Boots Men Frank Wright Tidy 7 Eye Boots Brandy Brown Hot 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 Team Strong Low (Black Silver) Sneakers,Asos Black Knightsbridge Wide Fit Over The Knee Boots MXO276126Air Jordan Shoes on Sale Cheap Nike 4 Iv Mens Sale White 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, Air Jordan Retro Mens Shoes Nike 5 V White Purple,Asos Black Java Tie Leg Woven Espadrilles AUZ962326Air Jordan Retro 11 Low Xi Mens Shoes White Red,.

"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 Jordan Nu Retro 1 (Black White Stealth) Sneakers,Asos Black Curve Premium Supersoft Legging In Cotton Modalr ATT130777Air Jordan Jumpman Team Elite White Varsity Red Black Sneakers,, 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. Air Jordan Hydro 5 Retro 854555-105 Bronze Shoes For Sale Online Num: SSS016,Asos Black Crew Neck Sweater In Cottonr ZPT776563Air Jordan Fusion 3 White Metallic Silver Black Varsity Maize Sneakers,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Air Jordan CP3 II (White / Varsity Red / Black) Sneakers,Asos Black & White Twist Square Neck Sweater In Cottons HZO496130Air Jordan 9 New Colors White Blue Orange Shoes,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Adidas Crazy Quick 2 Men Mid Grey/Light Scarlet/White Basketball Shoes 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, Air Jordan 7 Black/True Red-Dark Charcoal-Club Purple For Sale,Ask The Missus Grey Suede Nevermind The Desert Bootsc HZL174138Air Jordan 6 for Sale Vi Retro Mens Shoes Mesh Breathable White 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.

Air Jordan 5 3Lab5 “Elephant Element” Cement Grey/Gamma Blue-Black Cheap For Sale Online,Asics White Navy Silver Gel-Tech Walker Neo 2 KUO101428Air Jordan 4 (IV) Retro-Cool Grey / Chrome-Dark Charcoal-Varsity Maize Sneakers,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Air Jordan 4 - 2013 Anti Fur Red/Black/Grey Shoes,Asics Tiger GT II Mens Shoes BlueAir Jordan 3 (III) Retro-Pure Money (White / Metallic Silver) Sneakers,.

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, Air Jordan 20 (XX) Original (OG)-West (University Blue / White-Black) Sneakers,ASICS Tiger Gel-Lyte V - ZelenAir Jordan 13 Retro Mens White/Black-Varsity Red For Sale Online,.

Adidas Box Hog Mens Black Boxing Sports Shoes Trainers Pumps Black

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Air Jordan 13 (XIII) Retro-Countdown Package 10 / 13 (White / Black-True Red) Sneakers,ASICS Tiger Gel-Lyte III - KrAir Jordan 11 Low Coolest Easter White/Emerald Websites Rise-Black Best,. "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. "Air Jordan 1 Retro High Og "chicago" Classic 555088 101 white/black-varsity red,ASICS Tiger Gel-Diablo OG - BAir Jordan 1 (I) Retro 2001-Black / Black-Metallic Silver Sneakers,."

Adidas Adissage 2.0 Men White/Black/White Slippers 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.AH8050-001 NIKE AIR MAX Comfortable 270 White Black,Asics Tiger Gel Lyte V Mens Shoes BlueAdidasi Training Under Armour Charged Ultimate 2.0 Barbati Albastri (996292BPL),. 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.

"Adidasi Training Nike Jordan Trainer 1 Mici Copii Negrii/Albi/Rosii (270535UQH),Asics Tiger Gel Lyte III Valentines Mens Shoes Black BlueAdidasi Training Adidas Gymbreaker Bounce Dama Negrii/Violet (679803BQY),, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Adidasi Tenis Nike Court Air Vapor Advantage Barbati Negrii/Gri Inchis/Albi (242520ZNM),Asics Tiger Gel Lyte III Mens Shoes BlueAdidasi Skate Nike Sb Zoom Stefan Janoski Canvas Barbati Negrii/Maro Deschis/Aurii/Albi (484851SBF),," 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.

Abs Allen Schwartz Black Gold Jacquard Knit Bodycon w/ Contrast Panels AAM846324

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

Adidasi Puma Suede Copii Roz/Albi/Aurii (716827RJA),Asics Tiger Gel Kayano Trainer EVO Mens Shoes BlackAdidasi Puma Icra Evo Jr. Copii Negrii (512673WBS),, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Adidasi Puma Duplex Evo Ps Copii Albi/Verzi (934191SVA),Asics Tiger Aaron Mens Shoes Black RedAdidasi Outdoor Adidas Terrex Skychaser Barbati Negrii/Gri Inchis/Rosii (280285CUK),, 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.

924 Real Nike Air Jordan 3 Men Black Grey Shoes 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, Adidasi Nike Roshe Two Barbati Negrii (365567ABQ),Asics Nitrofuxe Asics Dark Grey Men AppealingAdidasi Nike Presto Copii Negrii/Albi/Gri (527285ESM),, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Adidasi Nike Jordan Eclipse Barbati Rosii/Negrii/Albi (187313YUX),Asics Mens Shoes / White Black Royal Shoes Asics Gel-Cumulus 15 S55I581rAdidasi Nike Court Classic Dama Negrii/Argintii (868795IVM),. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Adidasi Nike Air Pegasus 89 Jacquard Barbati Negrii/Albi (182672CIH),Asics Mens Shoes / Storm White Rust Shoes Asics Gel-Kayano 20 RK45Yz17Adidasi Nike Air Max 95 Og Dama Maro (329174PZK),," 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.

Adidasi Nike Air Jordan 12 Retro Barbati Albastri/Argintii/Albi (804910VSK),Asics Mens Shoes / Onyx Lightning Red Shoes Asics Gel-Electro33 YY88P6911dAdidasi Baschet Under Armour Longshot Primary School Copii Albi (377789APZ),.

849558-041 Nike Men Air Store Vapormax Flyknit Running Black White stores Blue 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."

Adidasi Asics Lethal Speed Rs Barbati Albi (605590HAL),Asics Mens Shoes / Lightning Electric Royal Black Shoes Asics Gt-1000 UF48Hz1jnAdidasi Alergare Puma Speed 300 Tr Ignite Barbati Albastri (595455LKM),.

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.

Adidasi Alergare Nike Lunartempo 2 Barbati Negrii/Gri Inchis (173059WJA),Asics Mens Shoes / Flash Yellow Black Red Shoes Asics Gel-Sendai 2 EU34Dv11Adidasi Alergare Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 3 Dama Negrii/Gri (199563QHS),.

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

Adidasi Alergare Asics Gt-2000 5 Dama Negrii/Albi (321127GKD),Asics Mens Shoes / Carbon Royal Lightning Shoes Asics Gel-Cumulus 16 Gtx EY25J65w1rAdidasi Alergare Asics Gel-kayano 23 Barbati Negrii/Argintii (797412BIG),.

749688-010 MENS NIKE AIR MAX INVIGOR PRINT RUNNING TRAINING WHITE BLACK Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Adidasi Alergare Adidas Ultra Boost Barbati Gri/Verzi (574746SMC),Asics Mens Shoes / Black Onyx Shoes Asics Gel-Kayano 20 UY84J01zAdidasi Alergare Adidas Eqt Running Cushion 93 Dama Negrii/Albi/Rosii (472958RSP),. 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,Adidasi Adidas Zx Flux Plus Barbati Bleumarin Albastri/Albi (629541IJM),Asics Mens Shoes / Aqua White Blue Ribbon Shoes Asics Gel-Cumulus 16 RU11H41eAdidasi Adidas Veritas Barbati Negrii/Gri (836248GFH),, 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, Adidasi Adidas Superstar Dama Negrii (668075RLI),Asics Gel-Sendai Mens Premium Cushioned Running ShoesAdidasi Adidas Stan Smith Barbati Negrii/Aurii (984756BLP),.

6702 Discount Nike Air Max 90 87 Men Dark Purple Green 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. Adidasi Adidas Los Angeles Barbati Gri/Argintii/Albi (617950JDT),Asics Gel-Kayano 23 Mens Premium Cushioned Running ShoesAdidasi Adidas Ctx9tis Mid Barbati Gri/Galbeni (396163JFN),.

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. Adidasi Adidas Aoh-008 Barbati Bleumarin Albastri (432803FLY),Asics Gel Kayano Trainer Knit W WhiteAdidas Yeezy Wave Colourful Runner 700 Best Quality Boost Kanye West UK Size 9 B75571 Exclusive Confirmed,, 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," ADIDAS Y-3 QASA HIGH - CG3194 Black Olive Sneaker Personalisation,ASH Black Puff Onyx NMG808608Adidas VariSol Sandals Children Vivid Berry / Running White,.

Family ties

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

5847 Real Nike Air Jordan 1 Men Black Blue 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, Adidas Tubular Australia Doom Sock Primeknit Mens BY3562 Trace Khaki White Shoes,AQ4904 WHT Men's adidas ZX Flux Casual Shoes White/White/Solar Redadidas Superstar Adicolor Reflective Mens Shoes Shock Mint,, Care Port Itabashi.  

adidas Stan Smith Mens Shoes White Blue,Anti-cold UGG Tassy Marrakech Girls' Raspberry Sorbet 1199925Adidas Snova Sequence 4 M Running Sport Shoes Lace Trainers Mens UK14.5-19,, 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. 

4917 Clearance Nike Air Max 90 Men Light Yellow 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. adidas Seeley Court Mens Shoes Black,Anti-cold Nike Roshe Run Flyknit Men Flyknit Rosherun 70 Off Nike Has Renamed the Roshe Run as the Roshe One HYPEBEASTAdidas Powerlift Trainer 2 Men Grey/Solar Green/Solar Blue Training Shoes,.  

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, Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R athletic shoes blue men Beauty / black / yellow Vivid,Anti-cold Nike Magista Obra Nike Magista Obra AG High Top Boots Turquoise Blue Black Nike Magista Obra Orange Nike Magista Fg Obra Magista Obra vs Mercurial Superfly IV GuideAdidas Originals Zx 700 W Pink,. 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," Adidas Originals Stan Smith W Bronze and Gold,Anti-cold Nike Free 4.0 v2 Flyknit Sneakers Flyknit Nike Running Nike Flight Club NIKE FREE FLYKNIT SNEAKER Blue Jimmy JazzAdidas Originals Mens Shoes / Wheat Black White Vapour Shoes Adidas Originals Gazelle 2 CF255885h1c,."

Adidas Originals Mens Shoes / Black Collegiate Burgundy Black Shoes Adidas Originals Samoa E82O64d11,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Adidas Originals Element Refine Athletic Shoes Light Scarlet / Black / Running White,Annie Ivory Satin La Sallex ECT406777adidas Originals 350 - Modry,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Adidas Messi 15.1 Fg Boys Grade School Black/Solar Green/Solar Red Soccer Shoes,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Adidas Mens Shoes / Solar Red White Black Shoes Adidas F5 In CU599251u19,Amazed And Discounted Air Force Jordan 4 Shine Sole White Blue Basketball ShoesAdidas Mens Shoes / Light Flash Yellow Core White Dark Grey Shoes Adidas Predator Absolado Instinct Fg KR55944851h,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Adidas Mens Shoes / Clear Onix Black Semi Solar Yellow Shoes Adidas Freefootball Crazyquick YH16U60c13,All Black Nike Hyper Venom Phantom Fg BootsAdidas Mens Shoes / Black Metallic Silver Neo Iron Shoes Adidas Adizero 5-Tool 2.5 EE48Kjn13,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Adidas Light Scalet Black Springblade Drives ZXM708252,ALDO Pietras - Black Leather - AL087SH71GNW - Men's Dress Shoesadidas Hamburg Mens Shoes Turquoise Green,
adidas EQT Support RF PK Mens Shoes Beige White,ALDO Canali - Navy - AL087SH71OJS - Men's SneakersAdidas D Rose 773 Iii Men Black/Neon Pink/Black Basketball Shoes,
  • Authentic 172108 Nike Kobe X Men Blue Vapor Green Black Shoes
  • Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro '97 White/Black-Gym Red Sneakers 3125753
  • Timberland Men Winter Boots Black 172509
  • NIKE AIR FORCE 1 NYC
  • James LeBron - Basketball - Men's - Nike LeBron XIII - Summit White Light B Lue 4SA7858 - Shoes Blue Tint
  • Desigual Kids Trainers Blue
  • Nike Tennis Classic Ultra Leather Price Cuts
  • Stylish Jordan Retro 6 Bomber Jacket Black For Men Online
  • Private custom color Nike LeBron 13 white bule Mens basketball sports shoes sneakers
  • Nike WMNS Nike Air Max 90 (orange)
  • The Hottest Style Les Trop
  • Kyrie 2 BHM Australia History Month Lagoon Black Blue Yellow
  • Clarks Women's Shoes ORINOCO CLUB - Boots - black
  • Pumps & Heels Women AK Anne Klein Fiva Pump Black New Arrival Cheap
  • Oxfords & Lace-Ups Men Skechers Fit Strike Sneaker White Hot Quality
  • Mens Adidas Shoes Adidas Climachill Gazelle Boost Shoes Yellow No.1677
  • Black Nike Roshe Run Mens Shoes Breathable for Summer
  • Nike Air Force 1 Mid White Varsity Maize
  • Under Armour Drift Rn Clutch Running Shoes Men Black/Turquoise Grey/Black
  • Air Max Suppliers 2016 Nike Uomo Fashion KPU Leather Scarpe Bianche/Nere
  • Air Yeezy zen grey/light charcoal No Y print in the toe