Sperry Mens Athletic-Inspired 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

Women-Puma TX-3 Sneakers Periscope-Drizzle-High Risk Red,Z Collection Mens Sneakers Blue,Reebok Womens Kobo H2out Slippers Coal G57653,. 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, Reebok Womens Franconia Ridge Ii Gtx Shoes Gravel G57797,Low Price Adidas Run9Tis Tm - Core Black / Ftwr White / Solar Yellow Footwear,Reebok Womens Zpump Fusion 2.0 Dunes Shoes Solar Pink/Celestial Orchid/Steel/White/Black/Coal G578,.

"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, Womens White/White/Red Adidas Originals Stan Smith Weave Sneakers G56367,Get Adidas Isolation 2.0 - Core Black / Night Met. / Night Met. Footwear,Nike Air Max 1 Essential Shoes Black/Pure Platinum/Dove Grey Womens G56938,, 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. Shoes Nike Air Max 90 Silver Wing/Dusty Cactus/Aviator Grey/Hyper Turq Womens G57081,Comfortable Reebok Crossfit Nano 4.0 - Flag Pack Spainchina Red / Retro Yellow / Black / White Footw,Womens Shoes Nike Air Max 2014 Spades purple woman G57195,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. New Balance Womens ML373 Trainer,Cheap Reebok Ul 6000 Gravel / Silvery Green / Neon Cherry Footwear,Reebok Womens Paris Runner Gallery II Trainer,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Men's Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 Running Shoes Black/White 654486-010 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, Adorable Nike Air Pegasus 92 16 Print Style : 92967778 for Women,Popularity Reebok Transition Flip Black / Red Rush Footwear,Authorization Nike SHOX JUNIOR COMFORT RUNNING 454339 020 Black Metallic Silver 11PI171 for Women,, 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.

Best-selling Nike Air Max 90 *laser ' (OG Retro) Pink 16077756 for Women,Wholesale Adidas Gladura - Forest Green / Forest Green / Raven Footwear,Buy Vans Sk8 Hi Slim Cutout (Mesh) Leather Casual 10.5 Black White 61FJ-5840 for Women,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Cheap supply Reebok NEW CROSSFIT NANO 7.0 TRAINING TRAINERS LEAD Black White 99268874 for Women,Cheap Reebok Crossfit Sprint 2.0 Lush Orchid / Sport Violet / Purple Glow / Solar Glow Footwear,Superior Quality Under Armour Clutchfit Force 2.0 FG - Veneer Black White Light 40EJ-6334 for Women,.

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, Top fashion Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16 - Tint Glo Peacoat Blue Pink 88LR476 for Women,Wholesale Reebok All Terrain Super Black / Gravel / Silvermet / Flat Grey / Solar Yellow Footwear,Wholesale New Balance WL574SBF B Retro Running Grey Yellow Purple 16147596 for Women,.

Men's Nike Dunk High SB

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Cheap Alice + Olivia Poppy Red Shortsleeved Flared Dress For Women Sale,Wholesale Reebok Trainfusion Rs 4.0 Black / Pink / White Footwear,Cheap Givenchy Small Antigona Tote For Women Outlet,. "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. "Cheap Michael Michael Kors Oyster Beige Jet Set Travel Tote For Women Sale,adidas Turbocharged X 16.1 FG Men Green,Cheap Saint Laurent Black Ribbed Lam,."

Men's Nike Free 3.0 V6 Flyknit Shoes Light Gray/Royal Blue 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.Designers Andrea Bogosian Wine Red Embroidered Knit Top For Women Outlet,adidas Originals 350 Men Blue,Designers Eleventy Black Round Neck Shift Blouse For Women Selling Well,. 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.

"Designers Le Tricot Perugia Light Grey Casual Slim-Fit Trousers For Women Selling Well,adidas Originals ZX Flux Men Red,Designers Saint Laurent Nude Medium Kate Monogram Crossbody Bag For Women Online Sale,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Discounts Ambush Silver Chain Ring For Women Outlet,Converse All Star Ox Twill Men Blue,Discounts Erika Cavallini Blue Flared Sleeves Shift Dress For Women Sale,," 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.

Men's Nike Free TR FIT 3 Training Shoes Black/Eletric Lime

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

Discounts Matsuda Silver Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses For Women On Sale,New Balance 005 Men White,Discounts Rossella Jardini Black Palazzo Pants For Women On Sale,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Givenchy Multicolor Geometric Print Fitted Dress For Women On Sale,Reebok Workout + Men White,Latest Astraet Black Printed Long Coat For Women On Sale,, 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.

Men's Nike Kobe Venomenon V EP Basketball Shoes University Gold/Orange/Black 815757-706 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, Latest Hogan Metallic Embellished White Sneakers For Women Online Sale,Nike Air Force 1 '07 Men's Red,Latest Marni Beat Shoulder Bag For Women Sale,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Latest Sally Lapointe Olive Green Flared Evening Shorts For Women Online Sale,Nike Air Max 95 Ultra Essential Men's White,Msgm Camel Wide Leg Cropped Trousers For Women Online,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

New Elena Ghisellini Bronze Magic Metal Shoulder Bag For Women Selling Well,Nike Air Huarache Ultra SE Men's Black,New Love Moschino Blue Daisy Print Jumpsuit For Women Selling Well,," 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.

New Theory Black V-Neck Tank Top For Women Outlet,Nike Pegasus 89 Men's White,New Trendy Christopher Kane Black Hotfix Devine Shoulder Bag For Women Outlet,.

Men's Nike Kyrie 2 Basketball Shoes Black/Metallic Silver 819583-002 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."

New Trendy Kenzo K-Patch Black Espadrilles For Women Outlet,2015 Men's-Women's Adidas Marathon Flyknit Running Shoes Black/Bright Fuchsia/New Jade,New Trendy Salvatore Ferragamo Red Cut Out Shoulder Bag For Women Outlet,.

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.

New Versus Black/Red Logo Printed Bomber Jacket For Women Outlet,2015 Women's Nike Roshe One KPU Shoes Pink,Stylish Alexander Mcqueen Black Skull Shopper Tote For Women On Sale,.

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

Stylish Furla Mini Chain Shoulder Bag For Women Selling Well,408452-603 Air Jordan 4 Retro Fire Red White-Black-Cement Grey Women,Stylish Manolo Blahnik Fortuni Pumps For Women On Sale,.

Men's Nike Lunar Flyknit Chukka HTM Running Shoes Light Charcoal 599347 011 Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Stylish Salvatore Ferragamo Classic Beige Loafers For Women Sale,Jordan Retro 5 Fire Red 136027-120 White Fire Red-Black (Women Men Gs Girls),The Hottest Styles Chlo,. 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,The Hottest Styles Majestic Filatures Silver Plain Blouse For Women Online Sale,Men's/Women's Adidas Originals Neighborhood Boston Super OG Shoes Black/Red/White,The Hottest Styles Rupert Sanderson Pointed Toe Grey Ballerinas For Women Online,, 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, The Most Popular Bottega Veneta Eyewear Brown Tortoiseshell Sunglasses For Women Selling Well,Men's/Women's Adidas Originals Superstar 2 Sparkles Casual Shoes Black Leopard G63439,The Most Popular Gucci Eyewear Pink Square Frame Sunglasses For Women Sale,.

Men's Nike Shox Current Breathable Mesh Upper Shoes Carbon Grey/Black 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. The Most Popular Msgm Blue/White Fringed Plaid Shorts For Women On Sale,Men's/Women's Adidas Originals Tubular Defiant Shoes Core White S75250,Uma Wang Brown Chidike Coat For Women Online,.

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. Apex Womens Running Shoes Silver/Periwinkle,Men's/Women's Adidas Originals ZX10000 EQT Running Guidance 93 SNS Running Shoes Gray/Mint S82532,Cole Haan Womens Boots Black,, 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 Court Shoes Green Suede,Men's/Women's Adidas Ultra Boost x Porshe Design Shoes All White BB0682,Womens Court Shoes Red (Merlot 537),.

Family ties

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

Men's Nike Zoom Winflo 2 Running Shoes Black/Anthracite/White/Bright Crimson 807276-006 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, Nike Womens Shoes Grey Orange Black,Men's/Women's Air Jordan 12 XII Basketball Shoes Purple/Gold/White,Reebok Lifestyle Womens Sneakers Meteorite/Night Violet/White,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Toms Womens Shoes Classic Colors,Men's/Women's Asics Gel Lyte III Running Shoes Burgundy/Fiery Red HN514-2523,Converse All Star Low Ox Women 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. 

Men's Under Armour UA Micro G? Anatomix Spawn II Basketball Shoes Red White Blue

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. Nike Free RN Flyknit 2.0 Women's Black,Men's/Women's Asics Gel Lyte V Running Shoes Black/Black H60SQ-9090,2015 Men's Nike Air Zoom Vomero 10 Running Shoes Cool Grey/Black/Blue Lagoon/White 717440-001,.  

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, 310805-003 Air Jordan Retro 10 (X) Stealth Black White Stealth 2012 A10001,Men's/Women's Asics Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 Shoes Orange Glow TH9J4L-0416,Authentic 302370-109 Air Jordan 9 Retro White/Black-Militia Green,. 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," Men's Adidas EQT Support 93/17 Shoes Core Black Black/White BB1236,Men's/Women's Balenciaga Speed Trainer Knit High Runner All White,Men's adidas Originals ZX Flux Slip-On Shoes Wolf Grey/Running White B34454,."

Men's Air Jordan 11 Low Basketball Shoes Midnight Navy/White-Light Gum Brown 528895-405,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Men's Air Jordan Trainer 2 Flyknit Basketball Shoes White/Black/Black 921210-110,Men's/Women's Nike Roshe One Print Running Shoes Black Bright Blue Purple,Men's Jordan CP3.VIII Basketball Shoes Black/White/Red 684855-023,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Men's New Balance 580 Shoes Orange/Grey/Navy MRT580BO,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Men's Nike Air Foamposite One "Copper" Basketball Shoes Black/Metallic Copper-Black 314996-007,Men's/Women's Puma Clyde EAST VS. WEST Leather Sneakers Puma White-Puma Black-Puma Team Gold 364669-01,Men's Nike Air Max 1 OG "Sport Red" Running Shoes White/University Red/Neutral Grey/Black 908375-100,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Men's Nike Air Max 2013 Shoes Camo Green,Men's/Women's Under Armour UA Stephen Curry Two "Professional" Signature Mid Basketball Shoes Black/White,Men's Nike Air Max 2016 Shoes White/Volt/Black 806711-107,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Men's Nike Air Max 90 Hyperfuse Running Shoes Black/White 333888-787,Women's Adidas Originals Superstar 2 "Heart" Print Casual Shoes Red/White G63092,Men's Nike Air Max 90 VT Shoes Army Green/Camo 472513-008,
Men's Nike Air Max 97 Ultra Shoes Black/White 921826-003,Women's Air Jordan 1 Mid Basketball Shoes White/Cool Grey 554724-100,Men's Nike Air Max Thea Leather Running Shoes Dark Blue/Red 616723-609,
  • Y3 Qasa High Trainer CP5125
  • Nike Roshe Run Black The Walking Dead Custom
  • Perllini&Mel / Platform Wedge Sandals / White
  • Adidas Supernova Sequence Boost Womens Bold Pink/Core Black/Solar Pink Nike USA TrainersNew Products
  • Nike Air Jordan 13s Blue White Grey Shoes
  • Stylish Philosophy Di Lorenzo Serafini White Contrast Lace Dress For Women Online Sale
  • New Exclusive GIVENCHY Satin Peaked Lapels Wool - Black Men's Suits - 35SX195
  • Timberland Earthkeepers 2 Eye Boat Shoes Olive Suede For Men
  • Cheapest Walk London Picadilly Double Zip Leather Boots Men 3628-4682
  • Official Website- Mens Salomon Sonic Pro 2 Neutral Running Shoes Dark Blue
  • 2016 Lebron 13 top Quality XIII Sudden Impact Hornets Teal Black
  • Nike Free45-0485
  • DC / BALANCER S/S SNOW WHITE EDYZT03605-WBB0
  • rsvp Dark Brown Micro Suede Wynona (Extra Wide Calf)y OZV553880
  • Nike Air Jordan XXXI 31 Men Basketball Shoes Black Purple Moon 845037-105
  • Exciting Lacoste Men Tan Tan Shoe Lacoste Bradshaw Derby Femininity
  • Born Womens Shoes / Pewter Girls Shoes Born Pamati mid heel Sandals DS322094w18
  • Nike Flyknit Lunar University Red Black Bright Crimson
  • Women I Love Shoes Phildo Trainers - Rubber - Silver - 6079838vz
  • Aerosoles Womens Shoes / Black Stretch Shoes Aerosoles Plush on You High Heel Sling back Sandals BR426703319