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"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, Men's Nike Downshifter 6 Wolf Grey/Black/White/Volt UK#N5-9200,Nike Kevin Durant Men Coupon_1745,Men's Nike Metcon 1 Cargo Khaki/Green Strike/White UK#N5-9557,, 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 Kids Lunarglide 7 Black/White/Volt/Photo Blue UK#N5-9118,Nike Kevin Durant War Boots Men Coupon_1777,Women's Nike Air Max Dynasty Wolf Grey/Chalk Blue/Cool Grey/White UK#N5-9464,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Crep Rain and Stain Shoe Care CP352,Nike Kobe Bryant Men Coupon_1826,adidas Originals Junior Superstar Foundation Trainer CP557,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.
The demand for construction workers is intensifying before the 2020 Olympics, Nike Junior Air Force 1 Low Trainer CP621,JORDAN FLIGHTFLEX Black/Black/Black,Nike Kids Alpha Strike 2 3/4 TD BG Football Sport Royal/Black/White UK#N5-9496,, 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.
Abandon Ship Panel Full Zip Hooded Top CP933,Men's Basketball Shoe Kobe XI Elite 822675-001,Criminal Damage Thorpe Full Zip Hooded Top CP1030,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. UCLA Shrader Tape Hooded Top CP1173,Men's Basketball Shoe Nike Zoom HyperRev 2016 820224-414,Brave Soul Borwell Premium Bomber Jacket CP1277,.
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, Luke 1977 Jules Neoprene Puffer Jacket CP1443,Men's Boot Nike Zoom Kynsi Jacquard Waterproof 806973-001,The North Face La Paz Hooded Jacket CP1529,.
Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Condemned Nation Raleigh Short CP2105,Men's Lacrosse Cleat Nike Lunar Control 4 College 807142-411,Original Penguin Mojo Chino Short CP2192,. "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. "Alessandro Zavetti Ernici Track Top CP3538,Men's Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 652925-802,Toms University Slip On Espadrille CP3807,."
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.Lyle & Scott Connell Twill Shoe CP3926,Men's Lacrosse Clea Nike Vapor Speed 684837-180,adidas Originals Busenitz Trainer CP4041,. 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.
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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.
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
Nike Air Max 95 OG Trainer CP4716,Men's Running Shoe Nike Air Zoom Vomero 10 717440-002,Nike Flyknit Trainer Chukka FSB CP4854,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.
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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.
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 Sandals adidas by Stella McCartney Diadophis Slide Core Black/Core Black/Pearl Grey,Men's Shoe Air Jordan 5 Retro 136027-133,Womens Shoes adidas Originals Adria Lo W Black/White/Black,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.
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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."
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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.
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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
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"It is impossible for Japanese to create a very competitive technology-based company unless we globalize internally,Womens Sandals Clarks Brinkley Jazz Black,Men's Shoe Nike Roshe One Hyper Breathe 833125-401,Womens Shoes Clarks Claribel Fame Taupe Nubuck,, 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.
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Mikitani's revelation came during a lunch session with Indian engineers. Womens Shoes COACH Olive Metallic Cherry/Metallic Cross Grain Leather,Men's Tennis Shoe Nike Lunar Ballistec 1.5 705285-107,Womens Sandals Cole Haan Arden High Wedge Sandstone,.
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. Womens Shoes Cole Haan Bowie Slip On Sneaker Zebra Print Haircalf/Black Suede,Men's Training Shoe Nike Train Quick 844406-107,Womens Shoes Cole Haan Cortland Detail Ballet II Black/Black Patent,, via a loyalty point system.
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But IT workers are an exception. Most others, even skilled workers, face significant hurdles to settling in Japan.
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.
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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. Womens Shoes New Balance WW411 Black,NIKE INTERNATIONALIST MID River Rock/Total Orange/Summit White/F,Womens Shoes New Balance WX811 Purple/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, Womens Shoes Nike Primo Court Mesh White/White,NIKE ROSHE RUN PRINT Total Orange/Black/White,Womens Shoes Nike Air Pegasus '83 Gym Red/Deep Garnet/Cyber/Bright Crimson,. 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.
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