Boots Men Ben Sherman Victor Chukka Sneaker Boot Black Shop For Cheap Farruq Fahlevi, left, and Muhamad Irvan Gustian, both from Indonesia, work on a farm harvesting cabbages in Ibaraki Prefecture. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)
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Famous for its resistance to immigration, Japan opens its doors

Number of foreign workers doubles in five years as nation faces labor crisis

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"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 Nike Jordan Shoes Iii Aj3 Mens Wolf Grey,Blue Mens Shoes / Nike Free Run 3 Copper Outlet Sale,Air Max 90 Mens Shoes New Grey Blue LMJG2 Sale Shop,, 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 Max 90 Mens Shoes Cheap On Sale White Almond Red FRNX9,Blue Grey Man Shoes / Nike Free Run 4.0 V3 Shop,Air Max 2017 Dark Blue Orange For Men,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Air Jordan XI Retro 11 Win like 96 Jordans 378037-623 Gym Red Pro,Blue Black Nike Shoes Outlet 2013 Zoom Lebron St Low Ii Mens,Air Jordan Sixty Plus 60+ White Classic Green Black Sneakers,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

AA5740-102 Nike Popular Air Max Fury cheap Running 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 Retro Mens Shoes Nike Iii 3 New Releases Orange White Special New,Black Yellow Mens Shoes / Nike Air Max 90 Essential Shops,Air Jordan Recommended 1 Retro High OG "Shadow" Black/Medium Grey-White Official 555088-013,, 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.

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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 7 New Arriavl White Grey Red Green Basketball Shoes,Black Nike Mercurial Vapor Ix Reflective Light Gray Green,Air Jordan 6 (VI) Retro Infrared 23/Black-Infrared 23 Cheap For Sale,.

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Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Air Jordan 4 Retro “Thunder” Black/White-Tour Yellow For Sale Online,Black Nike Mens Shoes 2013 Outlet Zoom Lebron 10 X Online White Red,Air Jordan 4 - 2013 Leopard Black/White/Blue Shoes,. "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 3 (III) Retro-White / Fire Red-Cement Grey Sneakers,Black Mens Nike Shoes Zoom Kobe 8 Viii Golden,Air Jordan 18.5 (XVIII.5) Original (OG)-White / Black-Chrome Sneakers,."

8134 Cheap Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro Men Black Shoes 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.Air Jordan 13 Max Black White Red Black Basketball Shoes,Black High Taste Online Shopping Men Canada Sale New York Mets Customized well-designed Jersey Mlb,Air Jordan 11 Used Retro Gold PINNACLEs 378037 On sale 103 P1NNACLE promotion,. 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.

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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.

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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

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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.

6376 Clearance Nike Air Jordan 1 Men Blue 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 Puma Ferrari F116 Skin Barbati Negrii/Albi (494711MFJ),Best Price NCAA Nebraska Cornhuskers Youth White Customized Jersey perfect design Finest Materials,Adidasi Puma Axis V4 Mesh Bebelusi Rosii/Albi (837869JXM),, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

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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."

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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.

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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

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4303 Real Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro Men White Black Shoes Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

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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.

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Mikitani's revelation came during a lunch session with Indian engineers. Adidasi Adidas Gazelle 2.0 Copii Bleumarin Albastri/Albi (712377QUL),Authentic White Factory outlets Men Good-feeling Reebok Seattle Seahawks Jersey Finest Craftsmanship Super Discount Customized,Adidasi Adidas Cloudfoam 8tis Barbati Negrii/Albi/Albastri (784118MND),.

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. adidas ZX 750 Mens Shoes Grey Orange,Authentic Charcoal Men V By Jog Pant,Adidas Y3 Qasa High Samurai certificate elastic Black,, via a loyalty point system.

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Family ties

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

2382 Clearance Nike Air Max 90 Men 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. 

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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 Performance Kidscourt El C Kids Trainers White Rose Black I69 Outlet,Athletic Men New Balance 3190 v2 Lightweight Running Shoe - Mens Grey/Blue/Yellow Fast Delivery,Adidas Originals Zx Flux W Black,.  

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 Originals Superstar 2 crib Athletic Shoes game joy Orchid / White,Athletic Men ASICS GEL-Contend 2 Lightweight Running Shoe - Mens Grey/Orange/Black Classic,Adidas Originals Mens Shoes / White Collegiate Royal White Vapour Shoes Adidas Originals Jabbar Hi CY286705jn11,. 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.

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