NIKE AIR ZOOM STRUCTURE 18 FLASH Cool Grey/Black/Reflect Silver 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 Anne Klein Rylie Cafe Latte Leather,Nike Roshe One Boys Grade School Black/Cool Grey Running Shoes V15196,Womens Shoes Anne Klein AKFinale Black/Natural/Leopard,. 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 Boots C Label Cathy-8B Olive,Adidas Crazy 1 Mens Tribe Yellow/Black Basketball Shoes V81864,Womens Shoes C Label Clower-5 Tan,.

"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 Sandals Calvin Klein Pax Sand Gold/Black Leather,Adidas D Rose 5 Boost Mens Black/Onix/White Basketball Shoes V23665,Womens Shoes Calvin Klein Gailia Black Python Baby Python,, 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 Calvin Klein Calida Black Kid Suede/Patent,Adidas Adizero Boston Boost 5 Mens Black/White Running Shoes V31131,Womens Sandals CARLOS by Carlos Santana Bondi Red Floral,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Womens Boots Clarks Morela Liza Khaki Leather,Adidas Springblade Drive Mens Blue Beauty/Black Running Shoes V39070,Womens Sandals Clarks Leisa Bloom Coral Leather,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Cheap 227671 Nike Roshe Run Men Lime 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 Clarks Haydn Maize Black Leather,Adidas Superstar 4g Mens Black/White Slippers V31319,Womens Shoes Clarks Tri Step Black Leather,, 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 Sandals COACH Cottage Gunmetal Metallic Tumbled,Nike Air Max Ltd Mens Black Running Shoes V12151,Womens Shoes COACH Lorrie Chalk/Watermelon Semi Matte Calf,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Womens Boots Cole Haan Carlyle Dress Boot Chestnut,Nike Air Max Tavas Mens Black/Anthracite Running Shoes V13090,Womens Sandals Cole Haan Barra Sandal Optic White/Sandstone/Maple Sugar,.

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 Cole Haan Bethany Pump 65 Black Patent,Nike Flex Fury 2 Mens Wolf Grey/Dark Grey/Cool Grey/Black Running Shoes V97547,Womens Shoes Cole Haan Nantucket Loafer Argento Metallic,.

Shopping 147346 Nike Shox R2 Men White Pink Shoes

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Womens Boots ECCO Touch 25 Buckle High Black,Nike Fs Lite Run 3 Mens Black/Racer Blue/Volt/Black Running Shoes V25145,Womens Shoes ECCO Babett Tie Warm Grey,. "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 Sandals GUESS Dola Floral Fabric,Adidas Pure Boost Mens Grey/Gold Running Shoes V56748,Womens Boots Hunter Original Patent Pac Boot Bright Plum,."

Comfortable 202659 Nike Zoom Hyperdunk Men Orange White Grey 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 Boots Naturalizer Cantor Bridal Brown Leather,Adidas Springblade Drive Womens Power Teal/Frost Mint/Neon Orange Running Shoes V69462,Womens Shoes Naturalizer Sincere Coral Metallic Leather,. 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 Shoes New Balance W650v2 Lead,Adidas Sprintstar Womens White/White/Shock Pink Track & Field Shoes V95733,Womens Shoes New Balance W490v3 Grey/Green,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Womens Shoes Nike Classic Cortez BR Wolf Grey/Cool Grey/White,Nike Air Max Dynasty Womens White/Cool Grey/Black Running Shoes V90447,Womens Shoes Nike Air Relentless 5 Cool Grey/Blue Lagoon/White/White,," 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.

Authentic 189253 Nike Zoom Kobe VI Men Black Red 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 Boots PATRIZIA Timandra Taupe,Adidas Energy Boost 2 Esm Womens Midnight Grey/White/Frozen Green Running Shoes V64398,Womens Shoes PATRIZIA Rouge Black,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Womens Shoes PUMA The Suede Winterized Rugged Chipmunk Brown/Coral Cloud Pink,Nike Free Rn Flyknit Womens Laser Orange/Gamma Blue/Cool Grey/Black Running Shoes V60746,Womens Boots Rocket Dog Teagan Brown Ragtag/Matterhorn,, 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 180636 Nike Shox R4 Men White 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 Rocket Dog Sparkley Black Time Travel,Nike Lunaracer + 3 Womens Racer Blue/White/Voltage Green/Black Running Shoes V71941,Womens Sandals Sam Edelman Kayde Black Kid Suede Leather,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Womens Shoes Sam Edelman Delilah Black Leather,Men's Nike Match Supreme White/Black/White/Black UK#N5-9481,Womens Shoes Saucony Originals Shadow Original - Sushi Pack Green/Teal,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Womens Shoes Timberland Brattleboro 6" Slush Grey,Men's Nike Lunar Ultimate TR Premium Black/Dark Grey/Metallic Silver UK#N5-9613,Womens Boots UGG Emalie Black Leather,," 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.

Womens Sandals UGG Jazmine Calf Hair Leopard Chestnut Leopard Calf Hair,Nike Kids Mercurial Victory V CR TF Soccer Black/Total Crimson/White UK#N5-9597,Womens Boots Vaneli Jamilla Taupe Nival Suede/Mtch Elastic,.

Discount 218253 Adidas Climacool Ride Women Pink Silver 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."

Womens Sandals Vaneli Ismar Black Nubia/Match Zip,Women's Nike Free Cross Compete Wolf Grey/Dark Grey/Opti Yellow/Black UK#N5-8795,Womens Shoes Vaneli Doryne Opal Pearl Nappa,.

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.

Womens Shoes Vaneli Bondy Black Nappa,Good For Nothing Logo Snapback CP184,Nike Essential,.

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

TW Mobility Camo Emboss,Flossy Infant Plimsole CP511,Nike Tech Fleece Hero Full-Zip Flash,.

Inexpensive 222375 New Balance W1600 Women Black Shoes Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Hurley Dri-FIT Drifter Jogger Elastic Cuff,Nike Junior Air Max 90 Trainer CP624,Nike Dri-FIT Tech Elevated,. 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,Youth UEFA EURO 2016 Germany Away Replica Player,Creative Recreation Nursery Cesario Quilted Trainer CP756,Nike Championship Locker Room (Connecticut),, 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, Women's Techfit 5-Inch Short Tights,Jack & Jones Glen ORIJ887 Noos Jean CP884,Various Sizes Fitflop Sling Grass Green Online 1kIAEXDd,.

Cheap 162458 Nike Air Max Women Gray Pink 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. Authentic 3t63i iszq33 August Deals Nike Blazer Low Mens,Creative Recreation Reese Full Zip Hooded Top CP1009,Authentic mm8v9 fmknef August Deals Nike Air Max Thea 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. Buy 5snp9 2u8pz3 Cheap Adidas Superstar Womens Pink Shoes,Nike Tech AW77 Hooded Top CP1114,Buy nyhkp 9scmxb August Deals Nike Air Huarache 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," Cheap 7v5k2 ggnxpx August Deals Nike Air Max Zero Womens,Bellfield Sully Borg Puffer Jacket CP1247,Cheap pgig7 fcgagy August Deals Superstar Mens Blue,.

Family ties

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

Buy 167167 Nike Dunk Low Women White Lemon 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, Discount f74iq bs4azn August Deals Nike Air Max 95 Mens,Creative Recreation Cary Hybrid Reflective Jacket CP1321,Discount y5iad kme8s6 August Deals Nike Free 50 Mens,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Online mkzzd gk5cig August Deals Nike Blazer Low Womens,Only & Sons Skeet Parka CP1484,Outlet bur2g xcecpg August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Black,, 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. 

Comfortable 229833 Nike Hyperdunk Women Black Red Shoes

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. Sale 35q6s bwdvng August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Pink,Hawksworth Farne Cable Knit Jumper CP1808,Sale panaf yxwyyh Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens 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, UK brqu4 gvfciv August Deals Ultra Boost Mens,Converse Core Fleece Short CP2115,Buy 151593 New Balance Kids KV696 Kid Silver Pink 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," Discount 163748 Adidas Springblade Razor Men Metallic Silver Black Light Shoes,Asylum Gripper Short CP2291,Shopping 189620 Air Jordan Retro 1 Men White Gold Shoes,."

Buy 199787 New Balance Classics M574 Men Black Shoes,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Authentic 156510 Nike Air Classic BW Si Men White Black Shoes,Nike Air Max Tavas Trainer CP4715,Cheap 164314 Nike Air Force 1 Men Shoes,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Shopping 170637 Nike Air Max Men Blue White Shoes,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Discount 199408 Nike Air Max 90 Men White Purple Black Shoes,Nike Free SB Premium Flash Trainer CP4844,Shopping 173539 Nike Air Max 90 Vt Men Grey White Shoes,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Shopping 176505 Nike Air Max Tailwind+ 4 Men Grey Blue Green Shoes,Ransom Valley Lite Trainer CP4973,Comfortable 199659 Nike Dream Season Kobe Bryant Men White Black Purple Shoes,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Discount 176160 Nike Dunk Low Men Yellow Blue Shoes,Y3 Vern EQT Trainer CP5129,Comfortable 151804 Nike Free 4.0 V2 Men Grey White Shoes,
Buy 160654 Nike Free Run 3 Men Blue Grey White Shoes,Nike Womens Benassi JDI Slide Sandal CP5236,Discount 164552 Nike Lunarglide Men Black Green Shoes,
  • Nike Flex Fury Womens Vivid Purple/Copa/Blue Lagoon/Black Running Shoes V84974
  • VANS ERA LEATHER PLAID RHUBARB BLACK RED AUTHENTIC MENS SIZE SZ 9.5 NEW SHOES [X5p7322]
  • NEW NIKE ZOOM VAPO TENNIS SHO Men's Shoes White/Voltage Green/Gorge Green/Black
  • Le Chameau Vierzon Unisex Wellington Boots in Black Q3786
  • Newest Style Nike Drill Top Yellow Mens 3907
  • Cheap Msgm Tie Ankle White Brogues For Women Online Sale
  • Nike Wmns Internationalist Women Yellow
  • Ankle Strap Crystal Crisscross Sandals - Black - 39
  • Vans - Popular Skool Trainer : Reasonable Price Provide Factory Price
  • Best Mens Hackett London Docksider Slip-Ons Shoes Dark Blue
  • New BalanceWX20v4
  • Basketball WALL-0014
  • On Sale Authentic Clutchfit Drive Low Red Mint Green Gold
  • Washington Redskins Luxurious Comfort Free Shipping White Limited High-Grade Men Nike Jersey 365 Days Return Customized
  • Nike Black Shoes Mens Air Foamposite One Green
  • Kids - Air Jordan 12 XII Retro Obsidian / University Blue-White-French Blue Shoes
  • 3817 Good-feeling Nike Air Jordan 2 Men Black Shoes
  • NFL Houston Texans Game Jersey (Brian Cushing) 479417-691 Gym Red/Marine
  • Men's Freewaters Zac Black Sandals (Black) - SL094H23T
  • Women's Nine West Flax Navy Leather Heels (Black Leather) - XY05