Nike Flex  RN 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

STEVE MADDEN - Wannabee sm leather boots Brown leather PTTDOZ,Timberland Stormbuck Lite,TERRA Blue FXWY62 El Naturalista,. 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, TWS Black OLY529 Camper,Adidas Denmark Training Top Red - Mens Top,VFBUWO Camp Orbit Mixed Express Express Set 11 cm green/blue (2018),.

"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, WOVEN GRAPHIC WORDMARK SHORT Blue V3GYZK Under Armour,Adidas Originals Superstar Track Top Black - Mens Track Tops,Adidas Originals Eqt Bold Windbreaker Core White/Black For Men Selling Well,, 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. 2015 2016 Nike Hyperdunks Cool Grey Direct Black Latest Gold,Ellesse Avivo Pique Track Top Blue - Mens Track Tops,2016 D Rose Customize 6 VI Best Deals Collegiate Super Royal White,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. adidas Yeezy Design Boost 350 V3 Black,New Balance Liverpool Fc Training Jersey Pre Order Black - Mens Top,Best Quality Nike Kobe 10 Elite Low Crimson Black Metallic Silver,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Cheap Priced Nike Kobe 12 Red Grey White 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, cheap KD 7 VII Electric Blue sale Royal promotion Volt Green,Puma Bordeaux 2016/17 Stadium Jersey Blue - Mens Top,discount Y-3 Adidas Yamamoto Qasa High Floral Factory Flower B25187 For,, 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.

Great Under Armour Speedform Apollo Vent Offer UA Men Running Total Black Orange White,Adidas Skateboarding Matchcourt 'Lucas' Footwear White/Core Black/Gum 3 Item UK0011,KD 7 ID ning Amazing Uprising Dark Wolf Special Grey Grey Light,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. KD VI Recommended 6 Elite cheaps 2014 World Cup,Nike Air Max 90 Ultra Moire Bright Crimson/Bright Crimson-White Item UK0070,LeBron 12 BHM Platinum 718825 Create 001 Black Metallic Silver Pure White,.

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, LeBron 13 NIKE Designs Fashion Thanos,Nike Free Flyknit Chukka Wolf Grey/Photo Blue-Brave Blue-Electric Green Item UK0119,Mens Nike Air MAX 2018 X DUNK SB LOW Upcoming DELUXE Flame Red Running Shoes,.

Cheapest Nike Air Max 2015 Black Green Volt White

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Nike Air Jordan 13 Retro cheap Love and Respect 888164 112,Nike Juvenate White/Pure Platinum-White Item UK0139,Nike Air Pro Max Tiny Authentic 90 (PS) Kids/ Youth Shoes 881927 006,. "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. "Nike Hyperquickness 3 Paul George shoes 2016 Black Store Silver,Nike Rosherun Midnight Navy/Black-White Item UK0165,Nike Kyrie Free Shipping 3 Duke White Blue Black,."

Discount adidas Crazylight Boost Low 2016 All Black White 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.Nike Zoom PG 1 Summer Pack Lowest price,Adidas Originals LA Trainer OG DGH Solid Grey/Vintage White S15-ST/DGH Solid Grey Item UK0237,Sean Wotherspoon x Comfortable Air Max 1/97 VF Best Quality SW Hybrid Black AJ4219-003,. 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.

"UA Curry One 1 Low Kent Bazemore PE Atlanta Hawks wholesale On The Hand,Asics Gel-Lyte III LC Black/Black Item UK0317,Under Armour Curry Suppliers One Personalisation Low Home Game Good Gold Royal,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively wholesale Nike ID KD 8 Official Easy Euro,Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Hi White Monochrome Item UK0347,2016 Sale Nike Air Max 87 Shoes Men's Light Green,," 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 Cheap Nike KD 6 Elite Series Blue Orange Grey

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

2016 Sale Nike Air Max Humara Trainers Man White Grey,Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Moire Black/Black-White Item UK0398,2016 Sale Nike Air Structure Triax 91 Black Silver Mens Shoes,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

2016 Sale Nike Free Run 3 Shoes Men Black Grey Jade,Nike Free Viritous Black/Black-Cool Grey-Pure Platinum Item UK0436,2017 American Nike Store Men's Nike Internationalist Mid Red Clay/Black Shoes Canada WRQ9103372,, 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 Nike Zoom Kobe Icon Easter Purple Green 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, 2017 Blue Nike Trainers Men's Nike Vapor Untouchable College Navy/White/White Shoes Canada GAK4301289,Nike SB Free Sail/Cool Grey-White Item UK0497,2017 Buy Online Nike Shoes Men's Nike Hypervenom Phantom Fg Black/Black/Total Orange/Black Shoes Canada CVF6302266,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

2017 Dark Grey Nike Shoes Men's Nike Sfb Field 6" Cargo Khaki/Gum Light Brown/Military Brown Shoes Canada QNC3103517,Reebok Garbstore Inferno Blue/Orchid Heart/Pink Item UK0577,2017 Grey Nike Trainers Men's Nike Mercurial Superfly Fg Boots Shoes Canada URE1601191,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

2017 Nike 7.0 Men's Air Jordan 9 Retro White/Blue Shoes Canada QLW670179,Reebok Pump Fury Teal Gem/Nuclear Yellow Item UK0589,2017 Nike Air Max Discount Men's Jordan Melo M10 Black/Atomic Mango Shoes Canada HIW560454,," 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.

2017 Nike Blue Trainers Men's Nike Vapor Untouchable Pro Pf 839924 415 Shoes Canada YDP3501304,Vans Half Cab Black/White Item UK0651,2017 Nike Cortez Men's Nike Zoom Speed Trainer 2 Black/White/Black Shoes Canada AWU2903906,.

Womens Merrell Hiking Shoes - Rockbit Cove - Light Blue Item W0603 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."

2017 Nike Fashion Trainers Men's Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 Hyper Punch/Hyper Cobalt/Black Shoes Canada NLB9901575,AHIGA V3 HYDROPOWER Black XIKYP3 Helly Hansen,2017 Nike Hyperdunk Men's Nike Internationalist Hay/Black/White/Dark Grey Shoes Canada TNN3203362,.

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.

2017 Nike N Men's Nike Magista Obra Fg Grey Red Shoes Canada CQS2302403,ALONSO Beige 6ELL5L Lumberjack,2017 Nike Outlet Men's Nike Free 4.0 Print Black/Cool Grey/University Red/Black Shoes Canada IXF9401810,.

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

2017 Nike Sale Uk Men's Kobe X Elite Coda Tour Yellow/Volt/Black Shoes Canada EZW790685,Ava Wrap Strap Block Heels htl_49309 Going Out,2017 Nike Shoes For Sale Online Men's Nike Sb Stefan Janoski Max Black/White/Metallic Cool Grey Shoes Canada TZT8802165,.

Womens New Balance Running Shoes - Fresh Foam 1080v6 - Blue/Green Item W0802 Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

2017 Nike Shoes Online Shopping Discount Men's Kyrie 1 Soar/White/Bright Crimson/Metallic Silver Shoes Canada IWX610746,BH20842 AniMagic Penny My Cute & Curious Puppy,2017 Nike Shopping Men's Nike Shox Agent Grey/Yellow Shoes Canada KBQ7803512,. 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,2017 Nike Sports Apparel Men's Nike Elastico Superfly Ic Orange Shoes Canada BNI2302256,BLUEBIRD Blue OLDLOM Miss L\'Fire,2017 Nike Trainers Cheap Men's Nike Roshe One Premium Black/Green Glow/Black Shoes Canada WER1703472,, 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, 2017 Nike Vom Men's Kd 8 Ep Black/Grey Shoes Canada BBH310671,CAMPANILLA Marine UWKGWU Castaner,2017 Online Nike Shoes Men's Nike Magistax Proximo Ic Metallic Black/White Shoes Canada TPB5402499,.

Womens Nike Running Shoes - Air Zoom Structure 18 QS - Garnet Item W0958 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. 2017 Shoes Nike Online Men's Jordan Super.Fly 3 Po Ink/Black/White/Bright Mandarin Shoes Canada VFF580490,Cendrillon checked ballerinas YY89941 fabric Noir,2017 Usa Nike Men's Nike Free Rn Concord/Hyper Cobalt/Photo Blue/Black Shoes Canada AGP4201886,.

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. 2017 Www Nike Com Shoes Men's Kyrie 1 Wolf Grey/Pure Platinum/Midnight Navy/White Shoes Canada DWI360755,CLIFTON 4 Grey FNSRGQ Hoka one one,adidas Originals Men's Shoes SPEZIAL - Trainers - night flash/yellow,, 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," adidas Performance Men's Shoes FEATHER - Sports shoes - running white/phantom/solar blue,Cotton top RT57876,ASICS Men's Shoes GEL-OBERON 9 - Trainers - flash green/silver/emerald green,.

Family ties

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

Womens Salomon Trail Running Shoes - Sense Mantra 3 - Blue/Green Item W1205 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, Clarks Men's Shoes SUMNER HEATH - Lace-up boots - brown,DIZZFO Teasi Core Navigion Device With Tahuna App black,Diesel Men's Bags NEW FELLOW - Across body bag - anthrazit,, Care Port Itabashi.  

ecco Men's Shoes CRUISE - Walking sandals - cocoa brown,DUNE - Gavi metallic-detail espadrilles Blush-leather RWWKSE,Lacoste Bags Tote bag - 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. 

Womens Timberland Trianers - EK Savin Hill Chelsea - Dark Brown Item W1383

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. Lacoste Men's Shoes SHERBROOKE - Casual lace-ups - blue,Eliza Stripe Front Seam Crop Top zon_57568 Casual,Nike Performance Men's Shoes DUAL FUSION BB II - Basketball shoes - grey,.  

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, Nike Performance Men's Shoes ZOOM TERRA KIGER 2 - Trail running shoes - jade stone/blue lagoon/black,ESPLAR LOW LOGO Pink O9Y9DU Veja,2017 Cheap Nike KD Trey 5 Team Orange White Grey,. 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," 2017 Newest Air Jordan 11 Low Python Bred Custom,Frances Rib Off The Shoulder Bodysuit njz_90975 Casual,Authentic adidas Ultra Boost Navy Green Silver,."

Authentic Cheap Jordan 1 Low White Wine Red,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Authentic Lebron James 11 P.S. Elite Green Volt Pink 621712 300,Luna Tie Waist Woven Satin Slimline Trousers Night cbg_15814 Going Out,Authentic Real Nike Kobe A.D. Beethoven White Red Black,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Best Sale Cheap Kobe 10 Hero Black Chamber Purple Deep Red,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Buy Cheap Nike Hyperdunk 2015 Red Metallic Silver,MARILYN Black 00W4KR Lola Ramona,Cheap Discount Air Jordan 14 Black Grey White,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Cheap Foamposite Pro "South Beach",MIU MIU - Matelass,Cheap Lebron 9 Soldier Dusk Blue,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Cheap Lebron James 14 Hardwood Classics PE,Nia Porcelain Print Skort whs_96890 Casual,Cheap Lebron James Soldier 10 Black Metallic Silver Blue,
Cheap Original Nike Kyrie 2 Bright Crimson Atomic Orange Black,Off-White Medium printed textured-leather tote CSRBEP,Cheap Priced Nike Kobe 11 BHM,
  • Authentic 189608 Nike Free Run 3 Women Black White Shoes
  • Nike Zoom Lebron 10(X) Carving Gold Medal Basketball Shoes 3128639
  • Nike LeBron Zoom Soldier 10 "Think Pink" Vivid Pink/Black-Metallic Silver Lebron James Shoes 2016 Pl
  • Nike Shox O'leven Shoes White Black /Nike Jordan [ N1047]
  • Men's - Solar Orange Bold Orange 9YD5806 - adidas Originals SL Loop Racer - Running - Shoes Surf Petrol
  • Fila Cross Court 2 Men Blue
  • Price Reduced MM6 DI MAISON MARGIELA Tie Dye Printed Cotton - Blue women's Jeans - 76FQ657
  • Asics 9 Pink Blue Womens Shoes
  • Mens Nike Air Yeezy 2 Black Shoe Online Without Sale Tax
  • Womens Nike Free 4.0 Red Silver Running Shoe Save Off 50%
  • Puma Women Suede Classic Winterized Lo (gray / vaporous gray / white)
  • Nike Air Jordan Retro 4 Womens Shoes White Pink
  • 2018 Official authorized - Women Asics GT-1000 2 Black Onyx Lightning dc shoes
  • Classic Nike Kobe 8 Bargain System - Customize Green Black Red
  • Nike Tennis Classic Ultra Men's Shoes Dark Obsidian/University Red/Flash Lime/Dark Obsidian
  • Men's - Nike Air Max Command White / Photo Blue-Dark Grey-Metallic Silver Shoes
  • ALDO Dwelinna - Cognac - AL087SH65OJY - Men's Dress Shoes
  • Men's NIKE AIR HUARACHE PRO MID METAL Light Graphite/White
  • Nike Hypercool Dri-FIT 3/4-Sleeve (MLB Dodgers) 00030455X-DG1 Blue
  • New Balance Shoes Sale Ml574Moy navy/black NE 5792