Timberland Earthkeepers Adventure Cupsole Chukka Shoes Navy Oiled For Men 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

Buy Cheap Nike Lebron 12 2015 Red Blue Black Mens Shoes,2015 Latest Nike Air Huarache Run NM 2 Sneakers Black Red Mens Running Shoes SalesCheap Nike Air Jordan 9 Kids Black Blue,. 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, Cheap On Sale Nike Air Jordan 4 IV Retro Mens Shoes White Green,2015 Latest Nike Air Jordan Super Fly 3 Online Store For CheapCheap Outlet Air Max 2012 Mens Shoes Breathable On Sale Grey,.

"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, Chrismas Gift Edition Air Jordan 9 IX Retro Mens Shoes Online Discount White Orange,2015 Latest Nike Air Max Lunar90 Flyknit Chukka Sp HAI"Bright Mango"Bright Crimson White Outsole Shoes Lunarlon Cushioning Mens Sneaker LimitedDeal Nike Flyknit Trainer Mesh Black Grey Mens Sneakers,, 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. Fashion Nike Flyknit Trainer Suede Leather Green Mens Sneakers,2015 Latest Nike Air Max Zero QS 87 Retro Mens Running Shoes All White 789695-010FIFA World Cup Nike Magista TPU FG soccer boots cleats black red,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Hot Nike Air Jordan 6 Kids White Black,2015 Latest Nike Air Max Outdoor Slippers Cheap Mens Flip Flop Online Outlet BlueHot Sell Cheap Popular Nike Dunk High Cut Mens Shoes Fur Inside for Winter Pink Brown,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk High Shoes Dark Brown/White/Blue 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 Nike Cortez Anti-Fur Shoes Tan Red,2015 Latest Nike Air Max Zero QS 87 Retro Mens Running Shoes Grass Green White 789695-011Men's Air Max Lebron VIII Shoes in 24391,, 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.

Mens Nike Air Max 90 BR Retro Running Shoes White Gray Red,2015 Latest Nike Roshe Run Knit Mens Shoes Discount Online Cheap Couples Sneaker BlueNew Nike Air Max 2015 Mens Shoes Green Orange,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Newest Nike Air Max 90 Kids Shoes Children Sneakers Online Store Black White,2015 Latest Nike Roshe Run Flyknit Mens Running Shoes Outlet Red BlackNike Air Classic BW Mens Shoes on Sale Blue Red New,.

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, Nike Air Jordan 3 III Cement Mens Shoes White Black,2015 Latest Nike x Air Max 90 Current Huarache Black Gray Mens Running Shoes Online Store 318429-018Nike Air Jordan Cement 3 III Retro Mens Shoes 2012 New Fur Coffee,.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk High Shoes White/Red/Yellow Minnie Mouse

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Nike Air Jordan IV 4 Retro Releases Dates Mens Shoes White Blue Yellow,2015 Latest Summer Nike Air Jordan Kids Flip Flop AJ Black Slippers OnlineNike Air Max 2014 Kids Shoes Online for Sale White Blue,. "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 Max 360 2009 Mens Shoes Black Blue,2015 New Air Jordan 6 VI Retro Mens Shoes Leopard Black Red Hot SellNike Air Max 90 Hyperfuse PRM Mens Shoes White Green,."

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Flex Experience Training Shoes Black/White/Green 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 Air Max 90 PRM Tape 2014 New Shoes Blue Red,2015 New Air Jordan 6 VI Retro Mens Shoes Leopard Black Grey RedNike Air Max LeBron IX 9 Elite Volt Dunkman Sneakers For Men in 72663,. 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 LEBRON X Basketball Shoes For Men in 96576,2015 New Air Jordan 6 VI Retro Mens Shoes White Yellow GreenNike Air Max TN I Mens Shoes black gold,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Nike Air Max TN I Mens Shoes Refined black skyblue,2015 New Nike Air Jordan 4 IV Mens Shoes Black RedNike Air Max TN I Mens Shoes Unique white black,," 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 Authentic Mens Nike Free Run+ 2 Running Shoes Black/Pink/White

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 Penny V For Men in 70568,2015 New Nike Free Run 5.0 Free Running Mens Shoes Deep Borland Nike Hot SaleNike Barkley Posite Max For Men in 77567,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Nike Flex Experience RN Mens Shoes Black Green,2015 New Nike Free Run 5.0 Free Running Mens Shoes Black Orange Us StoreNike Free 6.0 Spiderman Breathable Mens Shoes Red,, 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 Authentic Mens Nike Free Trainer 5.0 Training Shoes Grey/Silver/Dark Grey/Light Blue 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, Nike Hyperdunk Low Basketball Shoes For Men in 91307,2015 Newest Nike Air Max 90 87 HYP PRM Mens Shoes Online Fluorescence GreenNike James Lebron 10 For Men in 77159,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Nike Kobe VII(6) Shoes in 20288,2015 Newest Nike Air Jordan XX9 29 Future Sneakers White Jade Grey AJ Mens Shoes Cheap SaleNike Lunar Hyperdunk X 2012 For Men in 66757,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Nike Mercurial Vapor IX FG Football Boots Cleats (Tropical Pack) green black white,2015 Newest Nike Air Yeezy II 2 Sp Max 90 The Devil Series Trainers All Red West Mens Shoes Online SaleNike Tiempo Legend Elite five AG football boots white orange black,," 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.

Nike Zoom KD V 5 Elite Mens Shoes White Gold,2015 Nike Air Huarache Mens Hyper Punch Black Red Running Shoes Couples Shoes Online SaleNike Zoom Kobe Dream Season II Low Sneakers For Men in 73252,.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Shox R3 Shoes Silver/Black 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."

Online Nike Air Jordan Aero Flight Men Shoes Cheap Sale Black Blue,2015 Nike Air Jordan 11LAB4"Royal Blue"Mens Sneakers Royal Blue White Basketball Shoes 719864 Cheap SalePopular To Buy 87 Hyperfuse Mens Shoes Black Blue,.

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.

To Buy Air Max 90 Hyperfuse Prm Mens Shoes Shopping Online Black Blue,2015 Nike Air Jordan Eclipse"Hare"Bugs Bunny AJ Sneakers Mens Sports Shoes Purple Orange Violet 724010505Under Armour UA ClutchFit Drive 2015 Green Black Basketball Shoes 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

World Cup Nike Hypervenom Phantom FG Football Boots pink fluorescent green,2015 Nike Air Max 2020 Mens Shoes Running Deep Blue Black Sneakers For Cheap OnlineNike SB Trainerendor Black/Black/Black Sneakers for MAN,.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Shox R5 Shoes White/Black/Blue Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Air Jordan 1 Mid Black/Cool Grey/Gym Red Basketball Shoes for MAN,2015 Nike Air Yeezy 2 Mens Shoes For Sale Grey Black RedPUMA Disc Blaze White/White Trainers for MAN,. 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,Vans Classic Slip-On Black/True White Sneakers for MAN,2015 Nike Free Flyknit 4.0 Mens Running Shoes Newest On Sale Couples Sneaker Navy Blue WhiteConverse All Star Hi Black Sneakers for MAN,, 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, Nike Roshe NM Fleece Cool Grey/Black/White Trainers for MAN,2015 Nike Free Run 3.0 V3 Men Shoes Black GreyReebok Ventilator Vintage Chlk/Snwy/Grey Sneakers for MAN,.

Nike Air Classic Max 7 start Tiny 90 (PS) Kids/ Youth Shoes Free Shipping 881927 005 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 Free OG ,2015 Nike Free Run 3.0 V2 Men Shoes Grey BlackVans Sk8-Hi Black/Black/White Sneakers for MAN,.

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. Nike Zoom HyperRev 2015 Ltrtr/Brghtct Sneakers for MAN,2015 Nike Free Run 5.0 V6 Men Shoes Grey RedAdidas Originals ZX Flux Tech Core Black/White Sneakers for WOMAN,, 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," Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Jacquard Pink Powder/Black/Flash Lime/Orange Running Shoes for WOMAN,2015 Nike Free Run+ 2 Men Shoes Light Grey Light GreenNike Air Pegasus ,.

Family ties

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

Nike Wmns Classic Cortez discounts Nylon PREM Perfect Pink/Sport Red-Sail 2017 882258-601 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, adidas Originals Originals Tubular Doom Sock PK Unique Black top Quality White Men Popular Shoes BY3563,2015 Nike Lunar Flyknit Chukka Mens Running Shoes Blue Black On Sale For Cheap TrainersDirect NIKE AIR VAPORMAX CS GREY Special (AH9046 010) Official MENS TRAINERS,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Discount Authentic 311832-002 Mens Nike Air Jordan 14 Shoes Final / Last Shot - Black/Varsity Red-Black,2015 Nike Zoom Fit Agility Flyknit Sneakers Online Mens Shoes Orange PurpleDiscount Authentic 395553-104 Mens Nike Air Jordan Flight 9 Retro White/Black-Varsity Maize,, 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. 


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. Discount Authentic Kids Nike Air Jordan 16.5 Shoes Dark Red/Orange/White,2015 Nike Zoom Hypercross Trainer"Turquoise"Black Silver Mens ShoesDiscount Authentic Kids Nike Air Max LTD Shoes White/Grey/Black,.  

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, Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air force 1 Low Shoes Wheat/Light Blue/White/Black,2015 Online Air Penny Hardaway 5 V Mens Shoes On Sale Red BlackDiscount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 13 Night Light Shoes Black/Red,. 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," Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 3 Shoes Grey/Black,2016 Discount Nike Air Jordan 12 XII Kids Basketball Shoes Black Red Child SneakersDiscount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 6 Night Light Shoes Black/Red,."

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan New School Shoes Black/Red/White,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max + 2013 Shoes Black/White,Air Max 2011 Netty Mens Shoes Discount red whiteDiscount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 2011 Shoes Dark Grey/Light Blue,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 24-7 Shoes Black/Dark Purple,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 89 Shoes Brown/Pink/Blue,Air Max 90 Mens Shoes Cheap On Sale Gray BlackDiscount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 90 Grey/Dark Blue,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 91 Shoes White/Blue,Air Max 90 Mens Shoes Cheap Wholesale BlackDiscount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max BW Shoes Black/White/Blue,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max Jordan 2 Shoes Black/Grey,Air Max 90 Mens Shoes Cheap Wholesale White SilverDiscount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max Jordan Fly 23 Shoes White/Red,
Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max Skybine Shoes Black/Gold,Air Max 90 Premium EM Mens Shoes 2014 Release White BlackDiscount Authentic Mens Nike Airmax 2009 Shox R4 Shoes White/Dark Blue,
  • Discount 200063 Nikelebron11 Men Navy Green Black Shoes
  • Nike Air Max KPU Mens Green Black Sneakers 3127094
  • Floor Price Adidas Yeezy Ultra Popcorn Boots Men Running Shoes All White K54m9966
  • Nike Air Max 89 Men Running Shoes Orange/White /Nike Jordan [ N1370]
  • Men's - Casual - Nike GTS '16 - Shoes - Midnight Navy White 5GK1585
  • Girls Trainers Black (Bkhp)
  • Nike Air Jordan 4 Red Black Grey Shoes
  • Puma Basket Platform Metallic GOLD
  • Mens Nike Air Max 180 White Beige Shoe Order Online
  • Mens Nike Track and Field Shoes - Zoom Rival SD 2 - White Item M1046
  • Creative Recreation Womens Galow (grape vintage)
  • 2017 Womens Nike Clothing Sale Men's Nike Magista Obra Fg Metallic Blue/Grey Shoes Canada QMR5902408
  • Nike Zoom Elite 8 Hypernational - Women Shoes
  • UK Fashion style - Custom Nike Dunk High Top Kill Bill 2 Triumvir3 Shoes
  • Oasis Navy Double Breasted Peacoatj RYP297881
  • Men's - Nike Free 5.0+ Midnight Turq / White-Total Crimson Shoes
  • ASICS Tiger Gel-Lyte V NS - B
  • Men's Air Jordan 4Lab1 Nero/Tropical Teal
  • Nike 7" Distance 642807-496 Blue Force/Light Blue Lacquer
  • Uomo Nike Air Max AU 95 Nere/Grigio/Verde Dynamic Flywire Scarpe
  • AIR MAX LTD 01 Mens Shoes Cheap White Red Blue