Puma Suede Platform Elemental Red 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 2016 Nike Hyperdunks Used All Star City Retail Turquoise Crimson For Black Navy Navy,adidas OutdoorTerrex Swift R,2017 Jordan Hydro 12 Slide 7 start Sandals outlet Black Red,. 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, Air Jordan 13 Hyper Custom Royal 414571-117,adidas Adizero Ubersonic,Brand Nike Kobe Store 12 Lowest price AD Inline,.

"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, Curry One AU Low 2015 MVP NBA Championship Friends Family Gold White,adidas X Lite,Girls Nike Kyrie Luxury 3 Black Hot Red 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. KD 7 VII Independence Day USA Last University 653996 146 Obsidian White,New BalanceM690v4,Kobe 9 EM Low Sport Reduced Turquoise Retail Mango Watermelon Most Expensive Bright,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Kobe 9 outlet Elite Low out Black Silver White,New BalanceW680v2,Lebron 13 XIII Gum Gum Black Famous,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Designer Spylovebuy Babelicious Platform Wedge Heel Espadrille Studded Sandals - Nu Pink For Women Outlet 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, Nike Air Colourful Foamposite Buy One Shoes Pearlized outlet Flash Pink,Nike Air Vapor Advantage,Nike Air Max Classic 2016 Leather Turquoise Black 7 start Volt Fashion,, 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.

Nike Hyperrev Comfortable 2017 Black Websites Yellow stores,Nike Hyperchase PRM,Nike Kyrie 2 Mint Mint Anthtacite Black cheap Green discount,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Off White by Virgil Abloh Nike Air Max 97 The Ten AJ4585 Personalisation 100,Nike Mercurialx Finale IC,sale 2017 Jordan Hydro 5 Retro Black Grey,.

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, Under Armour Anatomix Spawn 2 adelic Fuchsia For Raspberry Black Pink Green,Timberland Beckwith Fabric and Leather Lace Oxford,Under Armour Speedform Apollo Vent UA Men Running Exclusive Wolf Hyper Crimson Grey outlet,.

Discount Pare Gabia Lotus Espadrilles Turquoise / Prune For Women

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, 2016 Sale Nike Air Max 2014 Shoes Black White Mens,Adidas Northern Ireland 2016 Away Socks White - Accessories Socks,2016 Sale Nike Air Max 90 Sneakers Grass Green Men,. "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. "2016 Sale Nike Air Max Tailwind +5 Black Silver Mens Running Shoes,Fred Perry Core Track Top Blue - Mens Track Tops,2016 Sale Nike Free Run 3 DarkGray RoyalBlue Men Running Shoes,."

Latest Caf 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.2017 Best Nike Fashion Shoes Men's Nike Shox Agent White/Sliver/Black Shoes Canada RYR6103518,Puma Bordeaux 2016/17 Quarter Zip Training Top Blue - Mens Top,2017 Blue And Grey Nike Shoes Men's Nike Free Ace Leather White/Ghost Green/Black Shoes Canada RWD7403728,. 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.

"2017 Buy Online Nike Shoes Men's Air Jordan 7 Retro Metal Black/White Shoes Canada MBH170151,Nike Air Max 1 Essential White/White-Black Item UK0056,2017 Exclusive Nike Trainers Men's Nike Zoom Hypercross Tr Cave Purple/Hyper Punch/Hyper Grape/Black Shoes Canada MGG3503888,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively 2017 Light Blue Nike Sneakers Men's Nike Roshe One Print Cool Grey/Black/White Shoes Canada HVH1803476,Nike Air Presto 'Triple Black' Black/Black-Black Item UK0091,2017 Nike Acg Men's Nike Elastico Superfly Tf Black/Blue Lagoon/Dark Grey/Total Crimson Shoes Canada EDI2001148,," 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.

Mam'zelle Fenia Flat Shoes Silver For Women On Sale

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

2017 Nike Athletic Shoes Men's Nike Hyperchase Premium "Lightning" Shoes Canada NNW360864,Nike Lunarglide 6 Black/White-Pure Platinum-Cool Grey Item UK0144,2017 Nike Clm Men's Nike Lunartempo Dark Obsidian/Total Orange/Radiant Emerald/Voltage Green Shoes Canada EYL7601975,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

2017 Nike Dunk Low Men's Fc247 Bomba Ii Black/Volt/Volt Shoes Canada WVS9502245,Adidas Originals Tobacco Rivea OG Tech Chrome F12/Dark Sand/ST Pale Nude F13 Item UK0240,2017 Nike Free Men's Nike Zoom Sb Stefan Janoski Canvas White/Black/White Shoes Canada LYT8402221,, 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.

New Mjus Tapas Sandals Pink For Women Online Sale 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 Nike Max Men's Jordan Eclipse Cool Grey/Black/White Shoes Canada TSG400361,Asics Gel Saga 'Christmas Pack' Burgundy/Dark Brown Item UK0305,2017 Nike Online Shop Men's Nike Flyknit Lunar2 Midnight Fog/Hyper Jade/Black Shoes Canada SJU0701723,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

2017 Nike S Men's Nike Air Max Lunar90 Water Resistant Hyper Cobalt/Gym Blue/Light Bone/Light Ash Shoes Canada XAJ5803118,Nike Air Berwuda Mid QS Night Factor/Night Factor-Vivid Blue Item UK0427,2017 Nike Shoes For Sale Men's Nike Free Trainer 5.0 V6 White/Dove Grey/Pure Platinum/White Shoes Canada GJS7303813,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

2017 Nike Shoes Online Men's Nike Vapor Speed White/Metallic Silver Shoes Canada NKD1202746,Nike Juvenate Black/Black-Sail Item UK0453,2017 Nike Shopping Men's Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit Running Shoes Shoes Canada LSD4601783,," 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 Sport Men's Nike Sb Zoom Stefan Janoski Cool Grey/Black/White/University Orange Shoes Canada SDE6902197,Nike Sock Dart SE Hasta/Black-White Item UK0548,2017 Nike Trainers 2016 Men's Nike Air Force 1 Mid 07 Black/Black/Black Shoes Canada KXJ4402884,.

New Trendy Michael Michael Kors Adams Boots Camel For Women Online 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 White Shoes Men's Nike Vapor Strike 2 Mcs Black/Rush Blue/White Shoes Canada EWK220632,Vans California Era CA Brushed Twill Blue/Aluminum Item UK0624,2017 Online Shopping Shoes Nike Men's Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32 Ghost Green/Copa/Blue Lagoon/Black Shoes Canada QVW7201588,.

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 Shox Men's Nike Sfb Field 8" Leather Boots British Khaki/British Khaki Shoes Canada GTM330616,ACEZTG Wellreviewed Stainless Steel Green Onion Slicer Shredder Cutter Vegetable Scallion Shred Cut Tool,2017 Where Can I Buy Nike Shoes Men's Air Jordan 9 Retro "Calvin Bailey" Shoes Canada TZO370173,.

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

adidas Originals Men's Shoes GAZELLE OG - Trainers - black/white/metallic gold,Amelia Pastel Crepe Crop Top qvb_88976 Going Out,adidas Performance Men's Shoes CC ADIZERO FEATHER III - Multi-court tennis shoes - red,.

Stylish Esprit Star Wedge Hi Top Trainers Brown / Grey For Women Outlet Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

ASICS Men's Shoes GEL-FUJITRABUCO 3 - Stabilty running shoes - charcoal/flash orange/chinese red,BB41463 JCB 14inch Wheel Loader,Clarks Men's Shoes MAHALE - Casual lace-ups - tan,. 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,Converse Men's Shoes CHUCK TAYLOR ALL STAR OX CORE CANVAS - Trainers - charcoal,Black/Gold ASHISH Dragon Zardozi Hoodie SAVE UP TO 25% Use Code: EVENT18 DCNFHF,ecco Men's Shoes Casual lace-ups - birch,, 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, Kappa Men's Shoes FOX - Sports shoes - schwarz,Camilla Embellished printed silk crepe de chine playsuit OOCRCW,Lacoste Men's Shoes SEVRIN - Casual lace-ups - dark tan,.

Stylish Vans Era 59 Low Top Trainers Black For Women Sale 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. Nike Performance Men's Shoes FREE HYPERFEEL TR - Sports shoes - blue,CHUCK Blue MRA3A9 Eleven Paris,Nike SB Men's Shoes ERIC KOSTON 2 MAX - Trainers - black/metallic silver/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. 2017 Cheap Nike KD Trey 5 III Multi,CONVERSE - All Star low-top leather trainers Wolf grey blush PBJYEM,2017 Newest Air Jordan 11 Low White Varsity Red 136053 161,, 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 adidas Yeezy 350 Boost Light Pink,Dolce & Gabbana Lucia lizard-effect leather shoulder bag UNXQIW,Authentic Cheap Jordan 1 Mid Purple Grape,.

Family ties

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

The Hottest Style Reebok Classic Club C 85 Low Top Trainers Black For Women Online Sale 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, Authentic Real Kobe 9 Elite Low Grey Blue Red Pink,DUNE BLACK - OConnor pointed-toe leather ankle boots Black leather AZJWNS,Authentic Real Nike Kobe A.D. Mambacurial,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Buy Cheap Nike Hyperdunk 2014 Court Purple Purple Venom White Metallic Silver 653484 505,Eres Les Essentiels Arnaque swimsuit PATBVL,Cheap Discount Air Jordan 13 Grey Orange White,, 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. 

The Most Popular Petite Mendigote Colombe Sandals Black / Gold For Women Online

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. Cheap Foamposite One "Man of Steel" LED Custom,Freya Wide Fit Suedette Block Heels epg_81274 Going Out,Cheap Kobe Bryant Olympic Purple Black 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, Cheap Lebron James 10 P.S Elite Speckle White Black,Geox EACH GIRL - Baby shoes - white/red white LL19879,Cheap Lebron James 9 Miami Night Custom,. 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," Cheap Original Nike Kyrie 1 Navy Red White,HFYYUA CARBON_HEATHER Nike Sportswear Modern Joggers,Cheap Priced Air Jordan 4 Black Grey Red,."

Cheap Priced Nike Kobe 11 Royal Blue Yellow,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Cheapest Nike Air Max 2016 Flyknit Black Pink Blue,Onyx RtA Karina Trench Coat SAVE UP TO 25% Use Code: EVENT18 QPXNDU,Discount adidas Crazylight Boost Low 2016 Black White Red,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Discount Cheap Nike KD 6 Elite "De Lano" Custom,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Discount Nike Zoom Run The One University Red Wolf Grey Black,Petite Sophie Square Neck Rib Knitted Bodysuit Petite uns_91778 Casual,Womens Merrell Hiking Shoes - Enoki Twist - Light Blue Item W0561,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Womens New Balance Running Shoes - Fresh Foam Boracay - Silver/Purple Item W0804,Puzzle leather shoulder bag WJ69104 Orange Multicolor calf leather,Womens Nike Running Shoes - Free 4.0 Flyknit - Bright Crimson/Raspberry Item W1001,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Womens Salomon Hiking Shoes - Ellipse Cabrio - Grey/Purple Item W1180,RJIUVV BLACK Michelle Keegan Guipure Lace Bardot Top,Womens Under Armour Running Shoes - Micro G Strive V - Dynamo Blue/White Item W1431,
Cheap Fly London Yaz Loafers Mousse Black For Women Online Sale,Santorini off-the-shoulder cotton top LF96253 White 100% cotton,Designer Betty London Ajoura Ankle Boots Beige For Women Outlet UK,
  • Buy 241468 New Balance WW1765 Women Pink Shoes
  • Nike Air Presto Mesh Mens Sneakers Gray Red Green 3127932
  • Buy Fashion Online Nike Mercurial Superfly V FG Soccer Cleats Fluorescent Green Black F12y4100
  • Nike Dunk SB High Men Shoes Black Silver /Nike Jordan [ N2199]
  • Men's - Nike College Authentic On Court Shorts - Michigan Wolverines - Clothing - Yellow 4BE5533
  • Reliable Reebok Instapump Fury Og Steel / Black / Swag Orange / White Footwear
  • Excellent ROCHAS Silk Opera - Green women's Coats - 76DF818
  • Nike Free 5.0 TR Fit 5 MTLC
  • Mens Nike Air Max Classic Bw Black White Shoe Happy Shopping
  • Womens Nike Air Max 90 Em Dragon Fushia Shoe Store Wholesale
  • Nike Air Max 2015 - Women's - Running - Shoes - Pure Platinum/Green Glow/Light Aqua/Black
  • Jordans 6 Women-0073
  • Puma Evospeed 4.4 Women's Indoor Soccer Shoes Atomic Blue-Safety Yellow-White B49e9996
  • UK Original Product - Adidas Climacool Raupe Black Silver Orange Shoes
  • Nike Zoom Kd V 5 Elite Men Basketball Shoes Blue Green
  • Men's - Nike Air Twilight Mid Metallic Silver / Electric Green-Dark Charcoal Shoes
  • Anti-cold NIke HypervenomX Proximo TF 2018 New Nike HypervenomX Proximo IC Neymar Ousadia e Nike HyperVenomX Proximo IC soccer factory
  • Men's KD 8 "FLOWERS"
  • Nike Dri-FIT Knit V-Neck 588712-419 Polarized Blue/Heather/Military Blue/Atomic Mango
  • Adidas Shoes Sale Real Deal - Antoine Walker joy blue/black/runninwhite AD 6834