Cheap Air Jordan 12 Original White / Red 130690-161 Basketball 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

Asics Mens Shoes / White Black Shoes Asics Gel-Lyte Iii US16T58715,Boots Men Buks Porter Boot Brown New ExclusiveAsics Mens Shoes / Navy White Flame Shoes Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 9 KG19628961x,. 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, Asics Mens Shoes / Cloud Titanium Yellow Shoes Asics 33 - Fa HH16P51u1jn,Boots Men Buckled Leather and Suede Boots Black Online CheapAsics Mens Shoes / Black Black Shoes Asics Gel-Lyte Iii AH38283061z,.

"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, Asics Gel-Kayano 23 Mens Premium Cushioned Running Shoes,Boots Men Brushed-Nubuck and Leather Boots Black OriginalASH Black Saga Ottawa IRE957855,, 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. Antoine + Stanley Ainsley Tan - Tan - AN166SH29SSO - Men's Dress Shoes,Boots Men Boondocker Suede Lace-Up Boots Brown 2017 NewAnti-cold Nike Mercurial Superfly AG Indoor Nike Mercurial See Huge Savings on Nike Products Nike Mercurial Ag Cheap Find Deals for Nike Mercurial Ag,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Anti-cold Nike Air Odyssey Leather Nike Internationalist New Season Mens Khaki Casual Shoes Nike Internationalist,Boots Men Bed Stu Hercules Chukka Boot Tan High QualityAnti-cold Curry Shoes Men steph curry one shoe Cheap Sale Cheap Discount,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Adidas Originals Gazelle W Pink 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, Anti-cold Air Jordan 4 Men Jordan Shoes Retro 4 Order Jordan Shoes Retro 4 Quick Cheap Jordans Shoes For Sale Jordan Retro 3 4 6 9 11,Boots Men Banbury Suede Chukka Boots Brown Cheap WholesaleAnti-cold Air Jordan 11 Retro ALL Color air Jordan 11 AAA quality grade Series Retro 11 Low Buy Now Jordan 11 Xi Retro Bargain Prices Smart Deals Top Jordan Retro Shoes 11,, 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.

Anti-cold Adidas Stan Smith Mens Wemens Stan Smith Shoes Cheap Stan Smith Shoes,Boots Men Aston Grey Butler Boot Black/Brown 2017 New CheapAnti-cold Adidas Campus 80s Buy adidas Originals online Streetwear Sneakers and Grey suede adidas campus Men's Shoes Bizrate,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Alternative Eco True Vintage Black Feeder Stripe Polop KPJ716459,Boots Men Alvis Leather Lace-Up Boots Black Cheap WholesaleALDO Virilian - Camel - AL087SH66OJX - Men's Dress Shoes,.

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, Aldo Brown Gregx GMS696935,Boohoo Black Studded Bralet OVT546205Air Mens Shoes Wholesale Max 87 Gray Green,.

Adidas Originals Blue Adilette Slider Flip Flops CRV843171

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Air Max 90 Mens Shoes New Grey Blue LMJG2 Sale Shop,BOBS from SKECHERS Charcoal Bobs Blissv HHP537711Air Max 90 Mens Shoes Cheap On Sale White Black Gray Blue D,. "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 Max 2017 Drak Blue Grey Red Logo Mens,Boat Shoes Men Gold Cup Leather Boat Shoes Gray OnlineAir Jordan Xiii 13 Hot Sell New Mens Shoes 2013 Online Lepord Black Red,."

Adidas Messi 15.3 In Men White/Prime Blue/Black Soccer 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 Son Of Max Black Grey Red Basketball Shoes,Blundstone Black BL546 JRU722845Air Jordan Retro Mens Shoes Nike Xi 11 Green 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.

"Air Jordan Retro 1 for Sale Cheap Warm Low Cut I Mens Shoes Fur Inside Winter Black,Blue Orange Adidas Men Adidas Supernova Sequence GorgeousAir Jordan Melo M3 (White / Varsity Red / Black) Sneakers,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Air Jordan Hydro 6 sandals 881473-415 Deep Blue Lemon Yellow Shoes For Sale Online Num: SSS026,Blue Nike 2013 Discount C Luo 9 Generation Online GreenAir Jordan Fusion 20 Low Nelly White Golden Straw Dark Oak Khaki Sneakers,," 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.

Adidas Mens Shoes / Solar Slime Black Solar Zest Shoes Adidas Nitrocharge 1.0 Xtrx Sg BG432463r1e

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

Air Jordan Classic 87 (Big Kids) Kid Black / Varsity Red-Dark Shadow,Blue Kd Basketball Shoes Nike Zoom V Elite Series ImageAir Jordan 7 Silver Anniversary Collection (Neutral Grey/Metallic Silver) Sneakers,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Air Jordan 6 for Sale Vi Retro Mens Shoes Mesh Breathable White Blue,Blue Cheap Price Jersey Finest Craftsmanship Nba Customized Phoenix Suns Men High QualityAir Jordan 4 Retro White Cement Mens Shoes Engraved Red Online,, 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 Mens Shoes / John Wall Shoes Adidas J Wall YS88379681f 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, Air Jordan 4 - 2013 Supper AAA Grey Black/Cyan Shoes,Blowfish Marine Blue Cozumel Linen Polov XAF999190Air Jordan 3 Retro “Black Cement” Black/Varsity Red-Cement Grey For Sale,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Air Jordan 20 (XX) Original (OG)-Stealth (Black / Stealth-Varsity Red) Sneakers,Black White Nike Shoes Zoom Kobe Ix 9 Mens Low New Outlet New Red SpecialAir Jordan 13 New Colors White Red Basketball Shoes,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Air Jordan 12 (XII) Retro-Playoffs (White / Varsity Blue) Sneakers,Black Ted Baker Men Boot Ted Baker Torsdi 4 Formal VogueAir Jordan 10 (X) Retro Black/Cool Grey-Anthracite-Venom Green For Sale Online,," 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.

Air Jordan 1 (I) Retro High (LS)-Black / Infrared-White Sneakers,Black Nike Shoes Mens Zoom Kobe Ix 9 Em Xdr White YellowAG Adriano Goldschmied Cavern Protege Straight Leg Stretch Sateen HNR787408,.

Adidas Mens Shoes / Blast Purple Running White Vivid Berry Shoes Adidas 11Pro Trx Fg GD59Kw1 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 Training Puma Pulse Ignite Xt Dama Negrii (922271CKO),Black Nike Roshe Run Mens Shoes High Warm Special White YellowAdidasi Training Asics Lift Master Lite Barbati Negrii/Rosii (545742QSM),.

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 Tenis Nike Court Lunar Ballistec 1.5 Barbati Negrii/Albi (213076WKS),Black Nike Mens Shoes Air Penny Hardaway Online YellowAdidasi Skate Nike Sb Zoom Stefan Janoski Copii Negrii/Verzi (729681BKY),.

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 Puma Suede Copii Albastri/Argintii (215328CYD),Black Men's Shoes / Nike Free Run 3 Outlet OnlineAdidasi Puma Ferrari Hidalgo Barbati Negrii (811721SCU),.

Adidas Mens Shoes / Black Core White Flash Orange Shoes Adidas 11Nova Tf TU45Yz1b Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Adidasi Puma Carson Mesh Jr. Copii Negrii/Argintii (439340JWH),Black Men Easy Sport Miami Heat New Release Jersey Customized Cheap Price well-designed NbaAdidasi Nike Zoom Mercurial Flyknit Barbati Negrii (761541BMQ),. 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 Nike Roshe Cortez Dama Bleumarin Albastri (390423ZMP),Black Green Nike Shoes Zoom Lebron 9 Ix Mens Online Outlet Dark SliverAdidasi Nike Jordan Horizon Mici Barbati Negrii/Albi (345187HYJ),, 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 Nike Cortez Copii Albi/Rosii (993518FLS),Black Asics Men Asics Gt-1000 5 VibrantAdidasi Nike Air Max Thea Copii Negrii (733609RYJ),.

Adidas Kanadia 6 TR Athletic Shoes Children Solar Slime / Black / Chalk 2 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 Nike Air Max 90 Piele Copii Albi (787634IQA),Birkenstock Arizona - Black Smooth Leather - BI090SH52BUT - unisex's SandalsAdidasi Nike Air Force 1 Mid Bebelusi Albi (168856IDB),.

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 Baschet Adidas J Wall Primeknit Boost 2.0 Barbati Violet/Roz (216070XRF),Big Star Summit Division Straight in Summit WVA443008Adidasi Alergare Puma Speed 600 S Ignite Barbati Rosii/Albi/Negrii (938970YVZ),, 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," Adidasi Alergare Nike Lunartempo 2 Barbati Rosii/Albi (563128ISA),Best-Selling Khaki V By 5 Pocket Twill Trousers MenAdidasi Alergare Nike Air Zoom Pegasus All Out Flyknit Copii Negrii/Gri/Albi (459307RHI),.

Family ties

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

adidas Gazelle Mens Shoes Yellow White 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, Adidasi Alergare Asics Gel-venture 5 Gs Copii Verzi/Albastri (506329BOF),Best Nike Gradeschool AIR MORE UPTEMPO Basketball Shoes Black/Pink 415082-003Adidasi Alergare Asics Gel-ds Racer 11 Dama Roz/Galbeni/Negrii (643576PKS),, Care Port Itabashi.  

Adidasi Alergare Adidas Pure Boost Zg Limited Edition Dama Negrii (449942AHC),Best Choice Jersey Customized For Sale Best Brand Baltimore Ravens Youth Game Purple Nike FashionistaAdidasi Alergare Adidas Bounce:S4 Style Barbati Negrii (624514KMX),, 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. 

Adidas Duramo Slide Sandals children Vivid Blue / Running White

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. Adidasi Adidas Zx 500 Og Dama Negrii/Albi (749594NZW),Ben Sherman Blue Depths 2 Long Sleeve Foliage Oaisley Mixed PXW720531Adidasi Adidas Superstar Nigo Bearfoot Barbati Albi/Negrii/Aurii (165176MYZ),.  

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, Adidasi Adidas Stan Smith Barbati Negrii/Albi (541210SPJ),Beauty Boss Hugo Boss Men Grey Navy Hugo 3Pk Trunks Turq ContemporaryAdidasi Adidas Lite Racer Dama Bleumarin Albastri/Albi (386880HEV),. 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," Adidasi Adidas Court Vantage Barbati Rosii Inchis (433792LOX),BC Footwear Della Green Print I Got It XNP528719adidas ZX Flux Mens Winter Shoes Beige Blue,."

Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 Shoes adidas Yeezy Boost 350 Pirate Black Restock Sneaker News certificate Shoes,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Adidas X 15.1 Firm/Artificial Men's Soccer Shoes Orange,Athletic Men Saucony Kineta Relay Lightweight Running Shoe - Mens Grey Fast Deliveryadidas Tubular Nova PK Mens Shoes White,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Adidas Superstar II Shoes Addidas Superstar Talle Hot 25 Where to buy Tenis Adidas en Mercado adidas UK originals superstar 2 mens trainers white,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Adidas Stan Smith On sale CF Kids Adidas Stan Smith On sale CF W black Kids sneakers adidas STAN cheap SMITH CF Kids,Athletic Men Nike FS Lite Run 2 Premium Lightweight Running Shoe - Mens Red ReallyAdidas Soccer Primeknit 2.0 FG Cleats Men's Soccer Shoes Blue,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

adidas Samba Mens Shoes White Black,Athletic Men New Balance 775 Lightweight Running Shoe - Mens Blue Best ChoiceAdidas Pharrell Black Mono Shell Toe Superstar 1y PHT877188,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Adidas Outdoor Felt Boot M Boots Men Black / Dark Orange,Athletic Men ASICS GEL-Venture 5 Trail Running Shoe - Mens Grey/Red FavoriteAdidas Originals Tubular Runner - Vintage White & Light Onix - AD660SH39LSM - unisex's Sneakers,
Adidas Originals rain boots children Legend Ink / Bluebird / Running White,Athletic Men 361 Degrees Ascent Lightweight Trail Running Shoe - Mens Black/Green New fashionAdidas Originals Mens Shoes / Collegiate Royal Black Collegiate Orange Shoes Adidas Originals Samoa GH44G911,
  • Cheap 196326 Nike Air Max 180 Men White Black Shoes
  • Perfect Adidas Originals Zx Flux Adv - Trainers - Dark Blue C100l2976
  • Nike Wmns Nike Free Run+ 2 Ext Black
  • Men's Nike Tiempo Legend VI SG-PRO - Soft-Ground Soccer Cleat IK263328v
  • Clothing - Men's - Chicago Cubs - Majestic MLB Player On Field BP Top - Royal 9EL5041
  • Vogue Nike FREE RN FLYKNIT Multicolor RUNNING racer nmd air max 0 95 97 1 i Sz 15 73617478 for Men
  • Nike Air Max 1 87 Blue White Red Shoes
  • Discount Authentic Mens Nike Free 3.0 Amphibious Running Shoes Gym Red/White
  • Mens Nike Air Jordan 5 Premium Bordeaux 881432-612 Basketball Shoes
  • Nike NIKELAB Zoom Flight 95 (black)
  • Designer Nike Free Run Commuter 2017 Running Shoes Black For Women Clearance
  • Nike Magista Onda IC Men White/Black/Total Orange/Poison Green Soccer Shoes
  • Women KD 8 Websites VIII ID Think Raspberry Pink White
  • Reebok Easytone Freestyle Hi Women's Toning Shoe Women White/Grey/Pink
  • Multi Women V By Neck Crafted Bikini Set Trends
  • Mens Nike Air Max 95 Gray Orange
  • Burton 50 Shades Of Stripe Midweight Pant HGD625511
  • Jordan 23th Anniversary Grey Sliver Pink
  • Nike Roshe Run Dynamic Flywire (Dyn FW) QS Gamma Grey/Eton Blue Mens Shoes
  • Nike Air Zoom Structure 19 Sneakers Arizon Air Structures Air Domes Fabric Structures Nike Air Zoom
  • Asos Oatmeal Sweater In Rib With Deep V And Asymmetric Split RUS751257