Authentic 172368 Nike Lunareclipse Shield Men Grey White Blue Shoes 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 ZOOM SB STEFAN JANOSKI SE Cool Grey/Obsidian/White/Cool Gre,Comfortable 213263 Nike Shox Nz 2.0 Men Black Pink Shoes,Adidas D Rose Lakeshore Boys Grade School Black/Light Scarlet Basketball Shoes V21305,. 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 Roshe Run Flight Weight Boys Grade School Black/White/University Red Running Shoes V36643,Authentic 245936 Nike Shox Qualify Men Grey Black Shoes,Adidas Crazy Light Boost Mens White/Black/Red Basketball Shoes V88328,.

"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, Adidas Element Refine Mens Onix/Infrared/Black Running Shoes V67673,Inexpensive 176594 Nike Shox R6 Men White Red Shoes,Adidas Originals Adilette Mens White/Green Slippers V91513,, 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 Air Max 90 Mid Winter Mens Black Running Shoes V12360,Cheap 185932 Nike Shox Rivalry Men Black Shoes,Nike Flex Fury 2 Mens University Red/Black/Total Crimson/White Running Shoes V82097,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Nike Roshe One Mens Daring Red/Black/Gym Red/Team Red Running Shoes V49019,Authentic 197974 Nike Zoom Hyperdunk Low Men Black White Red Shoes,Adidas Pure Boost Womens Maroon/Maroon/Solar Orange Running Shoes V63033,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Nike Legend Poly Tight 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, Nike Air Max Sequent Womens Bright Mango/White/Bright Crimson Running Shoes V42437,Comfortable 218755 Nike Zoom Kobe V Men White Green Shoes,Nike Air Max Thea Womens Radiant Emerald/Fiberglass Running Shoes V72097,, 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 Free 5.0 2015 Womens Violet Ash/White/Hyper Orange/Black Running Shoes V84334,Comfortable 174071 Nike Zoom Kobe VIII Basketball Men Green Black Shoes,Men's Nike Air Max Invigor Game Royal/White UK#N5-8982,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Nike Kids Sunray Adjust 4 Black/Bright Crimson/Gym Red UK#N5-9618,Comfortable 190220 Onitsuka Tiger By Asics Mexico 66 Men Black White Shoes,Women's Nike Free 5.0 TR Fit Wash Deep Royal/Metallic Silver UK#N5-9535,.

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 Youth Back To School Bubble Jacket CP422,Cheap 171616 Puma Bmw Motorsport Men Black Shoes,Nike Junior Free Run 2 Trainer CP625,.

Wholesale Trade Nike Kobe X Elite(Elevate)Mens Shoes Wolf Grey/White/Light Retro Basketball Sneakers 3lp3Ismh

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Kickers Nursery Kick High Core Boot CP780,Cheap 172622 Nike Air Max Unisex White Black Mango Shoes,Condemned Nation Hazuki Pique Hooded Top CP979,. "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. "The North Face Drew Peak Hooded Top CP1161,Authentic 183067 Adidas Originals Court Attitude Casual Women Pink Blue Shoes,D-Struct Terro Tech Bomber Jacket CP1335,."

Authentic dwe3c 9eyxgx August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Red 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.Pretty Green Kingsway Harrington Jacket CP1499,Comfortable 174894 Air Jordan VI Original Women White Infrared Black Shoes,Brave Soul Edwin Denim Short CP2096,. 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.

"Condemned Nation Primo Swim Short CP2300,Buy 208221 New Balance Classics Wl315 Women White Blue Shoes,Timberland 6 Inch Premium Boot CP3757,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Lyle & Scott Connell Twill Shoe CP3926,Buy 216828 New Balance WW928 Women White Mesh Shoes,adidas Originals Seeley Woven Trainer CP4080,," 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.

Buy 2edsd y3u25a August Deals Superstar Mens

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

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Leather Trainer CP4276,Authentic 212214 Nike Air Max Women Purple Jade Pink Shoes,Cruyff Puente Hi Trainer CP4430,, 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 93 Trainer CP4620,Comfortable 217302 Nike Air Max 247 Women Red Black Shoes,Nike Jordan Westbrook 0 Trainer CP4801,, 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.

Buy s6pk2 kqii7u August Deals Nike Air Presto Mens 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, Reebok Furylite Tonal Trainer CP4999,Buy 174389 Nike Classic Cortez Nylon Qs Aloha Women Green Black Shoes,Kickers Womens Kopey High Leather Boot CP5164,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Womens Shoes adidas Volley Response Boost Black/Silver Metallic/Power Red,Authentic 197023 Nike Classic Cortez Nylon Women Coal Black Shoes,Womens Boots Aerosoles Easy Rider Brown,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Womens Sandals Aerosoles Wip About Coral Combo,Shopping 161745 Nike Free Run 2 Women Cerise White Anthracite Shoes,Womens Boots ALDO Genn Taupe,," 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.

Womens Shoes ALDO Nika Bluette,Authentic 154465 Nike Lunarelite 2 Women Black Pink Shoes,Womens Shoes Anne Klein Petrica Gold Sprinkles,.

Cheap d4giv ihht6v August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Purple 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."

Womens Shoes Badgley Mischka Lacie Navy Satin,Adidas Bounce Titan 2013 Men Coupon_036,Womens Sandals C Label Tash-11 Black,.

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.

Womens Sandals Calvin Klein Linnette Natural Snake Print Leather,Adidas Originals JS Men Coupon_147,Womens Shoes Calvin Klein Nalani Silver/Platinum White Painted Snake Metallic,.

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

Womens Boots CARLOS by Carlos Santana Lorenza Black,Adidas Springblade 2013 Men Coupon_271,Womens Boots Clarks Fernwood Lake Dark Brown Combination Leather,.

Cheap z64nd actwfy August Deals Nike Air Max 1 Mens Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Womens Sandals Clarks InMotion Sail Black,Asics Running Shoes Men Coupon_369,Womens Shoes Clarks Keesha Luca Burgundy Patent Leather,. 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,Womens Boots COACH Sage Black/Cherry Rubber,Christian Louboutin Sale Women Coupon_482,Womens Shoes COACH Kia Chalk,, 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, Womens Boots Cole Haan Graham Short Boot Sequoia Suede,Christian Louboutin Sale Women Coupon_627,Womens Sandals Cole Haan Arlette Wedge II Red Leather/Chestnut Leather/Jute,.

Discount ra8ga uz5qgv August Deals ZX 850 Womens 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. Womens Shoes Cole Haan Cortland Detail Ballet II Maple Sugar/Gold Metallic,Jimmy Choo Bridal Women Coupon_740,Womens Boots ECCO Touch 55 Tall Buckle Boot Coffee/Coffee,.

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. Womens Shoes ECCO Crisp II MJ Black/Black,Jimmy Choo Sandals Women Coupon_853,Womens Sandals GUESS Guavva Silver,, 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," Womens Boots Hunter W Original Chelsea RMA US Thundercloud,Platforms Jimmy Choo Women Coupon_989,Womens Shoes Naturalizer Patricia Brown Printed Snake/Oxford Brown Smooth,.

Family ties

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

Online hy693 w7z852 August Deals Nike Air Max 95 Mens 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, Womens Shoes New Balance W1080v5 Silver/Purple,New Balance Men Coupon_1073,Womens Shoes New Balance Classics 515 - Polo Red,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Womens Shoes Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32 Menta/Liquid Lime/Ghost Green/Black,New Balance 574 Men Coupon_1216,Womens Shoes Nike Zoom Winflo 2 Black/Fierce Purple/White/Bright Crimson,, 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. 

Online 2phxf fnw3au August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Red

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. Womens Sandals PATRIZIA Tahir Black,New Balance Women Coupon_1377,Womens Shoes PUMA Asha Alt 2 Shine Blue Coral/Clearwater,.  

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, Womens Sandals Rocket Dog Pascal Pink Gummy Bear,New Balance 574 Women Coupon_1499,Womens Boots Sam Edelman Josephine 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," Womens Shoes Sam Edelman Elizabeth Jute,New Balance 997 Women Coupon_1540,Unisex Shoes Superga 2750 Cotfanu Flower Multi,."

Womens Boots UGG Patten Black,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Womens Boots UGG Sierra Sparkles Black Sequins,MEN'S SHOE NIKE AIR MAX 95 ULTRA JACQUARD 749771-001,Womens Slippers UGG Scuffette II Metallic Conifer Navy Suede,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Womens Sandals Vaneli Marsie Ecru Nappa/Gold Buckle/Mtch Zipper,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Womens Shoes Vaneli Akila Grey Ecco Suede/Black Saffiano Royal 85,Men's Shoe Nike Air Zoom Odyssey 2 844545-401,Womens Shoes Vaneli Bonie Black Suede/Gold Studs,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Hurley Tribe Bralette,Men's Shoe Nike Hypershift 844369-606,Nike Dri-FIT Sport Essentials Heather Full-Zip,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Women's Farm Tukana Boyfriend Trefoil Tee,Men's Shoe Nike Train Speed 4 Amp (Duke) 844102-410,Nike 5" Wildhorse,
Women's Germany Graphic Tee,Men's Training Shoe Nike Free Trainer 1.0 807436-610,Hurley Sable,
  • Shopping 176303 Nike Air Force 1 Women White Grey Green Shoes
  • Nike Kobe 8 System Christmas Pack Snake Grey Basketball Shoes 3128196
  • Low Price Nike Sb Hyperfeel Koston 3 Skateboard Shoes For Men Black White N38v7555
  • Nike Flyknit Lunar 1 Men Running Shoes Green/Black/White /Nike Jordan [ N2300]
  • Men's - Nike MLB Game Element 1 2 Zip Top - Royal 3CP9725 - Los Angeles Dodgers - Clothing
  • Get Adidas Rita Ora Superstar 80S - Core Black / Ftwr White / Bright Yellow Footwear
  • For Sale Clearance GABRIELAB Gradient Cotton Jacquard - Black / Red women's Leggings - 15YV546
  • Timberland PROPower Train
  • Mens Nike Air Max Punching Blue Shoe Best Sale
  • Womens Nike Air Max 90 White Azure Shoe Sale Shop
  • Nike Force Sky High - Women's - Basketball - Shoes - Black/Metallic Hematite/White/White
  • Women Max 2016-0010
  • Puma Fierce Bright Women's Training Shoes Pink Glo-Pink Glo O70e7719
  • UK Original Product - Vans Checkerboard Slip-On Mens Shoes Black/Black Check
  • Nike Wms Air Force 1 '07 Prm Pink
  • Men's - Nike Air Rift Black / White-Neo Lime Shoes
  • Anti-cold Air Jordan 7 Men Resellers Spotted Air Jordan 6 7 GMP Wall of Shame Original Air Jordan 7 VII Bugs Bunny White Black air jordan 13 retro 2018 release black varsity red
  • Men's Kobe XI Elite Rainbow
  • Nike Dynasty (MLB Giants) 00033462X-GS1 Black
  • Adidas Shoes Sale Adizero Prime Ltd black/core black/footwear white AD 5454