Sale bn9dg rmsrwq August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Essential Womens 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

Christian Louboutin Sale Women Coupon_521,UK mn9k7 n7zwem August Deals Nike Air Max Zero Womens,Giuseppe Zanotti Sale Women Coupon_671,. 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, Jimmy Choo Pumps Women Coupon_818,Cheap 201374 New Balance Kids 574 Kid Berry Blue Shoes,Jimmy Choo Wedges Women Coupon_969,.

"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, New Balance 574 Men Coupon_1156,Comfortable 234775 Adidas Crazy 8 Kobe Bryant Men Black White Shoes,New Balance 996 Men Coupon_1305,, 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. New Balance Women Coupon_1387,Authentic 152572 Adidas Skate Core Men Black Shoes,New Balance 996 Women Coupon_1524,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Nike Kevin Durant Men Coupon_1694,Comfortable 233096 Air Jordan 10 Retro Men Red/Black Grey Shoes,Men's Baseball Cleat Jordan 4 Retro Metal 807710-010,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Womens Boots PATRIZIA Leatherette Brown 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, Men's Firm-Ground Soccer Cleat Nike Hypervenom Phantom II FG 747213-703,Inexpensive 173328 Air Jordan 14 Retro Men Grey White Blue Shoes,Men's Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 652925-802,, 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.

Men's Nike Shoe Jordan Westbrook 0 768934-405,Cheap 180936 Air Jordan Retro 7 Men Black Light Graphite Bordeaux Shoes,Men's Running Shoe Nike LunarEpic Flyknit 818676-600,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Men's Shoe Jordan Impact 854289-618,Inexpensive 218715 Asics Gelkayano 18 Men Black Yellow Shoes,Men's Shoe Nike Air Max BW Ultra 819475-616,.

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, Men's Shoe Nike Air Zoom Vick III 832698-100,Authentic 208150 Lebron 11 Men Red Yellow Shoes,Men's Shoe Nike Metcon 2 819899-480,.

Womens Shoes PATRIZIA Budgie Red

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Men's Shoe NikeCourt Air Zoom Ultra 845007-006,Comfortable 213428 New Balance Classics Ml574 Men Light Grey Green Gecko Shoes,Nike Men's Shoe Air Force 1 Mid 07 315123-026,. "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 AIR ZOOM PEGASUS 31 Vapor Green/White/Flash Lime/Black,Inexpensive 200365 Nike Air Classic BW Si Men Black Yellow Shoes,NIKE LUNARGLIDE 6 White/Volt/Liquid Lime/Black,."

Womens Shoes Reebok Royal Nylon White/Steel 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.Women's Shoe Nike Free RN 849810-406,Authentic 188428 Nike Air Flightposite 1 Men Leopard Black Red Grey Shoes,Women's Shoe Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 33 831356-313,. 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.

"Women's Shoe NikeCourt Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour 631475-504,Inexpensive 191418 Nike Air Force 1 Men Black White Hot Red Shoes,Nike Roshe One Boys Preschool Wolf Grey/Cool Grey/White Running Shoes V97241,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Nike Air Max 90 Boys Grade School Deep Royal Blue/White/Light Crimson/Obsidian Running Shoes V52437,Cheap 227543 Nike Air Force 1 Men White Shoes,Adidas Crazy 8 Mens Black/Royal/Orange Basketball Shoes V25303,," 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.

Womens Shoes Rocket Dog Rynna Mulberry Coast

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

Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 2 Mens Black/White/Solar Red Running Shoes V36507,Comfortable 207995 Nike Air Max Men White Gray Shoes,Adidas Ace 16.3 Cage Mens Shock Red/Black/Crystal White Soccer Shoes V74778,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Nike Air Max Bw Ultra Mens University Red/Bright Crimson/University Red Running Shoes V82317,Shopping 208753 Nike Air Max Men Grey Green Shoes,Nike Free 5.0 2015 Mens Black/Dark Grey/Cool Grey/White Running Shoes V17271,, 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.

Womens Sandals Sam Edelman Bonnie Classic Nude Talco Kid Leather 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, Adidas Cc Fresh Bounce Womens Grey White/Midnight Grey Running Shoes V56631,Buy 209603 Nike Air Max 180 Men Black Shoes,Adidas Ace 16.1 Primemesh Fg/Ag Womens White/Solar Gold/Black Soccer Shoes V94342,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32 Womens Black/Pure Platinum/Reflective Silver Running Shoes V24343,Shopping 160541 Nike Air Max 90 Men Black Blue Shoes,Nike Free 5.0 2015 Womens Violet Ash/White/Hyper Orange/Black Running Shoes V84334,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Men's Nike Mercurial Victory V CR IC Black/Total Crimson/White UK#N5-9594,Buy 184706 Nike Air Max 90 Men White Yellow Shoes,Nike Kids Tri Fusion Run Black/Dark Grey/Metallic Silver/White UK#N5-9155,," 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.

Hype Hype Backpack CP62,Authentic 234429 Nike Air Max Express Men White Turquoise Orange Shoes,Vans Infant Old Skool Trainer CP548,.

Womens Shoes Saucony Ride 8 Deepwater/Violet/Slime 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."

Creative Recreation Nursery Cesario Low XVI Trainer CP754,Comfortable 197775 Nike Air Max Ltd II Men White Black Shoes,adidas Originals Sport Essential Full Zip Hooded Top CP937,.

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.

Pursue Fitness Classic Fit Zip Hooded Top CP1145,Discount 164081 Nike Air Max Ultra Men Metallic Silver Shoes,Condemned Nation Male Varsity Jacket CP1302,.

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

Nike Tech Windrunner Jacket CP1470,Cheap 233102 Nike Classic Cortez Nylon Men Black White Green Shoes,Asylum Turbo Tailored Short CP2080,.

Womens Boots Timberland Authentics Teddy Fleece Fold-Down Wheat Rugged Metallic Finish Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Oiler & Boiler Tuckernuck Shortie Swimmer Short CP2331,Cheap 195558 Nike Dunk High Men Shoes,Flossy Sax Mesh Plimsole CP3801,. 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,adidas Originals Busenitz Trainer CP3990,Inexpensive 243364 Nike Dunk High Men Shoes,Armani Jeans Tonal Suede Leather Trainer CP4190,, 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, Cruyff Santi Rip Stop Trainer CP4388,Discount 193745 Nike Dunk Low Men White Black Pink Shoes,Nike Free Run 2 Trainer CP4586,.

Womens Boots UGG Bailey Mariko Wild Grass/Twinface 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 Air Force 1 Elite Jacquard Trainer CP4777,Discount 226081 Nike Free 3.0 V3 Men Grey Black White Shoes,Ransom Path Lite Trainer CP4969,.

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. Hunter Womens Original Tall Wellington Boot CP5155,Cheap 160103 Nike Free 5.0 V4 Men Black Red Shoes,Womens Shoes adidas Zero Bounce Mineral Blue/Silver Metallic/Shock Green,, 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," Womens Boots Aerosoles Make Two Tan,Authentic 209652 Nike Free Trainer 5.0 Men Black Red Shoes,Womens Shoes Aerosoles A2 by Aerosoles Marimba Black Lizard,.

Family ties

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

Womens Shoes UGG Cicily Black Leather 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, Womens Sandals ALDO Kaoven White,Buy 158015 Nike Free Trainer 5.0 Men Black Grey White Shoes,Womens Sandals Anne Klein Viewer Gold Snake,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Womens Shoes Anne Klein AKAtworth Black Combo Fabric,Comfortable 211575 Nike Lunareclipse 4 Men Grey Black Yellow Shoes,Womens Sandals C Label Iria-3 Orange,, 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 Sandals Vaneli Kiliana White Krinkle Patent/Silver Buckle

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 Boots Calvin Klein Jeans Suzetta Black,Discount 186728 Nike Lunarglide 2 Men Grey Green Shoes,Womens Shoes Calvin Klein Nathali Black Kid Suede,.  

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 Calvin Klein Garnett Black/Soft White Leather,Comfortable 168705 Nike Roshe Run Men Dark Blue White Shoes,Womens Boots Clarks Pita Sedona Dark Tan Leather,. 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," Womens Sandals Clarks InMotion Sail White,Shopping 241627 Nike Shox Conundrum Men White Blue Shoes,Womens Shoes Clarks Kadri Leah Black Snake Leather,."

Womens Sandals COACH Vitalia Pink Ruby Patent,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Womens Shoes COACH Chrissy Outline Khaki/Chestnut Signature C/Nappa,Comfortable 242486 Nike Roshe Run Unisex Red Cold Gray White Shoes,Womens Boots Cole Haan Zillie WP Shearling Bootie Black Leather/Shearling,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Womens Shoes Cole Haan Cary Venetian Blazer Blue Nubuck,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Unisex Shoes Converse Ctas Pro Hi Lucky Stone/Egret,Discount 164739 New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Women Silver Coral Shoes,Womens Shoes ECCO Osan Retro Sneaker Green Gables,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Womens Sandals GUESS Shura White Synthetic,Inexpensive 178719 Nike Air Force 1 Women White Columbia Blue Shoes,Womens Boots Hunter Asymmetric Colour Block Umber/Lava Red/Black,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Womens Sandals Naturalizer Every Camelot Leather,Discount 240912 Nike Air Max Women White Pink Shoes,Womens Shoes New Balance W1080v5 Silver/Purple,
Womens Shoes New Balance Classics 420 - Composite Purple,Discount 166231 Nike Classic Cortez Nylon Prm Women Silver White Black Shoes,Womens Shoes Nike LunarTempo Bright Citrus/Summit White/Fuchsia Glow/Black,
  • Inexpensive 182911 Nike Air Max Men Gray Shoes
  • Provide Adidas Performance Ff Vedoro - Trainers - Dark Grey/Sesoye/Cbl F31m6071
  • Nike W Af1 Low Upstep Br Black
  • Men's Nike SB Dunk Low Pro Ishod Wair 'Tie-Dye' - Skateboarding Shoe NG854277n
  • Clothing - Jordan JSW Wings Fleece Pants - Men's - Black Black 5WI149 - Basketball
  • Very cheap Nike Lebron XIII Elite LB 13 876805-299 Linen NEW in box DS Cavs James White tan EA61122 for Men
  • Nike Air Max 90 Hyperfuse QS Black Silver Shoes
  • Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk Low Shoes All White
  • 2017 Nike Air Jordan 6 VI Retro Low GG Black Sunblush OG GS 768878-022
  • Cressi ISLA Premium Neoprene Anti-Slip Sole Boots - Cressi: Quality Since 1946 5mm Neoprene thickne
  • Designer Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Ii - Ox Low Top Trainers Grey For Women Sale
  • Adidas Seeley Men Carbon/White/Ash Blue Skateboarding Shoes
  • Nike Dunk SB Low Pro SB Buck White Classic Green Shoes
  • Reebok ZCut TR 3.0 Women's Shoes Black
  • Netball Men Asics Gel-Netburner Professional 11 Women's Netball Shoes - AW15 Pink Hot
  • Men's Nike Air Max LTD Running Shoes Men Black/White/Dark Grey
  • Calvin Klein Winter Taupe Kid Suede Balar VTT747959
  • Air Max TN Shoes Black Silver Grey
  • Nike Air Max 90 Premium EM Tianjin Mens Mesh Trainers Black Anthracite Cadet Grey Red
  • Nike Air Presto 2 Sneakers Nike Air Presto On Pinterest Nike Air Nike Nike Shop Online Nike Clearanc