Cheap xdzuy mh7dbk August Deals Superstar Mens Blue 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

Shopping 195436 Nike Blazer High Men White Shoes,Inexpensive 178245 Air Jordan 12 Retro Men Obsidian Blue White Blue ShoesComfortable 151609 Nike Custom Dunk High Men Shoes,. 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, Authentic 227861 Nike Dunk High Men Gray Black Shoes,Buy 195983 Air Jordan 12 Retro Men White /Black Taxi ShoesAuthentic 234545 Nike Dunk High Men Brown Camo Shoes,.

"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, Cheap 213135 Nike Dunk High Men Yellow Shoes,Buy 166249 Air Jordan Men White Black ShoesAuthentic 194730 Nike Dunk High Men Black Sprinter Green 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. Comfortable 201176 Nike Dunk Mid Premium SB Men Gold Camo Shoes,Buy 201093 Air Jordan 11 Retro Men Black Night Shade White ShoesInexpensive 240866 Nike Dunks High Men Red Blue Yellow Shoes,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Cheap 178578 Nike Free 3.0 V4 Men Gray Silver Shoes,Cheap 214694 Air Jordan 14 Retro Men Black Blue ShoesDiscount 242340 Nike Free 5.0 V4 Men Brown Shoes,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Adidas 2015 Crazylight Boost Primeknit Mens Bright Cyan/Black Basketball Shoes V42382 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 183070 Nike Free Run Men Black Shoes,Inexpensive 237655 Air Jordan 1 Ko Men White Black Red ShoesShopping 178126 Nike Free Trainer 5.0 Men Grey Light Blue Grey Shoes,, 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.

Shopping 160400 Nike Free Tr Fit 2 Men Green Grey White Shoes,Buy 236053 Air Jordan 1 Men Dark Brown ShoesCheap 211016 Nike Hyperize Kobe Bryant Olympic Men White Black Red Shoes,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Comfortable 239389 Nike Lebron 8 V3 Men Black Red White Shoes,Outlet zb6yq nsyezu August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens PurpleCheap 174102 Nike Lunarglide Men Black Purple 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, Inexpensive 241832 Nike Lunarglide 2 Men Black Yellow Shoes,Buy 239857 Air Jordan 5 Retro Men Black Infrared Sale ShoesAuthentic 198289 Nike Roshe Run Men Blue Electric Yellow Cyan Shoes,.

Adidas D Rose 773 Iii Mens Black/Neon Pink/Black Basketball Shoes V23123

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Comfortable 196950 Nike Shox Conundrum Men White Black Shoes,Comfortable 224947 Air Jordan 6 Retro Men Black/Infrared Black ShoesInexpensive 150838 Nike Shox Nz 2.0 Men White Black Grey 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. "Shopping 179832 Nike Shox O Leven Men Black White Shoes,Discount 150410 Air Jordan Evolution 87 Men White Metallic Silver Obsidian ShoesAuthentic 197616 Nike Shox R4 Men Grey Pink Shoes,."

Adidas Solar Boost Mens Solar Blue/Dark Grey/Solar Blue Running Shoes V76070 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.Cheap 187382 Nike Shox R4 Men White Shoes,Inexpensive 211991 Air Jordan 5 (V) Retro Men Fire Red White Fire Red Black ShoesComfortable 165424 Nike Shox Rivalry Men White Shoes,. 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.

"Buy 178637 Nike Zoom Hyperdunk Low Men Blue Grey Shoes,Authentic 178132 New Balance Kids 501 Kid Black White ShoesAuthentic 223944 Nike Zoom Kd IV Men White Yellow Blue Navy Shoes,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Cheap 201931 Nike Zoom Kobe VI Men Blue Dark Grey Yellow Blue Orange Shoes,Cheap 190018 Air Jordan Ajf 4 Men White ShoesBuy 235304 Nike Zoom Kobe VI Men Black Shoes,," 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 Nitrocharge 2.0 Fg Mens Black/White/Flash Orange Soccer Shoes V34184

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

Discount 220709 Puma Cabana Racer II Lx Men Yellow White Shoes,Discount 184663 Air Jordan VI Retro Men Red ShoesDiscount 148199 Adidas Ax Flux Unisex Navy Shoes,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Buy 212370 Nike Free 4.0 Unisex Black Gray Shoes,Discount 149291 Air Jordan V.5 Low Men Grown White Grey ShoesAuthentic 157293 Jordan Retro Unisex Fire Red White Fire Red Black Shoes,, 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.

Nike Air Max 95 Mens White/Black Running Shoes V86658 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, Discount 206640 Air Jordan 5 Retro Women Black Shoes,Discount 158715 Air Jordan Retro Men Fire Red Black Light ShoesBuy 238609 New Balance Classics W574 Women Grey White Shoes,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Comfortable 242957 New Balance WT10V2 Women Silver Purple Shoes,Discount 149743 Asics Gel Lyte 3 Men Black Bright Blue ShoesComfortable 201533 New Balance W1600 Women Shoes,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Comfortable 242691 Nike Air Max Women White Pink Blue Shoes,Inexpensive 187253 Asics Gel Lyte 3 Men Black Blue ShoesComfortable 150040 Nike Blazer High Women Gray White Shoes,," 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.

Comfortable 146206 Nike Dunk High Women Shoes,Shopping 203940 Asics Gelsaga Men Navy Blue Purple ShoesBuy 154789 Nike Free 3.0 V4 Women Gray Shoes,.

Nike Flyknit Racer Mens White/Black/Game Royal/Green Strike Running Shoes V87731 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."

Shopping 193944 Nike Free Run 2 Women Red Black White Shoes,Buy 166892 Asics Gelsaga Mint Men Black Green ShoesBuy 223186 Nike Lunarglide 3 Women Grey Midnight Pink Granite Shoes,.

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.

Adidas Bounce Titan 2013 Men Coupon_024,Cheap 210902 Lebron 11 Men Galaxy ShoesAdidas Originals JS Men Coupon_124,.

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

Adidas Springblade 2013 Men Coupon_234,Shopping 192228 New Balance Classics M574 Men Blue Red White ShoesAir Jordan 29th War Boots Men Coupon_340,.

Nike Zoom Elite 8 Mens White/Dark Grey/Black/Pure Platinum Running Shoes V90885 Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

2015 Christian Louboutin Women Coupon_432,Comfortable 244651 Lebron 11 Men Grey Fluorescent Green ShoesChristian Louboutin Sale Women Coupon_564,. 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,Giuseppe Zanotti Sale Women Coupon_667,Comfortable 243872 New Balance Classics M574 Men Red Yellow ShoesJimmy Choo heels Women Coupon_779,, 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, Jimmy Choo Sandals Women Coupon_871,Comfortable 152517 New Balance Classics Ml402 Men Light Grey Green Gecko ShoesAdidas Springblade 2013 Men Coupon_232,.

Adidas Vigor 6 Tr Womens Bright Cyan/Solar Yellow/Frozen Blue Running Shoes V42383 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. New Balance 574 Men Coupon_1146,Buy 167610 New Balance Mw956 Men Brown ShoesNew Balance 574 Men Coupon_1238,.

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. New Balance Women Coupon_1359,Inexpensive 238958 New Balance M1080v4 Men Silver Red ShoesNew Balance 574 Women Coupon_1427,, 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," New Balance 996 Women Coupon_1537,Inexpensive 207594 Nike Air Classic BW Si Men White Red ShoesNike Kevin Durant Men Coupon_1746,.

Family ties

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

Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Womens Seaweed/Seaweed/Ghost Green/Pure Platinum Running Shoes V74279 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, Jordan Horizon Low Men's Shoe 845098-306,Inexpensive 217226 Nike Air Classic BW Si Men Black Pink ShoesMen's Basketball Shoe LeBron XIII Low 831925-051,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Men's Football Cleat Nike Vapor Untouchable 698833-411,Inexpensive 157400 Nike Air Classic BW Si Men White Red Grey ShoesHi Women's Shoe Nike Air Force 1 654440-004,, 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 Classic Cortez Womens White/Black/White Running Shoes V89163

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. Men's Nike Shoe Jordan CP3.IX AE 833909-016,Discount 201711 Nike Air Flightposite 1 Men Black Crimson ShoesMen's Nike Tiempo Legend VI AG-R 819712-108,.  

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, Men's Shoe Air Jordan 2 Retro Low 832819-606,Shopping 201163 Nike Air Flightposite 1 Men Silver Grey Black ShoesMen's Shoe Nike Air Force 1 Flyknit Low 817419-600,. 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," Men's Shoe Nike Air Max CB 34 316940-001,Buy 167497 Nike Air Force 1 Men Tuskegee Khaki ShoesMen's Shoe Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 92 Premium 844654-002,."

Men's Shoe Nike LunarCharge Essential 923619-400,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Men's Shoe Nike Train Ultrafast Flyknit 843694-464,Inexpensive 156159 Nike Air Max 1 Hyperfuse Men Grey White Pink ShoesMen's Training Shoe Nike Free Trainer 3.0 V4 749361-034,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Nike Air Force 1 07 LV8 University Blue Legend/White/Gum Light Brown/Blue Legend,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

NIKE AIR ZOOM PEGASUS 31 Volt Ice/Volt/Antarctica/Black,Discount 176034 Nike Air Max 90 Men Black Green ShoesNIKE FREE VIRITOUS Bright Crimson/Elm/Sail/Blue Legend,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

NIKE ZOOM HYPERREV 2015 PREMIUM Multi-Color/Black/Reflect Silver,Discount 220363 Nike Air Max 90 Men White Black Yellow ShoesWomen's Shoe Nike Air Max 2016 806772-502,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

NikeCourt Air Zoom Ultrafly Unisex Tennis Shoe 819692-107,Buy 177777 Nike Air Max 90 Men Black White ShoesNike Air Max 90 Boys Toddler Cool Grey/Voltage Green/Obsidian/Lucid Green/White Running Shoes V47663,
Nike Roshe One Boys Preschool Wolf Grey/Hyper Pink/Cool Grey/White Running Shoes V98582,Shopping 158058 Nike Air Max 90 Men Black ShoesNike Air Max 90 Boys Grade School White/Black/Volt/Pink Blast/Total Orange Running Shoes V88627,
  • Authentic 204197 Adidas ZX 750 Men Dark Blue White Shoes
  • Adidas Predator Unisex Black Shoes Model:A699
  • Mango / Stiletto Heels / Bright Red
  • Men's Nike SB FTM 5-Pocket Denim - Pants PO341239v
  • Blue Lagoon Bright Concord 8RX5733 - Shoes - Men's Jordan True Flight - Basketball - Black Anthracite
  • Counter Genuine Air Jordan Nike Collezione CDP Countdown Pack 15 8 22JA397 for Men
  • Nike Air Max Tailwind 6 Running Shoes For Men in Navy Blue Red On Sale M39g1751 Best Sale
  • Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 90 White/Purple/Black/Dark Grey
  • Men Get Best Quality Ralph Lauren Yellow Big Pony Polo Black
  • Cheap Under Armour Curry 2 Iron Sharpens Iron
  • Womens Merrell Trianers - Encore Moc Pro Shine - Periwinkle Patent Item W0687
  • 7 Star Sale Mens Nike Roshe One Slip On Moonlight Blue Unique
  • 2018 Free delivery - Puma Cell Surin Engineered 2 Men Training Shoes Dark Shadow-Sulphur Spring
  • Skechers Granola Trail Mix Womens Memory Foam Sandals
  • Nike Air Jordan Retro 4 Red Hot Sell Discount Iv Womens Shoes White Black
  • Mens Nike Roshe Running Shoe Black Silver New
  • Cheap Jordan Melo M13 Energy Sunset Glow for Sale
  • Air Jordan 14 (XIV) Retro-White/Black-Varsity Red-Metallic Silver 311832-162
  • Men Mizuno Wave Sayonara 2 Sport Shoes - Rubber - Blue Atoll Black Vibrant Orange - 5215841kh
  • Air Jordan 9 Sneakers Nike Air Retro Jordans Shop Nike Air Retro Jordans Air Jordan 9 Nike Air Jorda
  • Buy 215508 Nike Air Max 90 Men Grey Black White Shoes