Men's ASICS Gel Ds Trainer 21 Flash size 10.5 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

Hot Nike Air Max 180 EM OG Black,New! Mens Asics GT 2000 2 Running Shoes Sneakers size - 14 15,J3 And J4 Limited Mens Shoes Cheap Sale,. 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, Men's Nike LeBron 9 Sample Shoes in 25578,Nike Air Force 1 High 07 Shoes Mens Black N11957,New Release Nike Air Max 2013 Mens Shoes Orange Yellow,.

"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, Nike Air Foamposite Sneakers For Men in 60769,Nike Air Jordan Future Low Shoes Mens Blue White Black N41132,Nike Air Jordan 5 V Mens Shoes New Black Green,, 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. Nike Air Max 1 87 Mens Shoes 2014 New Black Green,Nike Air Max 90 Shoes Mens Black N12698,Nike Air Max 2014 Running Shoes On sale Blue Green Orange,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Nike Air Max 90 New Mens Shoes Black Beige,Nike Air Tech Challenge Iii Shoes Mens White Purple Light Black N97540,Nike Air Max LeBron 10 Elite Basketball Shoes For Men in 94972,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Nike Zoom Vapor 9 5 Tour Tennis Shoes Hyper Pink Fuchsia Force Dark Magnet Grey Ivory For Women 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, Nike Air Max TN Cushioning Mens Shoes black green,Nike Dunk Low Premium Sb Shoes Mens Red Green White N79688,Nike Air Max TN I Mens Shoes silver black,, 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.

Nike Air Penny 5 Sneakers For Men in 62272,Nike Hyperfr3sh Shoes Mens Dark Grey Black White N46428,Nike Dunk SB 2012 New High Cut Mens Shoes gray orange red white,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Nike Flyknit Trainer Mens Shoes Suede Leather Red,Nike Jordan Westbrook 0 Shoes Mens White Black White N91376,Nike Hyperdunk-12,.

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, Nike Kobe VII(6) Shoes in 20276,Nike Pro Stepper Shoes Mens Royal Black Metallic Silver Royal N86293,Nike Lunar Hyperdunk X 2012 in 69076,.

Sneakers H222 HXW2220N623870B999 Sneakers Shoes For Women

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Nike Nike Flyknit Lunar 2 Mens Sky Blue Sea Blue Running Shoes 2015 Cheap,Nike Roshe One Print Shoes Mens Royal Grey Blue White N86461,Nike Zoom KD V Klein Durant Basketball Shoes for Men in 82404,. "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. "On Sale Popular Online Nike Air Total Foamposite Max Mens Shoes Black,Nike Tennis Classic Ultra Leather Shoes Mens White White N99048,Popular Hypervenom Phantom Ag Black Orange,."

Route H259 HXW2590R3207UTG618 Lace up Shoes Shoes For Women 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.To Buy Hot Sale Nike Air Max 90 Men Shoes Black Blue,Nike Zoom Field General Training Shoes Dark Grey White Metallic Silver For Men,World Cup New Nike Mercurial Victory X TF football boots yellow white 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.

"Converse All Star Off White/White/Unbleached White Trainers for MAN,Timberland Earthkeepers Brig 4 Eye Boat Shoes Brown Smooth For Men,PUMA Court Star OG Red Sneakers for MAN,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Adidas Originals Superstar 80s Primeknit Core Black/White Sneakers for MAN,Timberland Earthkeepers Bradstreet Plain Toe Oxford Shoes Dark Brown Oiled For Men,Vans Authentic True White Trainers for MAN,," 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.

2015 Latest Nike Air Max Zero QS 87 Retro Womens Running Shoes Black Pink Online

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

Adidas Originals Superstar 80s JJ White/White/White Trainers for MAN,Timberland Eldridge Sandals Greige Blue For Men,Nike Free Hypervenom Low Black/Black/White Running Shoes for MAN,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Vans Sk8-Hi LX Classic White Trainers for MAN,Timberland 6 Inch Premium Waterproof Boots Olive Waterbuck For Men,Adidas Originals ZX Flux Core Black/White Trainers for WOMAN,, 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.

2015 Nike Free Flyknit 4.0 Womens Running Shoes Newest On Sale Couples Sneaker White Grey Black 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, Adidas Originals ZX Flux Core Black/Tomato Trainers for WOMAN,Nike Lunarfresh Sneakerboot Black Ale Brown Black For Men,New Balance WL999 Green Sneakers for WOMAN,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Classic 2018 Mens Under Armour UA Curry 4 High Customize Blue White Offer Basketball Shoes,Nike Flystepper 2K3 Shoes Dark Magnet Grey Light Magnet Grey Black For Men,Discount Authentic 315371-071 Mens Nike Air Jordan Spizike Shoes Kings County Black/Varsity Red-Maize,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Discount Authentic 644490-014 Mens Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro 86 Black/Dark Concord?,Nike Air Max 1 GPX Shoes Black Dark Grey Cool Grey White For Men,Discount Authentic Kids Nike Air Max 90 Black/White Camouflage,," 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.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air force 1 Low Shoes White/Cream,KD7 Lifestyle Shoes Challenge Red Peach Cream Black Challenge Red For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 13 Low Shoes Black/White/Red,.

Air Jordan IV 4 Retro Womens Shoes New 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."

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 4 Night Light ShoesWhite/Black,Nike Tiempo Legacy Firm Ground Soccer Cleat Soar Volt For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan Melo M8 Shoes White/Black/Red,.

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.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 2009 Shoes Black/Silver/Gold,FC247 Gato II Soccer Shoes Black Cool Grey Gum Light Brown White For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 2011 Shoes Red/Black/Silver,.

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

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 87 Shoes White/Blue/Pink/Yellow,Adidas Running Bostonnova Glide 6 Boost Shoes Core Black Black Running White For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 90 Grey/Dark Grey/Lime,.

Nike Air Foamposite Sneakers For Women in 59115 Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 91 Shoes White/Blue/Black,Nike Air Zoom Vomero 9 Running Shoes Lyon Blue White Flash Lime Black For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max Jordan 11 Shoes Black/Red,. 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,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max Jordan Big Ups Shoes Black/White/Red,Adidas Outdoor Climacool Boat Lace Shoes COL Navy Chalk White For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max Shox R4 Shoes Black/White,, 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, Discount Authentic Mens Nike Airmax 2009 Shox R4 Shoes White/Gym Red/Black,Adidas Originals Pharrell Williams Stan Smith Tennis Shoes Neo White For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk High Shoes Grey/Black/Blue/Red,.

Nike Air Max 90 Womens Shoes Wholesale Navyblue White 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. Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk Low Shoes Grey/Light Blue/Brown/White,Adidas Originals Adilette Slides Core Black For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Free 5.0+ Running Shoes Orange/Blue,.

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 Authentic Mens Nike Huarache Free 2012 Training Shoes Black/Red/White,Nike Vapor Carbon 2014 Elite TD PF Football Cleat Brilliant Orange Black White For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Shox R4 Shoes Black/Silver,, 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," Great Adidas AC8273 Men Alphabounce Beyond promotion Running shoes black Sneakers,Adidas Basketball Title Run Shoes Core Black Running White Light Red For Men,Nike Lebron 15 Ashes Famous PRE-ORDER 897648-002,.

Family ties

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

Nike Free Powerlines II Womens Shoes Brown Green 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, Unique 872087-062 NIKE INTERNATIONALIST sale LT17,KD7 AS Basketball Shoes Pure Platinum Black Multi Color For Men,Discounts Jordan Flight Fleece Full Zip Hoodie Gym Red/Black For Men,, Care Port Itabashi.  

New Nike Modern Jogger Obsidian/Obsidian For Men Online,2014 Air Jordan 28 Blue Camou Shoes Features Whole Foot Zoom Sneaker For Men Online,Stylish Jordan 23 Tech Long Sleeve Top Armory Navy/Black For Men Online Sale,, 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. 

To Buy Air Max 90 Hyperfuse Prm Womens Shoes For Sale Grey

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. The Most Popular Nike Windrunner Jacket Obsidian/Game Royal/Coastal Blue/Volt For Men Sale Online,2014 Nike Air Jordan V 5 Retro Mens Shoes Blue Red,adidas Originals Stan Smith Reflective White,.  

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, Converse Chuck Taylor All Star II Hi Blue,2015 Air Max 90 Mens Shoes New White Grey Yellow,Nike Sock Dart SE Premium Blue,. 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," Nike Wmns Classic Cortez Leather Brown,2015 Latest Nike Air Max Outdoor Slippers Cheap Mens Flip Flop Online Outlet Navy Blue,Puma x Alife Blaze of Glory,."

adidas OriginalsSuperstar 2,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

New Balance Classics574 - Glacial,Air Jordan 4 IV Retro 2012 New Lightening Mens Shoes Black Red,Nike Flex Supreme TR 4,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Adidas Belgium Presentation Suit - Mens Top,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Nike Pro Cool Compression Longsleeve Top Grey - Mens Top,Air Max 2011 Netty Mens Shoes Discount Milky white,Asics Gel Kinsei White Womens Shoes,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Nike Air Force Cheap Women Bianche Rosa Rosso,Air Max 90 Mens Shoes Cheap Wholesale Black Almond,Nike Shoes Deliver Women Bianche Blu,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Women Fashion Single Band Ankle Strap Open Toe Sandals - Red - 36,Air Max 95 Mens Shoes Wholesale White Blue,Nike Air Max Thea Shoes Womens Metallic Silver Platinum White Metallic Silver N68669,
Nike Sb Zoom Stefan Janoski Canvas Premium Shoes Womens Light Red Black White N65241,Air Max Ltd 2 Mens Shoes Gray Silver,Adidas Baseball PowerAlley 2 0 Cleats Core Black Carbon Metallic Running White For Women,
  • Inexpensive 145930 Nike Free Run Men Grey Royal Blue Shoes
  • Nike Air Force 1 Mens Blue Orange Shoes 3125472
  • Asfvlt Men Low-Top Trainers White 278033
  • Cheap Nike Mercurial Superfly V Barcelona FG Red Yellow Purple Sale
  • Golden State Warriors - Clothing - Men's - Nike NBA Team Club Fleece Pants - Black 0BY11066
  • Asics Mens Running Shoes Silver/Onyx/Racing Red
  • Nike Dunk Shoes Original Store
  • Latest Nike Nba Club Wordmark Hoodie Black For Men Sale
  • Nike Mercurial X 10 Superfly AG Hyper Pink Hyper Pink Black Hyper Pink 0520 football boots shoes
  • adidas NMD_CS2 PK W (blue / white)
  • Stylish Moony Mood Causette Ankle Boots Black For Women Online
  • KD 7 Blue Brand Gold Royal White
  • adidas Originals Women's Shoes GAZELLE - Trainers - purple
  • Pumps & Heels Women BCBGeneration Jaze Suede Pump Grey New Exclusive
  • Package Adidas Forum Mid Shoes Black Patent Leather Sneakers Polyvore forum mid G51450 adidas FORUM MID adidas Originals Forum Mid KnewOne Adidas Forum
  • Mens Adidas Shoes Adidas Tennis Shoes Gray Green Blue White No.1797
  • Boots Men 7 Hole Moc Toe Suede Boots Neutrals Quality
  • Nike Air Force 1 Busy P Black Blue Rainbow Replica
  • Nike Air Zoom Elite 8 Running Shoes Men Black/White/Grey/Dark Grey
  • Super Bowl Edition Adidas Ultra Boost Silver 3.0 Mens Size 8.5 Silver [Xb4838]