Beautiful Mens adidas Performance Ace 17.4 In Indoor Football Boots Black 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

Latest of 2018 Mens Pier One Lace-Ups Grey,Cheap Mens Reebok Classic Classic Trainers Shoes BlueLimited Mens Asics Tiger Gel-Lyte V Trainers Shoes Grey,. 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, Limited Mens Merrell Waterpro Maipo Hiking Shoes Black,Cheapest Mens adidas Performance X 16.3 Fg Football Boots BlueLimited Mens Pier One Trainers Black,.

"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, Limited Mens Zign Lace-Ups Black,Cheapest Mens Iceberg Norton Trainers Shoes WhiteLuxury Mens YOURTURN Trainers Blue,, 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. New Arrivals Mens Mustang Trainers White,Cheap Mens Supra Method Trainers Shoes Light GreyNew Arrivals of Mens Zign Boots Boots Sand,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. New Style Mens Nike Golf Fi Flex Golf Shoes Red,Cheapest Mens Globe Gs Chukka Trainers Shoes Mottled OliveNew Style of 2018 Mens Hunter High-Top Trainers Black,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour Light Base Grey/Base Grey/Laser Crimson/White(Men) Model 91144 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, New Style of 2018 Mens YOURTURN Trainers Oliv,Cheapest Mens Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High-Top Trainers KhakiNewest Mens Ted Baker Kiing Casual Lace-Ups Dark 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.

Official Mens Quiksilver Shorebreak Trainers Shoes Grey,Cheapest Mens Lacoste Europa Trainers Shoes Dark BlueOfficial Sale60% Off Mens KIOMI Lace-Ups White,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Official Website- Mens adidas Originals Stan Smith Trainers Shoes Red,Cheapest Mens Preventi Marcho Lace-Ups Shoes Dark BrownOfficial Website- Mens Polo Ralph Lauren Faxon Trainers Shoes Black,.

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, Original Mens Element Heatley Skater Shoes Black,Cheapest Mens Mustang Trainers BeigeOriginal Mens TOMS Avalon Trainers Shoes Grey,.

Asics Gel-Flux 2 Carbon/Lightning/Red(Men) Model 69583

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Provide Mens Avelar by PB Erna Smart Lace-Ups Black,Cheapest Price For Mens adidas Originals Nmd_Xr1 Trainers Shoes BlackProvide Mens Piola Ica Trainers Shoes White,. "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. "Purchase Mens Bugatti Lace-Ups Dark Grey,Cheapest Price For Mens adidas Performance Powerlift.3 Sports Shoes RedPurchase Mens Crocs Trainers Khaki,."

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Surf the Web/White/Classic Green(Men) Model 40855 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.Purchase Mens Nike Performance Lunarstelos Neutral Running Shoes Grey,Cheapest Price For Mens Caterpillar Atchison Walking Sandals BlackPurchase Mens Reebok All Terrain Super 3.0 Trail Running Shoes Grey,. 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.

"Real Mens Dr. Martens Pressler Trainers Shoes Red,Cheapest Price For Mens Diadora N-6100-4 Neutral Running Shoes YellowRetail Mens Columbia Manarola T-Bar Sandals Brown,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Retail Mens Havaianas Origine Iii Slip-Ons Shoes Oliv,Cheapest Price For Mens Zign Lace-Ups CognacRetail Mens Versace Collection Lace-Ups 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.

New Balance 1080V5 Silver/Optic Blue(Men) Model 30345

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

Select 100% Quality Mens adidas Performance Messi 16.3 Fg Football Boots Blue,Cheapest Price For Mens Wrangler Trainers TaupeSelect Low Price Mens Asics Tiger Gel-Respector Trainers Shoes Off-White,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Select Low Price Mens Zign Lace-Up Boots Cognac,Clearance Mens Kamik Silverlake Walking Sandals BlackShop the Fashionable Mens Clarks Triflow Form Trainers Shoes 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.

Adidas ZX 8000 25th Anniversary Mens Trainers Black Dark Grey White Green 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, Top Quality Mens adidas Performance Cosmic Neutral Running Shoes Blue,Clearance Mens Dr. Martens Adrian Slip-Ons Shoes BlackWholesale Mens adidas Performance Copa Tango 17.1 Tf Astro Turf Trainers Red,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Wholesale Mens Hackett London Pembrook Trainers Shoes Grey,Clearance Mens Puma Speed 300 S Ignite Neutral Running Shoes BlackNike Air Force 1 07 Lv8 Men Blue,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Timberland Amherst High Top Men Blue,Clearance Sale For Mens Calvin Klein Tyrus Moccasins BlackConverse Star Player Men 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.

Nike Tennis Classic Ac Nd Men White,Clearance Sale For Mens Salomon Crossamphibian Swift Neutral Running Shoes BlackADIDAS SPRINTFRAME MENS BASKETBALL SHOES SIZE 10 1/2 MINT !!!,.

Unisex Adidas Spezial Light Grey Suede 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."

adidas D Rose 6 Boost Hero Horizontal VI mens basketball shoes NEW black white,Clearance Sale For Mens YOURTURN Trainers WhiteADIDAS MASTER ST II ORIGINALS Black/Wht Shoes Sneakers Mens US 11 UK 10.5 EUR 45,.

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.

AQ6521 Adidas Running Shoes Sneakers Trainers Madoru m 2 Black 2016 17 Men,Discount Mens adidas Originals Stan Smith Trainers Shoes WhiteMens Adidas D Rose 773 III Basketball Shoes Size 12 White Black C75720,.

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

2010 Nike Zoom Lebron v(5) basketball shoes in white and black,Discount Mens Asics Tiger Gel-Respector Trainers Shoes Dark Greymen's nike air max 24-7 black and deep blue shoes,.

Mens Leather Shoes New Balance NB CM1600WG x Boylston Liberty-justice Pack White Grey Orange Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Nike Lebron James VII men's red/black/white training shoe,Discount Mens Kentucky's Western Cowboy/Biker Boots BrownNike Zoom Lebron vi basketball shoes in grey black white logo,. 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,Abito Donna Shop Art XS Blu 17esh32315 Primavera Estate 2017 B072J573TD,Discount Mens Quiksilver Monkey Abyss T-Bar Sandals GreenAlpinestars Sierra Mens Enduro Jersey B07229C1Z8,, 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, Banned Gothic Skulls & Roses Rockabilly Pixie Hoodie B01JOYMVHM,Discount Mens RIVIERAS College Slip-Ons Shoes RedBriggs & Riley Travelware Toiletry Bag Executive 114 B000JO2NWA,.

Nike Air Max Lunar 90 Mens SP 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. Chinese sofa pillow cushion is simple and stylish modern living room lumbar back to the head of the largest pillow kit 45*45-core B072KQDX8M,Discount Mens Shepherd Steffo Slippers BrownCriminal Damage Hammer Trousers (Black/Red) B0037XPPRU,.

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. Dolce & Gabbana - JAZZ DG 3271 Round acetate men B072K3KN6V,Discount Price For Mens adidas Performance Energy Cloud Wtc Neutral Running Shoes RedFast Food Sports Bra B01AC7KQC2,, 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," Gore Alp-x Pro Ws So Zip-off Jersey Black-White 2015 B00MK072HC,Discount Price For Mens camel active Racket Trainers Shoes GreyHighland B00YXQF7CI,.

Family ties

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

Nike Mens Air Max 90 Hyp Premium White/Sky Blue/Gray/Black Mesh Trainers 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, Josef Seibel GmbH Anvers 08 Mens Shoes B002F9M1BU,Discount Price For Mens Lowa Tiago Gtx Mid Walking Boots AnthraciteLee Cooper Workwear S1P Unisex-Adults' Safety Shoes Black 12 UK (46 EU) B008BFTG1K,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Mamas & Papas Stroller Transit Bag - Black B00ESDNX9U,Discount Price For Mens Reebok Classic Classic Trainers Shoes WhiteMomino 3420ms Unisex Kids’ Chelsea Boots B06XG1Z24Q,, 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. 

Nike Air Max 90 Engineered Mesh (EM) Black Blue White Black Blue

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. OBEY Junior's Hopper Playsuit B01MUEOQ7S,Discount Price For Mens Saucony Jazz Original Vintage Trainers Shoes BeigePolo Ralph Lauren PH2083 5260 48-20 Black Medium B01NBNAA88,.  

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, Relic Board Game 161661336X,Discount Price For Mens Wrangler Mitos Trainers Shoes BlackShenbo Men Lace-Up Fashion Trainers B01N6G0R2Q,. 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," Sweet Moments cp-blockrosa-2p Duvet Cover Set 100% Cotton Pink Double 250x 200x 3cm B01MDJTEGH,Fashion Mens Melvin & Hamilton Clark Lace-Ups Shoes CognacUglyfrog #38 Bicycle Cycling Jersey Long Sleeve Men's Bike Autumn with Fleece Triathlon Top B074JYY2TH,."

Vogue VO5060S C53 B01GAU4E0U,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

eeuc-mens Levi's Sneakers-blck-worn 2 hours-size 7.5 - Black,Get Discount Mens Harley Davidson Woodruff Cowboy/Biker Boots BlackLevi's Cooper Hemp 517059 01A Casual Black Men Shoes Size 12 M EU 46.5 AL2433 - Black,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Levi's Men's Jax Hemp Boot - Black,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

LEVI'S NEW Mens Black Tab Runner Shoes BNWT,Get Discount Mens Zign Lace-Up Boots BrownLEVIS 516726-Q66 CODY CASUAL Mn's (M) Black/Indigo Synthetic Lifestyle Shoes - Black/Indigo,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Levis Men's Stan Buck C Comfort Tech Sneaker. Size 9.5 - Black Denim,Good Quality For Mens Base London Woburn Lace-Ups Shoes TanNew LEVI'S Men STAN BUCK Navy Canvas Tennis Shoe Size 9 - Blue,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

VTG MENS LEVI'S MOCCASIN LEATHER SHOES BROWN SIZE 11 - Brown,Good Quality For Mens Lowa Trekker Walking Boots Dark BrownNike SB Blazer Premium SE QS Men Blue,
Nike Air Pegasus 83 Leather Men Black,High Quality For Mens Bugatti Casual Lace-Ups BlackAsics Gel-180 Tr White/Navy/Silver(Men) Model 63986,
  • Cheap 163244 Nike Lunarglide Men Silver Red Shoes
  • Nike Air Jordan 11 Suede Grey White Sneakers 3125793
  • Versace Jeans Men Low-Top Trainers Black 889010
  • Nike Air More Uptempo White Red Men
  • Jordan AJ XXXI Low - Men's - Black White 2XP4884 - Basketball - Shoes
  • Ecco Mens Cleated White/Fire
  • 100% Genuine DSQUARED2 Wool Gabardine With Skirt Panel - Navy Men's Pants - 69BV781
  • Stylish Under Armour Rival Fitted Full Zip Hoodie Red/Black For Men Sale
  • Top Quality slipper KAWS x Air Jordan 4 Cool Grey 930155-003
  • Vans Old Skool Metallic Dots (pink)
  • The Hottest Style New Balance U420 Low Top Trainers Blue For Women
  • LeBron 12 Last XII Slate Sonic Black Grey Silver cheap Yellow
  • Converse Women's Shoes CHUCK TAYLOR ALL STAR - High-top trainers - grey
  • Pumps & Heels Women Adrienne Vittadini Johanna Platform Pump Orange 2017 New Style
  • Oxfords & Lace-Ups Men Puma ST Runner SD Retro Sneaker - Mens Black 2017 New Style
  • Men's Adidas Questar Flyknit Boost Running Shoes Bold Blue/Black For Sale
  • Black Mens Shoes / Nike Free Run 2 Fashion
  • Nike Air Force 1 Premium High Mens Shoes in White/Silver/Red
  • Nike Benassi Jdi Slippers Men Black/Red
  • Best Quality Uomo Nike Air Max Upcoming 2016 Fashion Camo Nere/Bianche Scarpe
  • High Quality For Mens Hummel Sl. Stadil Duo Canvas Low Trainers Shoes Khaki