Creative Recreation Infant Kaplan Trainer CP507 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

Womens Shoes Clarks Evie Bow Navy Suede,Hype Acid Wash Jean CP861,Womens Sandals COACH Caterine Beechwood,. 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, Womens Shoes COACH Channing Black Studded Dress Leather,adidas Originals Original Trefoil Hooded Top CP949,Womens Shoes COACH Orlene Stone Calf Suede,.

"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, Womens Boots Cole Haan Placid Boot Chestnut Leather,Criminal Damage Shoreditch Hooded Top CP1035,Womens Shoes Cole Haan Air Tali OT Wedge 40 Blazer Blue Patent,, 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. Womens Shoes Cole Haan Cyro Sandal Black/Optic White Snake Print,Kings Will Dream Gela Overhead Hooded Top CP1091,Womens Shoes Cole Haan Lena Open Toe Pump 75 II Black Patent,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Womens Boots ECCO Touch 25 Buckle Boot Tarmac/Tarmac,Vans Vans Classic Overhead Hooded Top CP1186,Womens Shoes ECCO Pretoria Midnight,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Inexpensive 208444 Nike Shox R5 Men White Black 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, Womens Shoes Ecco Performance Ulterro Lo GTX Dark Shadow/Dark Shadow/Woodrose,Brave Soul MJK Kempton Shiny Puffer Jacket CP1251,Womens Shoes GUESS Babbitta 2 Champagne Patent,, 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.

Womens Boots Hunter Original Short Bright Cerise,Ellesse Puffer Jacket CP1355,Womens Boots Naturalizer Jewels Wide Calf Banana Bread,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Womens Shoes Naturalizer Ginger Black Leather,Gensen Harrington Jacket CP1382,Womens Shoes New Balance WC1296 Blue,.

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, Womens Shoes New Balance RC1400v3 Pink/Yellow,Rains Breaker Jacket CP1506,Womens Shoes Nike Revolution 2 Wolf Grey/Cool Grey/Digital Pink/Neo Turquoise,.

Shopping 180465 Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Xdr Men Grey Grey Black Shoes

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Womens Shoes Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour Fuchsia Glow/Dove Grey/Hot Lava,Duck & Cover Ramirez Striped Knit CP1795,Womens Shoes Nike Flex Experience Run 4 Cool Grey/Atomic Pink/White/Fierce Purple,. "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. "Womens Boots PATRIZIA Vigorous Dark Brown,Alphalab Stealth Camouflage Jog Short CP2073,Womens Sandals PATRIZIA Nye Black,."

Discount 218617 Onitsuka Tiger By Asics Gellyte III Men Grey White 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.Womens Shoes PUMA Cell Riaze White/Clearwater/Italian Plum,Ellesse Triester Poly Tape Short CP2132,Womens Shoes Reebok Twistform Blaze MT Luminous Lime/Bright Green/Exotic Teal/White,. 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.

"Womens Boots Rocket Dog Suri Tan Horizon Knit,Asylum Wera Short CP2288,Womens Boots Sam Edelman Rylan Rust Red,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Womens Shoes Sam Edelman Ola Soft Nude,Ellesse Favalli Taped Track Top CP3548,Womens Shoes Saucony Kilkenny XC5 Spike W Purple/Vizipro Orange,," 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.

Inexpensive 212921 Air Jordan VII Retro Unisex Black Metallic Gold Shoes

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

Womens Shoes Saucony Originals Bullet Purple/Green 1,Timberland Euro Sprint Tree Boot CP3755,Womens Boots Timberland Ashdale Ankle Waterproof Brown,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Womens Boots UGG Myrna Chestnut Leather,Ellesse Navona Full Logo Flip Flop CP3836,Womens Boots UGG Renatta Stout,, 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.

Comfortable 224874 Air Jordan 13 Retro Women Black Pink 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, Womens Shoes UGG Tomi Prix Tawny Nubuck,Timberland Newmarket Boat Shoe CP3935,Womens Sandals Vaneli Bitya Camel Glam Nappa,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Womens Shoes Vaneli Amarena Black Gilla Print,adidas Originals Skate Copa Trainer CP3982,Womens Shoes Vaneli Saula Platino Met Nappa/Platino Met Nappa Woven,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Womens Shoes Vaneli Pandora Black Ecco Nappa,adidas Originals Stan Smith Vulcanised Trainer CP4099,Nike Hypermesh,," 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 Hyperadapt Aerolayer,adidas Originals Country OG Trainer CP4170,Nike SB Lightweight Everett Dri-FIT Full-Zip,.

Comfortable 184887 Asics Gelnoosa Tri 8 Women Green Pink 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."

Men's Street Modern Camouflage Track Jacket,Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Trainer CP4279,Men's adistar Long Tights,.

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.

BMW Motorsport Shorts,Creative Recreation Kaplan Perforated Woodgrain Trainer CP4367,2016 Portugal Match Home,.

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

Nike Tech Knit Pocket Tee,Gourmet Corridore Trainer CP4465,Women's Techfit Long Tights,.

Cheap 171955 Nike Air Max 90 Women Yellow Shoes Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Various Sizes 2017/18 Nike Lunar Force 1 LowSplatterPack Navy Speckle Womens Shoes Midnight Navy-White P8N9zTZn,New Balance ML373 Trainer CP4563,Wholesale Trade Nike Lunar Hyperdunk X 2012 For Men in 7MMYW8Nh,. 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,Authentic c4hd5 fgdmzh August Deals Nike Roshe Run Mens,Nike Roshe Run Flyknit Trainer CP4664,Authentic uzrk2 3x5i7k August Deals ZX Flux Mens,, 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, Buy btdtx cmgzzr August Deals Nike Air Max Tavas Mens,Nike Elite Shinsen Trainer CP4763,Buy wi7tf 9eepgc August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Purple,.

Authentic 226430 Nike Flyknit Roshe Run Women 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. Cheap edtiq 5ufysh August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Mens,Nike Air Max Tavas Trainer CP4825,Cheap vfpv6 pw72gk August Deals Nike Air Max 95 Womens,.

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. Discount fn8cv 5n7rnm August Deals ZX 700 Mens,Ralph Lauren Polo Harvey Trainer CP4947,Discount v4yt8 ghp5m4 August Deals NMD Mens,, 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," Online gediz 7ci7ew August Deals Nike Air Max 95 Womens,Supra Ellington Trainer CP5027,Outlet 4u28e kgptpv August Deals Nike Air Max Thea Womens,.

Family ties

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

Cheap 190929 Nike Free Tr Fit Women Red White 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, Outlet qf5pg 5nhqmh August Deals ZX Flux Mens,Dr. Martens Womens Core 1460 Boot CP5145,Sale ev8qm p4rdhg Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens Shoes,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Sale u7wi9 abkhdx August Deals Nike Air Max Thea Womens,Womens Sandals adidas Anyanda Flex Thong Black/White/Silver Metallic,UK ns8ef 252wg3 August Deals Nike Air Max 1 Womens,, 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 Originals JS Men Coupon_150

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. Shopping 148915 New Balance Kids Kl574 Kid Blue Orange Shoes,Womens Shoes adidas 10K Grey/White/Flash Red,Comfortable 233096 Air Jordan 10 Retro Men Red/Black Grey 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, Inexpensive 151810 Air Jordan Spizike Men Black Blue White Shoes,Womens Shoes adidas Running Slingshot Trail Midnight Grey/Black/Flash Red,Cheap 147160 Lebron 11 Men White Blue Grey Shoes,. 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," Buy 197986 Nike Air Classic BW Si Men Black White Shoes,Womens Boots Aerosoles Calendar Black,Discount 245138 Nike Air Force 1 Men White Blue Shoes,."

Shopping 174750 Nike Air Max Men Black Red Shoes,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Shopping 159859 Nike Air Max 1 Men Black Shoes,Womens Sandals C Label Iria-3 Blue,Authentic 230897 Nike Air Max 90 Men White Grey Black Shoes,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Inexpensive 188957 Nike Air Max Ltd Men Black Shoes,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Inexpensive 177548 Nike Blazer High Men White Red Shoes,Womens Shoes C Label Rome-1 Black,Shopping 181731 Nike Dunk High Men Strawberry Shortcake Pack Shoes,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Discount 154327 Nike Dunk Low Men Shoes,Womens Boots Calvin Klein Collection Amber Ink Haircalf,Discount 183664 Nike Free 6.0 Men Black Green White Shoes,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Cheap 242300 Nike Free Run 2 Men Gray Green Shoes,Womens Shoes Calvin Klein Calayla Whiskey/Black Nappa,Buy 239056 Nike Lunar Rejuven8 Mid Men Brown Olives White Shoes,
Comfortable 220984 Nike Roshe Run Men Black Grey White Shoes,Womens Shoes Calvin Klein Gayle Dark Red Kid Suede,Comfortable 183639 Nike Shox Nz Men Black Yellow Shoes,
  • adidas Originals Forum Mid Veritas X Trainer CP4102
  • Nike Flex 2014 RN (TDV) Hyper Blue Royal Pink (642760-400)
  • Nike Nike shoes and Black nikes [Lb6541]
  • Vans Womens UA SK8-Hi MTE Grey 4364L
  • Men's San Francisco Giants Buster Posey Majestic Gray 2016 MLB All-Star Game Signature Flex Base Jersey
  • New Trendy Brandon Maxwell Black Pencil Skirt For Women Outlet
  • Genuine PORSCHE DESIGN SPORT Waterproof Supreme Ski With Recco - Midnight Blue men's Pants - 20UG660
  • Mens Asics MetaRun trainers size 7.5
  • * Caterpillar Men Black Orange Adidas Running Shoes
  • Latest Mens Vilebrequin Copa T-Bar Sandals Blue
  • Pretty Pink Wilt Layered Tee with Ribbed Sleeves SAVE UP TO 25% Use Code: EVENT18 DABTGF
  • MAN Max 2016-0040
  • Outlet Nike Magista Ola Indoor Football Boots Mens Blue/Black 346066UO
  • Special Offers Blue Youth Stitched Jersey Seattle Seahawks Durable Limited Customized Best Choice World-famous Nike
  • Nike Air Max 90 Em 2014 Men Running Shoes Green Black
  • Ghete Fotbal Adidas Kaiser 5 Goal Barbati Negrii/Albi (623745ZCQ)
  • Classically Black Nike Nike Bonded Women
  • Nike Air Jordan 29 XX9 PE RW Russell Westbrook White Infrared 23 Silver
  • Women Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Shroud Hi W Trainers - Rubber - Rouge - 3560642os
  • Nike Air Max 90 City Women Air Max 90 Clearance Huge Sale April Wmns Air Max 90 Hyp Qs Bodega Nike A