN Fusion Womens Shoes white black,."

Nike Lunar Hyperdunk 2010 Basketball Shoes for Women in 82426,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

AA1097 400 Womens Websites Nike City Loop Athletic discounts Fashion Sneakers For,Men's Air Max Lebron VIII Shoes in 21935,Discount Authentic Womens Nike Air Jordan 5 High Heels Shoes White/Black/Red,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Discount Authentic Womens Nike Air Max 2011 Shoes Grey/Yellow/Black,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Discount Authentic Womens Nike Air Max 97 Shoes Black/Pink,New Nike Air Max 2015 Mens Shoes Black / Blue / Green Discount,Discount Authentic Womens Nike Dunk High Shoes Black/Red/White/Yellow Mickey Mouse,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Discount Authentic Womens Nike Shox NZ Shoes Black/Grey/Light Pink,Nike Air Foamposite One Mens Shoes Blue White,New Womens Nike Benassi JDI Print Slide Sandals Classic goddess of flowers White/wathet,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

New Fila Aida Print Tank White/Skyway For Women,Nike Air Jordan 5 V Mens Shoes New Black Green,VANS X NINTENDO TRI FORCE ZELDA TANK - BLACK VANS TANK WOMENS,
Asics Gel Lyte V Wine Red Mens Shoes,Nike Air Max 2011 New Reviewed Mens Running Black Grey,Asics 2 Green Mens Shoes,
  • Cheap 160103 Nike Free 5.0 V4 Men Black Red Shoes
  • Vans Era - Trainers - Estate Blue/Potting Soil K76y4800 Ebay
  • Nike Air Jordan Xiii 13 Men Sports Shoes Black White 759454
  • Cheap Nike Air Max 97 White Wolf Grey Black 921522 100 Sale
  • Equipment Yellow Men's - Equipment Yellow Equipment Yellow 1RV5933 - Shoes - adidas Originals Stan Smith - Casual
  • Jordan Mens Shoes White Red Black
  • Nike Air VaporMax Shoes New Arrival
  • Discounts Puma P48 Core Track Jacket Cotton Black For Men Outlet
  • Nike Magista Obra IC Wolf Grey Turquoise BI Black Wolf Grey ACC Mens football boots Soccer shoes
  • New Balance WR996NOA (blue / grey)
  • Stylish Art I Meet 1270s Sandals Grey For Women Outlet
  • Famous Nike Air More Uptempo White Customize Gum Hot
  • 2017 Womens Black Nike Shoes Men's Air Jordan 12 Retro Low Black Patent/Varsity Red Shoes Canada OIQ59052
  • Pumps & Heels Women Chinese Laundry Sparks Fly Pump Grey/Navy Hot Sale
  • Package Adidas X 15-1 TF Shoes adidas ACE 15 Football Boots at Sports Direct Croatia Nike Adidas Football Boots Size Comparison
  • Mens Adidas Shoes Adidas Y3 Snow Model Mid Shoes Blue White No.1999
  • Boots Men Burnished Suede Desert Boots Gray Best Buy
  • New Air Jordan 6 Fusion-University Gold/Black/White A1256-77
  • Nike Air Max 95 Premium Running Shoes Men Dark Obsidian/Grey
  • Woman Nike Air Max 97 undefeated black