Authentic 181428 New Balance Classics Wl574 Women 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 Elite 8 Mens Black/Wolf Grey/Dark Grey/White Running Shoes V37753,Comfortable 206674 Nike Classic Cortez Nylon Women Pink Red Shoes,Adidas Pure Boost X Womens Shock Blue/Halo Blue/Shock Pink Running Shoes V74486,. 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, Adidas Gymbreaker Bounce Trainer Womens Black/Night Metallic/Super Purple Training Shoes V23429,Shopping 232371 Nike Air Max Tailwind Women White Grey Pink Shoes,Nike Air Max 2016 Womens Summit White/White/Black Running Shoes V79625,.

"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 Free Rn Distance Womens Black/Multi Running Shoes V22715,Cheap 218339 Nike Flyknit Air Max Women Black White Purple Green Shoes,Nike Zoom Wildhorse 3 Womens Cool Grey/Anthracite/Persian Violet/Black Running Shoes V46480,, 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. Men's Nike Flex 2015 RN Flash Black/Wolf Grey/Hyper Orange/Metallic Silver UK#N5-9568,Authentic 220938 Nike Free Run 3 Women Yellow Grey White Shoes,Nike Kids Zoom Pegasus 32 Black/Dark Grey/Pure Platinum/White UK#N5-9612,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Converse Horizontal Zip Backpack CP36,Inexpensive 189110 Nike Lunarglide 3 Women Grey Black Sonic Yellow Silver Shoes,Converse Infant Chuck Taylor All Star Ox Trainer CP479,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Authentic rvyhn nzzv4q August Deals Nike Air Max 1 Womens 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 Junior Air Jordan 4 Retro Trainer CP628,Adidas Bounce Titan 2013 Men Coupon_029,Toms Nursery Classic Slip On Espadrille CP799,, 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.

Creative Recreation Grevilla Zip Hooded Top CP1005,Adidas Clima Cool 5th Men Coupon_097,Pursue Fitness Classic Fit Zip Hooded Top CP1145,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Carhartt Anchorage Parka Jacket CP1284,Adidas Porsche Design III Men Coupon_175,Luke 1977 Fluff Nut Bomber Jacket CP1446,.

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, Condemned Nation Triple Knitted Cardigan CP1789,Adidas Springblade 2013 Men Coupon_275,Good For Nothing Tennis Short CP2142,.

Buy hfix5 zwu3bc Cheap Adidas Superstar Womens Pink Shoes

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Ellesse Zobi Shell Top CP3546,Asics Running Shoes Men Coupon_378,Timberland 6 Inch Premium Jacquard Boot CP3771,. "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. "Timberland Classic Boat Shoe CP3933,Christian Louboutin Sale Women Coupon_487,adidas Originals Superstar Vulcanised ADV Trainer CP4126,."

Cheap 2d9wx ztqw8g August Deals Nike Free 50 Womens 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.Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Ox Mono Trainer CP4270,Christian Louboutin Sale Women Coupon_588,Fred Perry Stratford Canvas Trainer CP4450,. 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 Max Thea Trainer CP4602,Jimmy Choo Bridal Women Coupon_708,Nike Koth Ultra Low Trainer CP4765,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Puma Disc Blaze 'Bright Pack' Trainer CP4923,Jimmy Choo Pumps Women Coupon_806,Vans Old Skool Cork Twill Trainer CP5105,," 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.

Cheap vaira xwa6g4 August Deals Nike Roshe Run Womens

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

Womens Sandals adidas Cloudfoam Ultra Thong Flash Orange/White/Solar Pink,Jimmy Choo Sandals Women Coupon_895,Unisex Shoes adidas by Juun. J Perf Leather ZX8000 Low JJ FTWR White/FTWR White/FTWR White,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Womens Sandals Aerosoles Power Of Love Safari Print,Jimmy Choo Wedges Women Coupon_968,Womens Shoes Aerosoles A2 by Aerosoles Lollipowp 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.

Discount gvrsv iptmer August Deals Nike Air Max Tavas Womens 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, Womens Boots ALDO Cirede Black Nubuck,New Balance 373 Men Coupon_1096,Womens Boots Anne Klein Dvorah Black Leather,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Womens Shoes Anne Klein Ovido Black Reptile,New Balance 574 Men Coupon_1167,Womens Shoes Badgley Mischka Mitzi Ivory Satin,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Womens Sandals C Label Rollin-14 Teal,New Balance 751 Men Coupon_1298,Womens Sandals Calvin Klein Udela Platinum White/Greige Leather,," 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 Calvin Klein Shanti Black Patent/Kid Suede,New Balance 373 Women Coupon_1413,Womens Shoes Calvin Klein Gailia Steel,.

Online 6zua3 ki5hbx August Deals Nike Air Max Thea Mens 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 CARLOS by Carlos Santana Veruca Leopard,New Balance 574 Women Coupon_1493,Womens Sandals Clarks Palima Palm Black Leather,.

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 Shoes Clarks Amelia Page White Leather,Nike Derrick Rose Men Coupon_1634,Womens Shoes Clarks Crewso Riley Nude,.

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 Sandals COACH Alyssa Black/Natural/Rubber/Wild Beast,Nike Derrick Rose Men Coupon_1653,Womens Shoes COACH Bowery Metallic Green/Black Patent Pearl/Nappa,.

Online svt5h p5qcxp August Deals Superstar Mens Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Womens Boots Cole Haan Tali Grand Tall Boot 40 Extended Calf Black,Nike Kobe Bryant Men Coupon_1795,Womens Shoes Cole Haan Chelsea Black Heel Pump Orchid Ocelot Print Haircalf,. 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 Shoes Cole Haan Tali Luxe Smoking Slipper Wedge Blazer Blue Velvet,Men's Basketball Shoe Jordan Rising High 2 844065-006,Womens Sandals ECCO Sport FYM Sandal Moon Rock,, 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 Shoes ECCO Golf Biom Golf at 6pm.com,Men's Cleat Nike Force Lunarbeast Pro TD 833421-100,Womens Shoes GUESS Avocadoo Blue,.

Outlet mnspk em6tex Cheap Adidas Superstar Womens White 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. Womens Boots Naturalizer Joan Antiba Green Leather,Men's Nike Air Max 90 Ultra BR Shoe 725222-403,Womens Shoes Naturalizer Debra Tender Taupe Leather,.

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 New Balance WT101V1 Grey/Pink,Men's Nike G SHOE NIKE FREE TRAINER 3.0 V4 749374-800,Womens Shoes New Balance Classics CW620 Navy Suede/Mesh,, 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 Shoes Nike Juvenate Total Orange/White/Laser Orange,Men's Nike shos Air Jordan 9 Retro 833798-103,Womens Shoes Nike Air Zoom Elite 8 Hyper Orange/Opti Yellow/Light Voltage Yellow II/Black,.

Family ties

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

Sale ev8qm p4rdhg Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens Shoes 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 Sandals PATRIZIA Anoush Black,Men's Running Shoe Nike Free RN Distance 827115-005,Womens Shoes PUMA Match Vulc Black/Fair Aqua,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Womens Boots Rocket Dog Snowcrush Charcoal Suede,Men's Shoe Air Jordan 9 Retro Low 832822-401,Womens Shoes Rocket Dog Sparkley Black Odyssey,, 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. 

UK 52rsu 48pwgk August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Essential Womens

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 Shoes Sam Edelman Lynn Hot Coral,Men's Shoe Nike Air Force 1 Comfort Lux Low 805300-600,Womens Shoes Saucony Velocity Mint/Vizicoral,.  

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 Shoes Superga 2095 Fancotu Grafitti White/Black,Men's Shoe Nike Air Max Goaterra 365970-666,Womens Boots UGG Danae Black Leather,. 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 Boots UGG Grandle Chestnut,Men's Shoe Nike Archive 83.M LX 819517-055,Womens Boots Vaneli Laban Black Nappa/Mtch Zipper,."

Womens Sandals Vaneli Baina Black Ferns Patent,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Womens Shoes Vaneli Gervasy Black Mag Patent/Gunmetal Buckle,Women's Shoe Nike Air Rift Black,Unisex Shoes Vans SK8-Hi Reissue (Denim C&L) Navy,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Active Bathrobe,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

LeBron Therma-FIT Full-Zip,Women's Shoe Nike Juvenate Woven Premium 833825-001,Women's Running Track Top,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Nike 5" Distance,Nike Flex Fury 2 Boys Toddler Racer Blue/White/Wolf Grey/Deep Royal Blue Running Shoes V72009,Men's Sweden Graphic Tee,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Nike Graphic,Adidas D Lillard 2.0 Boys Grade School White/Black/Scarlet Basketball Shoes V88425,Hurley Dri-FIT Graphic,
Various Sizes Nike Roshe Run Frgmt 3 Fragment Design Retro Mesh Gauze Shoes First Mens Light Gray Blue MRMXlFez,Nike Air Max Sequent Boys Grade School Racer Blue/Racer Blue/Midnight Navy/White Running Shoes V7129,Authentic a34zk gmna5b Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens Black Shoes,
  • New Balance Men Coupon_1013
  • Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly CR Exclusive Personal TF Cleats White Red Black Green Gold 3130063
  • 18 Sound ND1080 1" 8ohm Diaphragm
  • Nike Zoom Lj4 Long Jump Men's Long Jump Spikes White Blue COMUK:8119
  • ASICS Men's Gel-Super J33 2 - Black - Lightweight running shoes
  • Men's/Women's ADIDAS YEEZY BOOST 350 V2 Blue Tint Tint/Grey Three/Hi-Res Red Shoes B37571
  • Puma Womens Logo Full Zip Hoody Rose Red
  • Adidas Originals Extaball Shoes Core Black For Women
  • Mens Nike Zoom Lebron Solider Vii Moon Red Shoe Fast Delivery
  • Brooks Women’s Glycerin 15 Gymnastics Shoes B01MSJKI5Y
  • Women Nike Air Max Awesome 2016 Foil Violet Club Black Pink Silver Purple
  • Mens/Womens Adidas NMD R1 Runner Fashion TRACE CARGO Core Black Trail Olive BA7251
  • 2016 Sale Nike Air Max 90 Trainers Mens Nsw Olympic
  • 2018 Cheap Nike Shoes x Air Jordan 11 Leopard Print Black Yellow Red White Grey
  • Nike Revolution 2 Children Athletic Shoes Wolf Grey / Silver Black / Grey / Metallic Wolf
  • Men's - Nike Air Epic Vintage Black / Sport Grey-Sail-Anthracite Shoes
  • Air Jordan Fusion 5 Kids GS White Carrot Lemon Sneakers
  • Men's NIKE AIR ZOOM PEGASUS 33 SHIELD Cool Grey/Wolf Grey/Blue Glow/Black
  • Nike Pro Combat Hyperstrong Slider 1.5 634677-480 Game Royal/Game Royal/Volt
  • Puma Shoes Sale Court Star - Clean Pack beige/marzipan/black PU 6134