Brand New Asics Gel Lyte 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

Air Jordan 6 VI Retro Mens Glowing Shoes White Black Red,Asics Gel-Sonoma 3 G-TX Gore-Tex Black Red Men Running Shoes Trainers T727N-2390,Air Max 2012 Breathable Mens Shoes Black White,. 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, Air Max 90 Mens Shoes Cheap Wholesale Black White Orangered,Asics GT-2000 4 Running Athletic Training Shoes Men's Size 11.5 2E,Air Max 95 Mens Shoes Wholesale Black White,.

"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, Air Max Ltd 2 Mens Shoes Red White,NEU Asics Gel Kanaku 2 Herren Trail Laufschuhe Sportschuhe Turnschuhe T51QQ 4804,Buy Cheap Nike KD 6 2014 Flowers Black Mens Shoes,, 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. Buy Cheap Nike Kobe 9 2014 Low Gold Black Mens Shoes,Ronnie Fieg Asics 8 Ball,Buy Nike Air Max 1 Men's Running Shoe Grey/White-Total Orange,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Cheap Nike Kyrie 1 2015 Black White Basketball Shoes Sale,TF-375 ASICS GT 2000 4 - T606N-0790 SIZE 10,Cheap Sale Nike Air Presto ACG Mens Shoes Wool Skin Online Shopping Grey Black,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Nike Lunar Flow LSR PRM Gray 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, Discount Nike Air Jordan 6 Kids White Pink Black,Nike Air Huarache Light Shoes Mens Navy Blue Grey N69895,Fashion Nike Tiempo Legend Elite White Black Blue,, 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.

Hot Nike Hypervenom Phantom Tf Boots Green Purple Citrus,Nike Air Huarache Utility Shoes Mens Black Light Red Black N24344,Men's Air Griffey Max 2.5 in 25570,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Men's Nike Zoom Rookie LWP binary Blue Shoes in 27822,Nike Air Max 90 Leather Shoes Mens Black N12516,New Release Nike Air Jordan Spizike 3.5 Mens Shoes Black Purple,.

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 Flight Posite black/silver Sneaker For Men in 51426,Nike Air Stab Shoes Mens Grey Grey Dark Grey Green N58552,Nike Air Jordan 4 IV Mens Shoes White Red Sale,.

Nike Wmns Air Rift BR Black

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Nike Air Jordan Transformers Series Shoes Jordan Transformers Shoes 3 On Sale,Nike Benassi Solarsoft 2 Slippers Mens Red Grey N79725,Nike Air Max 2014 Kids Shoes Online for Sale Purple,. "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 Hyperfuse Prm Mens Shoes White Blue Black,Nike Free Hypervenom 2 Fs Shoes Mens Blue White Navy Blue N42488,Nike Air Max Darwin 360 Mens Shoes For Sale Cheap,."

Puma Fierce Fenty Trainer by Rihanna Gray 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.Nike Air Max LeBron X 10 Sneakers For Men in 72667,Nike Hurley Phantom Free Flip Flops Mens Orange N74036,Nike Air Max TN I Mens Shoes Charming white black,. 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 TN I Mens Shoes Youth white black,Nike Jordan Hydro Vii Retro Slippers Mens Grey Maroon Red N59172,Nike Air Total Max Uptempo Mens Shoes White Blue,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Nike Dunk SB 2012 New High Cut Mens Shoes Killer white black red,Nike Killshot Vintage Vintage Shoes Mens White Light Brown White Black N95839,Nike Free Powerlines II Mens Shoes Blue Silver,," 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.

Vans x Kishimoto SK8-HI Slim Multi

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 Hypervenom Phelon AG Soccer Boots Cleates black orange,Nike Roshe One Print Shoes Mens Green Green White N54086,Nike Kobe VII(6) Shoes in 20274,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Nike Lunar Hyperdunk 2012 Olympic Low Basketball Shoes For Men in 91949,Nike Sb Lunar Stefan Janoski Skateboarding Shoes Mens Obsidian White Black N72957,Nike Roshe Run HYP QS Mens Light Weight Mesh Light Green Air Force Blue Low Running Shoes Cheap Sale,, 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 Runeo 10K 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 Zoom KD V 5 Elite Mens Shoes Green,Nike Zoom Penny Vi Premium Shoes Mens Red White Black N83316,Nike Zoom Kobe VII Soldier in 55349,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Popular Mercurial Veloce Ag Blue Volt Blue,Adidas Training adissage Bostoncloud Slides Core Black Solar Slime Neo Iron For Men,To Buy Air Max 2012 Mens Shoes Leather Outlet Sliver Black,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Wholesale Air Max TN I Mens Shoes black red,Nike Lunar Trainer 1 Training Shoes Black Volt White For Men,Vans Era LX White/Red Trainers for MAN,," 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.

Adidas Originals Superstar 80s Pioneers Nigo White/White/Core White Trainers for MAN,Timberland Earthkeepers Bradstreet Plain Toe Oxford Shoes Black Smooth For Men,Adidas Originals Stan Smith Core Black/Vintage White Sneakers for MAN,.

Nike Air Max Siren Print 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 Air Presto Fleece Tumbled Grey/Black/Anthracite/White Trainers for MAN,Timberland Earthkeepers City 6 Inch Zip Boots Burnished Black For Men,PUMA Serve Perf Black Trainers for MAN,.

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.

Vans Old Skool Navy Trainers for MAN,Timberland Hollbrook Leather Slide Sandals Brown For Men,Nike Lunar Force 1 ,.

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

Saucony Courageous Green Sneakers for MAN,Nike Zoom Vapor 9 5 Tour Tennis Shoes Photo Blue Hyper Punch Black White For Men,Nike Air Max 90 QS Viola/Fucshia Glow/Chilling Red Running Shoes for WOMAN,.

Timberland  PROPower Train Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Nike Roshe run Hi PRM Black/Dark Grey Sneakers for WOMAN,Nike SFB Trainer Boot British Khaki British Khaki For Men,2018 NIKE Really Cool LEBRON 15 IN promotion EMBROIDERED Factory FLORAL PRINTS Shoes,. 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,Classic Nike Air Max 98 OG White/Team Hot Orange-Met Silver 640744-104,Nike Dunk CMFT Shoes Lyon Blue White Black For Men,Discount Authentic 315371-072 Mens Nike Air Jordan Spizike Shoes Black/Gold Dust Stealth-Light Graphite White,, 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, Discount Authentic 512245-030 Mens Nike Air Jordan Son Of Mars Shoes Olympic Grey/Maize-Charcoal-Sapphire-Red-Black,Nike Air Stab Shoes Black Anthracite Blue Lagoon Hot Pink For Men,Discount Authentic Kids Nike Air Jordan 8 Airforce 1 Shoes All White,.

Lyle & Scott Riley Track Top Red - Mens Track Tops 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. Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air force 1 Low Shoes White/Black/Brown,Nike Air Force 1 Shoes Cool Grey White Black For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 12 Size 15 Shoes Black/White,.

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. Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 3.5 Shoes White/Black/Blue/Red,Nike Air Flight 89 Shoes Game Royal White cheap for sale For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 9 Air Jordan 13 Shoes Dark Blue/Dark Grey,, 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 Mens Nike Air Max 180 Shoes Black/White,Nike Magista Onda Indoor Competition Soccer Shoes Black Blue Lagoon Volt White For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 2011 Shoes Black/Dark Grey/Silver,.

Family ties

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

Asics Gel-Ds Trainer 19 Black Green 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, Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 24-7 Shoes Brown/Black/Grey,Nike Skateboarding Eric Koston 2 Premium Shoes Black Light Ash Grey Black For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 90 Black/Red/White,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 90 White/Pink,Nike Dunk Low Warmth Shoes Black Black Hyper Grape Ivory For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max Alpha 2012 Shoes Black/Grey/White/Lime,, 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. 

Asics 33 Grey Blue Womens Shoes

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 Max Jordan 2 Shoes White/Red/Black,Nike LunarEclipse 4 Running Shoes Hyper Jade Seaweed Pure Platinum Reflect Silver For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max LTD Shoes Black/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, Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max TN Shoes Black/White/Green,Nike Air Max 2015 Running Shoes Black Bright Crimson Blue Lagoon White For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk High Shoes Black/White/Red/Other Colors,. 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 Dunk High Shoes Red/White/Black,Adidas Outdoor Brushwood Leather Black Shapp Grey For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Free 3.0 Amphibious Running Shoes Black/White,."

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Free Run+ 2 Running Shoes Black/White,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Shox NZ Shoes Offwhite/Grey/Silver,2015 Hot Nike Air Max 87 Thea Flyknit Mens Shoes Online Outlet Running Shoes Black Red,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Shox R4 Shoes White/Black/Brilliant Silver,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Kids Nike Air Jordan 12 Flu Game Bred 2016 Receipt XII Retro Black sales Red 130690-002 New York Basketball Shoes cheaps,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Nike Nikelab ACG.07 promotion KMTR Clearance Komyuter Cool For Grey Magenta Lab QS 902776-002,2015 Latest Nike Roshe Run Flyknit Mens Running Shoes Outlet Gray,VANS CLASSIC TEE - GREY VANS VEST MENS,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Discounts Nike Breathe Elite L/S Top White/Black For Men Sale,2015 New Nike Air Jordan 4 IV Mens Shoes Grey Blue,New Nike Nba Club Wordmark Hoodie Black For Men Outlet,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Stylish Jordan 23 Tech Long Sleeve Top Armory Navy/Black For Men Online Sale,2015 Newest Nike Air Jordan XX9 29 Future Sneakers Fusion Pink/White-Tropical Teal-Black AJ Mens Shoes Cheap Sale,The Most Popular Nike Nba Club Logo Hoodie Navy For Men Selling Well,
adidas Originals NMD_XR1 PK W Pink,2015 Nike Air Jordan 6 Latest Low Sneakers Black Red Basketball Shoes On Sale,Converse All Star Basic Ox Black,
  • Authentic 229674 Nike Free Run 2 Men Black Navy White Shoes
  • Vans Authentic Decon - Trainers - Black W36o2683 online without sale tax
  • Orlebar Brown Men Flip Flops Dark Blue 747506
  • Cheap Nike Hyperdunk 2017 Flyknit Black red Sale
  • Gold Under Armour Curry 1 Lux Mid - Blackout Navy Blackout Navy 5YV8800 - Men's - Curry Stephen - Basketball - Shoes
  • Ariat Mens Work Boots Bruin Brown
  • Nike Dunk Shoes hot sale UK
  • Latest Converse Golf Le Fleur Essentials Hoodie Egret For Men Outlet
  • Nike Mens Air Jordan Hydro 5 Slide Sandals White Black Red Massage Slippers Shoes
  • Nike WMNS Air Presto PRM Oatmeal
  • Stylish Hispanitas Sarah 7 High Boots Black For Women On Sale
  • Jordan Melo Design M13 Black Gold
  • 2017 Womens Nike Sneakers Men's Nike Air Zoom Elite 8 Total Orange/Ghost Green/Voltage Green/Black Shoes Canada QHM1201544
  • Pumps & Heels Women Charles by Charles David Falcon Platform Pump Black New Exclusive
  • Package Adidas Originals EQT ZX 10000 Adidas Originals ZX 8000 ADIDAS ZX750 BLUEBIRD DARK SLATE Jebiga Design
  • Mens Adidas Shoes Adidas Ultra Boost Shoes Black Sky Blue No.1944
  • Boots Men Bearpaw Patriot Boot Tan Wholesale Sale
  • Nike Air Force 1 07 Mid Players Edition White Midnight Navy
  • Nike Air Max Sequent Running Shoes Men Dark Grey/Metallic/White
  • [S83350] Adidas Superstar Pharrell Supersh Ftw White Yellow Mens Sneaker Sz 10.5 White [Dl1331]