Shopping 232032 Nike Air Force 1 Men White Shoes 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

New Balance 574 Men Coupon_1224,Authentic 242841 Nike Air Max Men Red Yellow Gradient Shoes,New Balance 996 Men Coupon_1329,. 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, New Balance 501 Women Coupon_1426,Comfortable 160859 Nike Air Max 90 Men Black White Purple Shoes,Nike Derrick Rose Men Coupon_1613,.

"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, Nike Kevin Durant Men Coupon_1753,Discount 169436 Nike Air Max 90 Men White Black Shoes,LEBRON 12 LIFESTYLE Challenge Red/Challenge Red,, 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. Men's Boot Jordan Future 854554-600,Discount 230634 Nike Air Max 90 Men Black White Shoes,Men's Lacrosse Clea Nike Vapor Speed 684837-160,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Men's Nike Shoe Flyknit Lunar 3 698181-013,Authentic 148526 Nike Air Max 90 Men White Blue Shoes,Men's Running Shoe Nike Air Max 2017 849559-600,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Womens Shoes New Balance 560v6 Metallic SIlver/Exuberant Pink 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 Shoe (Extra-Wide) Nike Dual Fusion X 2 819317-002,Inexpensive 232124 Nike Air Max 90 Hypefuse Men Brown Green Shoes,Men's Shoe Jordan Reveal 834064-601,, 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 Shoe Nike Air Max Excellerate 4 806770-014,Inexpensive 190804 Nike Air Max Ltd Men Black Yellow Shoes,Men's Shoe Nike Court Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour 631458-410,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Men's Shoe Nike Kobe Mamba Instinct 852473-003,Discount 193687 Nike Air Max Shake Evolve Men Gray Green White Shoes,Men's Shoe Nike Zoom LeBron Soldier 9 FlyEase 846246-010,.

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 Training Shoe Nike Jordan Flight Flex Trainer 2 768911-005,Inexpensive 196882 Nike Air Max Wavy Men Black Purple Shoes,NIKE AIR MAX 95 Black/Medium Ash/Cool Grey/Black,.

Womens Shoes Nike Air Max Thea White/Pure Platinum/Bamboo/Wolf Grey

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, NIKE FLYKNIT LUNAR 3 Squadron Blue/Blue Lagoon/Fuchsia Flash/Cl,Shopping 220097 Nike Classic Cortez Nylon Men Blue Black Shoes,NIKE SB LUNAR ONESHOT Black/White,. "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. "Women's Shoe Nike Air Huarache Premium 683818-005,Cheap 215257 Nike Dunk High Men Blue Orange Shoes,Women's Shoe Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 33 831356-602,."

Womens Shoes Nike Zoom Fit Dark Grey/Vivd Purple/Hyper Orange 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 NikeCourt Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour 631475-504,Comfortable 159635 Nike Dunk High Men Shoes,Nike Roshe One Boys Preschool Light Crimson/White/Racer Blue/Obsidian Running Shoes V60944,. 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.

"Nike Air Max 90 Boys Grade School Black/Blue Lagoon/Dark Grey/White/Volt Running Shoes V14206,Shopping 202833 Nike Dunk Low Men Red Old Royal Shoes,Adidas 2015 Crazylight Boost Primeknit Mens Bright Cyan/Black Basketball Shoes V42382,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Adidas D Rose Lakeshore Mens Light Scarlet/Black/White Basketball Shoes V61985,Comfortable 151716 Nike Dunk Low Men Skates Shoes,Adidas Ultra Boost Mens Solar Yellow/Black Running Shoes V77896,," 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 Sandals PATRIZIA Boppe Navy

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 Huarache Mens Persian Violet/Black/Pure Platinum Running Shoes V68086,Inexpensive 240866 Nike Dunks High Men Red Blue Yellow Shoes,Nike Air Zoom Odyssey Mens White/Volt/Vivid Purple Running Shoes V94985,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Nike Lunartempo Mens Black/Sonic Yellow/Wolf Grey/Laser Orange Running Shoes V28895,Comfortable 236487 Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit Men Green Black Shoes,Adidas Element Refine Womens Black/White Running Shoes V31768,, 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 Shoes PUMA Pulse XT Sport Clearwater/Blue Coral 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 Sonic Allegra Womens White/Silver Metallic/Frozen Yellow Tennis Shoes V94274,Cheap 183881 Nike Free Run 2 Men Grey Purple White Shoes,Nike Air Max 90 Womens Midnight Navy/Black/Pure Platinum/Soar Running Shoes V64606,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Nike Internationalist Womens University Red/Black/Blue Grey/Bright Mango Running Shoes V81950,Cheap 171919 Nike Free Trainer Men Gray Orange White Shoes,Men's Nike Magista Onda FG Total Orange/Laser Orange/Hyper Punch/Persian Violet UK#N5-9438,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Nike Kids Flex 2015 Run Cool Grey/University Red/Black/Metallic Silver UK#N5-9149,Buy 195831 Nike Kobe Dream Season II Low Men Black White Red Shoes,Women's Nike LunarTempo Bright Citrus/Summit White/Fuchsia Glow/Black UK#N5-9248,," 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.

Beck & Hersey Boys Forte Longline Hooded Top CP414,Authentic 204961 Nike Lebron 8 Men Black Red White Shoes,adidas Originals Junior ZX Flux Techfit Trainer CP582,.

Womens Shoes Reebok Royal EC Ride Fearless Pink/Light Pink/Midnight Blue/Navy/White 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."

Timberland Nursery 6 Inch Premium Waterproof Boot CP796,Discount 214749 Nike Lunarfly Men Black Blue White Shoes,Women's Nike Nike Shox NZ EU Black/Wolf Grey/Dark Grey UK#N5-9291,.

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.

Nike SB Icon Overhead Reflective Hooded Top CP1132,Authentic 199653 Nike Lunarglide 3 Men Black Brown Shoes,Converse CMW Padded Bomber Jacket CP1315,.

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

Nicce Trail jacket CP1469,Discount 162776 Nike Roshe Run Men Royal Blue Creamy White Shoes,adidas Originals Jogger Cargo Short CP2067,.

Womens Shoes Rocket Dog Tictoc Black Space Rock Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Ellesse Icaruc Piped Swim Short CP2310,Buy 200607 Nike Shox Conundrum Men White Purple Shoes,Ralph Lauren Polo Willingcot Boot CP3750,. 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 Gazelle OG Trainer CP3948,Comfortable 194898 Nike Shox Nz Men White Yellow Shoes,adidas Originals Los Angeles Print Trainer CP4103,, 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, Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Mono Trainer CP4269,Discount 231249 Nike Shox R2 Men White Red Shoes,Fred Perry Stockport Suede Trainer CP4454,.

Womens Sandals Sam Edelman Henley Soft Nude Kid Suede Leather 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 Max 93 Trainer CP4621,Shopping 244113 Nike Shox R4 Men Grey Black Shoes,adidas Originals ZX 8000 Boost Trainer CP4105,.

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. Reebok Furylite Trainer CP4996,Discount 193623 Nike Shox Rivalry Men White Pink Shoes,Toms Womens Classic Slip On Espadrille CP5201,, 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 Shoes adidas Cloudfoam VS City Core Black/Matte Silver/Flash Pink,Authentic 195069 Nike Zoom Hyperforce Pe Men Yellow Silver Shoes,Womens Boots Aerosoles Money Role Grey Lizard,.

Family ties

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

Womens Shoes Saucony Hurricane ISO Grey/Twilight/Citron 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 Aerosoles World Traveler Leopard Tan,Inexpensive 219981 Nike Zoom Hyperdunk Men Orange Grey Red Shoes,Womens Boots ALDO Tahlia Black Leather,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Womens Sandals Anne Klein AK Sport - Kachine Navy FB,Cheap 194375 Nike Zoom Kobe VIII Basketball Men Black Purple Yellow Shoes,Womens Shoes Anne Klein Enticed Black Fabric,, 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 Boots Timberland Glancy 6

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 Badgley Mischka Polo White Satin,Comfortable 190220 Onitsuka Tiger By Asics Mexico 66 Men Black White Shoes,Womens Shoes C Label Napoli-25 Gold,.  

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 Sandals Calvin Klein Collection Sibil 1 Watermelon,Shopping 162430 Adidas Originals Superstar Unisex Black White Shoes,Womens Shoes Calvin Klein Leilani Black Cow Silk,. 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 CARLOS by Carlos Santana Kelly Brulee,Authentic 180037 Nike Air Max Unisex Black White Shoes,Womens Boots Clarks Merrian Lynn Black Leather,."

Womens Sandals Clarks Zia Graze Grenadine,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Womens Shoes Clarks Penwick Molto Black Leather,Authentic 231426 Nike Hyperdunk Women White Blue Shoes,Womens Sandals COACH Cottage Black Soft Vegan Leather,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Womens Shoes COACH Moonlight White/White Rivets Nappa/Suede,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Womens Sandals Cole Haan Elsie Cross Wedge 40 II Acorn,Discount 173194 Puma Anti-fur Women Black Pink Shoes,Womens Shoes Cole Haan Cambon High Sandal Cashew/Lizard Print,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Womens Shoes Cole Haan Jenni Buckle Ballet II Black Leather/Patent,Adidas Bounce Titan IV Men Coupon_068,Womens Shoes ECCO Osan Loafer Moon Rock,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Womens Shoes ECCO Sport Yura Black/Bamboo,Adidas Springblade 2013 Men Coupon_241,Womens Shoes GUESS Laceyy Beige Fabric,
Womens Sandals Naturalizer Vail Red Pepper Leather,Asics Mexico 66 Men Coupon_359,Womens Shoes Naturalizer Taylor Brown,
  • Discount 211707 Nike Lebron 10 Men Black Shoes
  • Nike Kids Air Jordan 5 Bel Air Sneakers 3125629
  • Adidas 2015 Men Running Shoes Black White Vapour White 681726
  • Cheap UA Stephen Curry 4 White Gold Metallic Sale
  • Harden James - Clothing - Men's - Grey 5CL6667 - adidas Harden Shorts - Basketball
  • Circa Mens Sneakers White/Dark Denim
  • Nike Kyrie 3 Shoes Luxurious
  • New Trendy Nike College Packable Jacket Royal For Men Selling Well
  • adidas Gazelle W (red / white)
  • Stylish Xti Cocee Derby Shoes Silver For Women
  • Kobe 10 Design X Crimson top Quality Obsidian Good Gold
  • ASICS Women's Shoes 33-DFA - Trainers - gray/charcoal/mint
  • Pumps & Heels Women Audrey Brooke Kimi Pump Black To Buy
  • Oxfords & Lace-Ups Men Tommy Hilfiger Reno Sneaker Grey Super popular
  • Mens Adidas Shoes Adidas Nmd Runner Shoes Royal Blue No.1740
  • Blue Green Mens Shoes / Nike Free Run 5.0 + Special Sales
  • Nike Air Force 1 Low Mens Shoes in White/Black/Red
  • Nike Free Rn Running Shoes Men White/Black/Platinum
  • 820198-470 Uomo Nike Air Max Suppliers Typha Free Shipping Grigio-Blu/Giallo