NIKE ROSHE RUN PRINT Villain Red/Team Red/Light Mulberry/Black 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 Aerosoles Aribesque Wine,Women's Training Shoe Nike Metcon 1 813101-001,Womens Boots ALDO Mirinna Black,. 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 Anne Klein Dvorah Taupe Suede,Adidas Rose 4.5 Boys Preschool Black/Light Scarlet Basketball Shoes V21240,Womens Shoes Anne Klein Octavie Light Gold Sprinkles,.

"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 Shoes Anne Klein Dane Black White/Black Synthetic,Nike Free 5.0 2015 Boys Preschool Blue Lagoon/Metallic Silver/Midnight Navy/Copa Running Shoes V3986,Womens Boots C Label Cathy-8B White,, 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 C Label Liberty-13 Black/Grey,Adidas Element Refine Boys Grade School Collegiate Royal/White/Black Running Shoes V46152,Womens Sandals Calvin Klein Jiselle Navy Patent,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Womens Shoes Calvin Klein Gella Cameo Rose Patent,Nike Roshe One Boys Grade School Light Crimson/White/Racer Blue/Obsidian Running Shoes V60970,Womens Shoes Calvin Klein Brady White/Black Striation Leather,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Discount 224485 Nike Hyperdunk Men Grey Green Yellow 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 Sandals CARLOS by Carlos Santana Mezza Silver,Nike Roshe One Girls Grade School Metallic Silver/Blue Lagoon/White/Electro Green Running Shoes V635,Womens Boots Clarks Gelata Italia 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 Clarks Netrix Rose Black Leather,Adidas D Lillard 2.0 Mens Gold/Dark Grey/Green Glow Basketball Shoes V56135,Womens Shoes Clarks Amelia Page Black Leather,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Womens Shoes Clarks Un Hearth Pewter Metallic,Adidas Wall 2 Mens Grey/Night Metallic/Medium Grey Heather Basketball Shoes V56915,Womens Sandals COACH Judy Black/Brown/Pink Ruby,.

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 COACH Remonna Black/Pewter Signature,Adidas Adilette Cloudfoam Ultra Mens Black/Silver Metallic Slippers V26654,Womens Boots Cole Haan Roper Grand Boot Chestnut Suede,.

Buy 194289 Nike Lebron 11 Men Red Black Grey Shoes

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Womens Sandals Cole Haan Murley Wedge Soft Gold,Adidas Ace 16.1 Fg/Ag Mens Shock Blue/Semi Solar Slime/White Soccer Shoes V74513,Womens Shoes Cole Haan Pinch Weekender Black Canvas,. "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 Shoes Cole Haan Elsie Open Toe Wedge II Fuchsia/Cork,Nike Air Max Wright Mens Dark Grey/Deep Royal Blue/White Running Shoes V50291,Womens Sandals ECCO Flash Huarache Sandal Coffee 2,."

Inexpensive 202552 Nike Roshe Run Men Carbon Black Carbon Dust 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 ECCO Golf Street EVO One Luxe White,Nike Air Max 95 Mens White/Black Running Shoes V86658,Womens Sandals GUESS Roxxie Gold,. 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 GUESS Eloy Snake Synthetic,Nike Cortez Mens White/Black/Metallic Silver Running Shoes V88265,Womens Sandals Naturalizer Gail Cognac Leather,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Womens Shoes Naturalizer Sandee Saddle Tan Leather,Nike Lunarglide 7 Flash Mens Black/Pure Platinum/Dark Grey/Reflective Silver Running Shoes V24320,Womens Shoes New Balance 521 Black,," 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.

Buy 171653 Nike Shox O Nine Men Black White Blue 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 New Balance Classics WL515 Black/Pink Suede/Textile,Nike Zoom Vomero 10 Mens Cool Grey/Black/Logoon/White Running Shoes V46605,Womens Shoes Nike Free 5.0 TR Fit 5 PRT Black/Volt/White,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Womens Shoes Nike Core Motion TR 2 Mesh Ocean Fog/Blue Grey/White/Metallic Platinum,Adidas Solar Boost Womens Grey/Crystal White/Shock Red Running Shoes V56730,Womens Sandals PATRIZIA Gamma Black,, 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.

Authentic 207618 Nike Shox R4 Men Black 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 PUMA Haraka XCS Pool Green/Grenadine,Adidas Pure Boost X Trainer Womens Black/White/Dark Grey Training Shoes V33860,Womens Shoes Reebok Sport Ahead Action RS Dark Sage/Luna Pink/Black,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Womens Sandals Rocket Dog Nacho Black Webbing,Nike Air Max 2016 Womens Anthracite/Chalk Blue/Cool Grey/Reflective Silver Running Shoes V10812,Womens Boots Sam Edelman Tilden Black Oily Velour Suede,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Womens Shoes Sam Edelman Odelia Modern Ivory Brahma,Nike Air Max Thea Womens White/Black/White Running Shoes V89021,Womens Shoes Saucony Kinvara 6 White/Blue/Coral,," 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 Shoes Supra Joplin Black Crinkle/White,Adidas Element Refine Womens Black Running Shoes V12653,Womens Boots UGG Moto Black Suede,.

Comfortable 197528 Nike Zoom Kobe V Men Black Green Yellow 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 Boots UGG Cassidee Tall Black Leather/Knit,Nike Shox Nz Womens Metallic Silver/White/Gamma Blue/Electric Green Running Shoes V64066,Womens Shoes UGG Audrey Exotic Antique White Leather,.

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 Sandals Vaneli Baxie Multi Darry Print/Match Zip,Men's Nike MD Runner 2 Leather White/Black UK#N5-9483,Womens Shoes Vaneli Chineka Navy E-Print/Mtch Elastic,.

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

Womens Shoes Vaneli Sabrena Taupe Dixan Calf/Match Ferns Patent,Men's Nike SB Check Canvas Cool Grey/White/Dark Obsidian UK#N5-9380,Unisex Shoes Vans Slip-On 59 (Denim C&L) Navy,.

Discount 220709 Puma Cabana Racer II Lx Men Yellow White Shoes Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Nike Vapor Speed,Nike SB Kids Paul Rodriguez CTD LR Black/Teal/Black/White UK#N5-9601,Nike SB Icon Cherry Blossom Pullover,. 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,Women's Drip Trefoil Tee,Ellesse Regent Nylon Backpack CP45,Women's Response Graphic Tee,, 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, Running Women’s Shorts,Nike Kids Roshe Run Print Pink Pow/Total Orange/Vivid Pink/Metallic Silver UK#N5-9183,Hurley Phantom Compression Three-Quarter,.

Buy 168136 Nike Roshe Run Unisex Carbon Black Gray Lemon Yellow 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. Brazil CBF Authentic N98,adidas Originals Junior ZX Flux Trainer CP564,UK Outlet Store Nike Lunar Glide +4 Mens Shoes Orange sVL1ke5B,.

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. Wholesale UK Adidas Adizero Feather M Shoes Women Black j1j2MyL0,Ralph Lauren Polo Junior Hanford Trainer CP686,Authentic c3mdt zu24pm Cheap Adidas Superstar Womens Black Shoes,, 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," Authentic xi6th nsnbb8 August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens,Vans Nursery Authentic Trainer CP801,Buy fqgqf uyxt4x August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Pink,.

Family ties

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

Shopping 237875 New Balance Classics Wl501 Women Orange 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, Cheap 4tt8b feiybr August Deals Superstar Womens,adidas Originals Original Trefoil Hooded Top CP949,Cheap n5tu7 2bq6z5 August Deals Nike Air Max Zero Mens,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Discount 3uwxs 7mis5y August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Black,Henri Lloyd Franklin Full Zip Hooded Top CP1074,Discount qfur8 bvr2tw August Deals Nike Air Huarache 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. 

Shopping 202891 Nike Air Max Women White Black Green 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. Online g766u wkm8w9 August Deals Nike Roshe Run Womens,UCLA California Hooded Top CP1169,Outlet 3rc5p n9gize August Deals ZX 850 Womens,.  

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, Outlet rzadx 77s436 August Deals ZX Flux Mens,Brave Soul Nipton Longline Puffer Jacket CP1272,Sale e5s5p qgpb9p August Deals Nike Free 50 Womens,. 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," UK 3fq86 rmxgef August Deals Nike Air Max 2015 Womens,Jack & Jones Premium Dave Driver Mac Jacket CP1427,UK ynqvg hgz8q4 August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Purple,."

Shopping 195146 Adidas Originals Lifestyle Men Blue White Shoes,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Cheap 234019 Air Jordan 5 (V) Men Raging Bull Red Red Black Shoes,Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Hiker Trainer CP4284,Inexpensive 157253 Lebron 11 Men Green Grey Shoes,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Inexpensive 199093 New Balance Mt610V3 Men Black Blue Lime Shoes,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Cheap 211049 Nike Air Force 1 Men Shoes,Fred Perry Stratford Canvas Trainer CP4449,Buy 197913 Nike Air Max Men Black Blue Shoes,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Shopping 200579 Nike Air Max 1 Hyperfuse Men Black Green Shoes,Le Coq Sportif Eclat 89 Trainer CP4535,Inexpensive 147945 Nike Air Max 90 Men White Grey Black Shoes,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Buy 196329 Nike Air Max Shake Evolve Men Black White Shoes,Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Moire Trainer CP4693,Shopping 244147 Nike Classic Cortez Nylon Qs Aloha Men Green Black Shoes,
Inexpensive 185425 Nike Dunk High Men White Red Black Shoes,Nike Koth Ultra Mid Trainer CP4858,Comfortable 184483 Nike Free 3.0 V4 Men Blue White Shoes,
  • Adidas Pure Boost 2 Womens Flash Orange/White/Graphic Running Shoes V53717
  • VANS OLD SKOOL MTE (MTE) HONEY/LEATHER MENS TRAINERS SHOES [F4g4590]
  • top Quality Nike SB Dunk Low Black Pigeon Staple Red Sienna stores 883232-008
  • Nike Air Zoom Elite Shoes Purple/Black /Nike Jordan [ N827]
  • Where Do You Buy Uhlsport Team Essential Socks Black Mens 1572
  • Aquazzura Samba Ballerinas For Women
  • adidas Originals NMD_R1 W Women Blue
  • Nike Air Huarache Men Verdi
  • Nike - Unique Design 90 Sneakerboot Winter Trainer : Relax High-Fashion
  • Beautiful Mens Belmondo Smart Lace-Ups Brown
  • Vans Old Skool Reissue DX Black
  • Basketball James-0558
  • Legit Original Air Jordan 5 3Lab5 Versace Custom
  • Wholesale Air Jordan 3 Kids Retro Nike Shoes Cheap See Deals for Retro Nike Shoes Retro 3 Air Jordans Sale Up To 70 Off Retro 3 Air Jordans
  • Nike Dunk High Premium SB Online NEW discounts 313171-028 Spot Gasparilla Tampa QS
  • Kids - Air Jordan Retro V.1 White / Stealth Shoes
  • 6036 Inexpensive Nike Air Jordan 9 Men Black Shoes
  • Jordan Stay Cool Compression Sleeveless 642354-410 Midnight Navy/Cool Grey/Midnight Navy
  • Men's Drew Aaron Sneakers (Black/Grey Combo) - VU495P08Q
  • Women's Miz Mooz Luna Brandy Boots (Black) - JM486A60D