Men's Asics Soccer Boots Shoes Size US 13 Euro 48 GUC 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

2015 Nike Free Run 5.0 V6 Men Shoes Grey Red,Adidas Soccer F50 Adizero FG Cleats Core Black Metallic Silver Metallic Silver For Men2015 Nike Lunar Flyknit Chukka Mens Running Shoes Green Rainbow Double Complexion On Sale For Cheap Trainers,. 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, 2015 Nike Zoom Hypercross Trainer"Galaxy" Midnight Navy/Cyber-Lightt Retro-White Mens Shoes,Nike Tiempo Legend V Firm Ground Soccer Cleat Soar Volt For Men2016 Discount Nike Air Jordan 14 Retro Kids Basketball Shoes Grey Black Blue Child Sneakers,.

"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, 2016 Latest Nike Air Jordan Imminent Basketball Shoes Deep Blue Mens Sneakers,Nike Mercurial Victory V Firm Ground Soccer Cleat Volt Black Hyper Pink For Men2016 Nike Air Trainer V Cruz Prm Black/Orange Noir/Orange Mens Shoes Online Oulter 821955-001,, 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. 2016 Nike Kobe 11 XI"Bruce Lee"Low Mens Basketball Shoes University Gold/University Red-Black Sneakers 822675-706,Nike Mercurial Vapor X Firm Ground Soccer Cleat Laser Orange Black Volt White For Men2016 Under Armour Micro G Anatomix Spawn 2 Mens Shoes Pinkadelic/Black/Hyper Green Sneakers,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Air Jordan AJ V.2. Low Mens Shoes 2014 Black White,Nike Tiempo Genio Leather FG Firm Ground Soccer Cleat Black White For MenAir Max 2011 Leather Mens Shoes Wholesale black,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 2012 Shoes White/Blue/Light Orange 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 Max 90 Mens Shoes Cheap On Sale Grey White,Nike Mercurial Bostonfly Firm Ground Soccer Cleat Volt Black Hyper Pink For MenAir Max 90 Mens Shoes Cheap Wholesale Black White Blu,, 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.

Air Max 90 Premium EM Mens Shoes 2013 New Green,Adidas Soccer F50 Adizero FG Cleats Core Black For MenAIR MAX LTD 01 Mens Shoes Cheap Unique White Black Blue Azure,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Air Max Ltd 2 Mens Shoes White Black Gray,Nike Magista Obra Firm Ground Soccer Cleat Black Blue Lagoon Volt White For MenBuy Cheap Nike KD 7 2015 Orange Blue Mens 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, Buy Cheap Nike Kobe 9 2014 Black Red White Mens Shoes,Nike Magista Obra SG PRO Soft Ground Soccer Cleat Poison Green Black Total Orange For MenBuy Cheap Nike Lebro 11 XI 2014 Low Blue Green Mens Shoes,.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 90   360 Shoes Cream/Dark Brown/Black

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Buy Nike Air Max 1 Men's Running Shoe Maroon/White,Nike Zoom SB Stefan Janoski Skateboarding Shoes Dark Obsidian White Crystal Mint Dark Obsidian For MCheap For Sale Nike Air Max 90 Men Shoes Online Black White,. "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. "Cheap On Sale Nike Air Jordan 4 IV Retro Mens Shoes White Black,Nike SB Stefan Janoski Warmth Skateboarding Shoes Black Gym Red Ivory For MenCheap Sale Popular Air Jordan 11 XI Retro Mens Shoes For Winter Black Red,."

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 90 Grey/Blue/Yellow 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.Discount Air Max TN I Mens Shoes gold white,Nike SB Lunar Stefan Janoski Skateboarding Shoes Obsidian Summit White Umber For MenFashion Nike Hypervenom Phantom Tf Boots Green Black Citrus,. 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.

"For Sale Popular On Sale Nike Dunk Mid Mens Shoes Black Blue,Nike SB Zoom Stefan Janoski Mid Skateboarding Shoes Summit White Cool Grey Wolf Grey Black For MenHot Nike Air Jordan 4 Kids Black Blue Orange,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Lebron 9 P.S Elite For Men in 65818,Nike Free SB Skateboarding Shoes Gym Red Bright Crimson Sail Black For MenMen's Air Max Lebron VIII Shoes in 24394,," 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.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 91 Shoes White/Blue/Lime

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

Mens nike air max tn kpu nano grey blue,Nike SB Lunar Oneshot Shoes Cool Grey Bleached Turquoise Ivory Black For MenNew Releases Air Jordan Spizike 3.5 Retro Mens Shoes White,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Nike Air Griffey Max 1 training shoes-3,Nike Free SB Skateboarding Shoes Black Sail Dark Grey For MenNike Air Jordan 3 III Cement Mens Shoes White Grey Blue,, 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.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max BW Shoes White/Dark Grey/Dark Blue 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, Nike Air Jordan Cement 3 III Retro Mens Shoes Cool Grey,Nike Lab Gyakusou Lunaracer 3 Running Shoes Team Red Gym Red Black Pine Light Charcoal For MenNike Air Jordan V.1 Chukka Mens Height Shoes Christmas Red,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Nike Air Max 2014 New Released Shoes Green,Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 2 Running Shoes Bright Crimson Black University Gold Blue Lagoon For MenNike Air Max 90 Hyperfuse PRM Mens Shoes 2014 White Blue,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Nike Air Max 90 PRM Tape 2014 New Shoes Black,Nike LunarGlide 6 Running Shoes Light Magnet Grey Photo Blue Volt Black For MenNike Air Max LeBron 10 Elite Basketball Shoes For Men in 94972,," 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 Air Max Penny Hardaway For Men in 61193,Nike LunarGlide 6 Running Shoes White Lyon Blue Photo Blue Black For MenNike Air Max TN I Mens Shoes darkgray,.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max Jordan 3 Shoes Black 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."

Nike Air Max TN I Mens Shoes Unique black silver,Nike Dual Fusion Run 3 Running Shoes Blue Graphite Total Orange White Black For MenNike Air Penny Hardaway Mens Shoes Online Black Yellow,.

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.

Nike Barkley Posite Max For Men in 77564,Nike Free 5 0 Running Shoes White Wolf Grey Pure Platinum Metallic Silver For MenNike Dunk SB 2012 New Mid Cut Mens Shoes white balck green,.

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 Free Powerlines II Mens Shoes Green,Nike Air Max 2015 Running Shoes Black Bright Crimson Blue Lagoon White For MenNike Hypervenom Phantom Premium FG Soccer Cleats yellow purple,.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max LTD Shoes Black/White/Grey Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Nike Kobe VII(6) in 18878,Nike Air Max 2015 Running Shoes Black White For MenNike lebron St Low cut For Men in 66653,. 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,Nike Magista Onda Turf Hyper Punch football boots black yellow pink,Adidas Outdoor Terrex Scope GTX Shoes Black Solar Red White For MenNike Rosherun Dyn FW QS Lovers Ultralight Pulling Wire Mesh Low Deep Blue Gray Rocks Running Shoes,, 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, Nike Zoom KD V 5 Elite Mens Shoes White Gold,Adidas Originals Bostonstar Shoes Charcoal Solid Grey Black Running White For MenNike Zoom Kobe V (5)-5,.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max TN Shoes Black/Orange 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. Online Nike Flyknit Trainer Suede Leather Blue Mens Sneakers,Adidas Originals Top Ten HI Running White Ftw Clear Onix Iron Metallic For MenShopping Nike Free Run 3.0 Mens Running Shoes Wool Skin For Winter 2013 Discount Grey Red White,.

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. To Buy Hot Sale Nike Air Max 90 Men Shoes Black Red,Adidas Originals Samoa Shoes Core White Running White Silver For MenWholesale Air Max TN I Mens Shoes white blue,, 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," Nike Air Force 1 Comfort Lux Low Red/Red Sneakers for MAN,Adidas Originals ZX 700 Shoes Collegiate Burgundy For MenNike Air Trainer 1 Mid White/White Trainers for MAN,.

Family ties

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

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk High Shoes Black/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, Nike Free Flyknit Chukka Wolf Grey/Black Running Shoes for MAN,Adidas Originals Veritas Mid Shoes Core Black For MenAdidas Energy Boost LTD Core Black/Off White Trainers for MAN,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Nike Air Max Lunar1 Deluxe QS Antarctica/Team Orange/Anthracite Sneakers for MAN,Adidas Originals adi Ease Shoes Grey For MenNike Zoom Penny VI Black/Black/Metallic Copper Sneakers for MAN,, 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. 

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk High Shoes Grey/Cream/Blue/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. Nike Juvenate Faded Olive/Medium Olive//Sail Sneakers for MAN,Nike TW '14 Mesh Golf Shoes White Volt Wolf Grey Black For MenNike SB Free Black/White/Dark Grey Sneakers for MAN,.  

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 Campus 80s Japan Pack Vintage Core Black/Off White/Core White Trainers for MAN,Dress X H209 HXM2090H6016Q6B999 Formal Shoes For MenConverse All Star Ox Red Trainers for UNISEX,. 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 Benassi JDI QS Black/Black Flip Flop for WOMAN,Jordan 6 Retro TD Football Cleat White Black For MenNew Balance W576 Orange/Grey Trainers for WOMAN,."

AA5740-102 Nike Air Direct Max Fury Really Cool Running Shoes,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Direct 2018 Mens Under Armour UA Curry Best Quality 4 High White/Black Basketball Shoes new,2014 Nike Free Gym Mens Shoes Online White BlackDiscount Authentic 308497-089 Mens Nike Air Jordan 4 Shoes Black/Red/White,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Discount Authentic 429493-103 Mens Nike Air Jordan Shoes Evolution 85 White/Black-Metallic Silver,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Discount Authentic Kids Nike Air Jordan 4 Shoes White/Grey/Black,2015 Air Max 90 Mens Shoes Black Green OutletDiscount Authentic Kids Nike Shox Torch Shoes White/Grey/Orange,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 1 Shoes White/Blue,2015 Hot Nike Air Max 87 Thea Flyknit Mens Shoes Online Outlet Running Shoes Black WhiteDiscount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 13 Shoes White/Dark Red/Black,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 4 Shoes White/Blue/Black,2015 Latest Nike Air Max Zero QS 87 Retro Mens Running Shoes Royal Blue Deep BlueDiscount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan Hydro Black,
Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan Son Of Mars Shoes Black/Dark Red/Cream,2015 Latest Nike Roshe Run Frgmt 3 Fragment Design Retro Mesh Gauze Shoes Online First Mens Black White SpotDiscount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 2009 Shoes White/Silver/Black/Red,
  • Discount 233726 Nike Hyperize Kobe Bryant Olympic Men Black Red Shoes
  • Nike Kids Air Jordan 1 High Tops All Black Sneakers 3125544
  • Salomon S-Wind Men Running Shoes Green Black 504104
  • Cheap Nike Mercurical Victory VI IC Green Blue White Sale
  • Gum Shoes - Men's - Bryant Kobe - Nike Kobe A.D. - Basketball - Black Light Brown 4OJ3335
  • Base London Mens Flats Shoes Black
  • Nike Kyrie 2 Sneakers All Styles
  • New Jordan Retro 7 Pinnacle Jacket White/Black For Men Online Sale
  • Nike Mercurial X 10 Superfly FG Leathe purple football boots shoes
  • Nike WMNS Air VaporMax Flyknit Day to Night Packpink
  • Stylish Pinaz Zara Espadrilles Yellow For Women
  • KD 7 Option VII 7 ID Wolf certificate Crimson Grey Metallic Silver
  • adidas Performance Women's Shoes ADISTAR BOOST - Cushioned running shoes - black/zero metallic/neon pink
  • Pumps & Heels Women Bandolino Velta Platform Pump Black 100% Top Quality
  • Oxfords Men Grant Kudu Suede Oxford Shoes Brown New Style
  • Mens Adidas Shoes Adidas Pure Boost Zero Gravity Shoes Orange Dark Red No.1819
  • Boat Shoes Men Americana Suede Deck Shoes Blue Big Discount New
  • Nike Air Force 1 Low GS Iron Man
  • Nike Flex Fury 2 Running Shoes Men Grey/Metallic Silver/Platinum
  • Mens Adidas Astar Ride 4 M Runners Size 8 Nib [Et5524]
  • 2015 New Air Jordan 6 VI Retro Mens Shoes Leopard Black Grey Red