Unisex Shoes Converse Weapon Mid White/Red/Black 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

Jordan ASG Hooded (Toronto 2016),Womens Shoes ECCO Sport Biom Hybrid Walk Sport Dark Shadow/Dark Shadow/Rose Dust,Youth Wardrobe Style Shorts,. 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, Various Sizes BKa5jiZP Salomon online shop-Salomon shoes Speedcross 3 CS Red Yellow Black,Womens Sandals GUESS Shura White Synthetic,Wholesale Trade Nike Air Max Zero QS 87 Retro Womens Running Shoes Jade Pink Purple White xCdGyUjH,.

"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, Authentic 4x7zx my6yqq August Deals Nike Air Max Tavas Womens,Womens Shoes GUESS Anny Natural Leather,Authentic ec3u9 fgmzwq August Deals Nike Air Max 1 Womens,, 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. Authentic rxhrs e4rfm6 August Deals Nike Air Max Thea Mens,Womens Shoes GUESS Pavell Green Multi Fabric,Buy a8fgi y5dabg August Deals Nike Air Max Tavas Mens,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Buy qhhd3 6h3agx August Deals Nike Air Max 2015 Mens,Womens Boots Hunter Original Tall Blue Sky,Buy zwsyr k9bqz2 Cheap Adidas Superstar Womens Shoes,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Adidas Energy Boost 2 Esm Mens Black/White/Infrared Running Shoes V34890 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, Cheap g5h3u zfgegd August Deals Superstar Mens,Womens Boots Naturalizer Audrey Black Suede/Leather,Cheap weurv ihxwe4 August Deals Nike Air Max 95 Womens,, 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.

Discount 9aixd pvr39d Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens White Shoes,Womens Sandals Naturalizer Robyn Black Leather,Discount m5i8s x5frm6 August Deals Nike Blazer Low Mens,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Online 636cq dryibh August Deals Superstar Womens,Womens Shoes Naturalizer Ivan Caravan Sand Nubuck,Online i5zqg 2c8k4m August Deals Nike Air Max 1 Womens,.

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, Online xkbvt 9x3ugf August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens White,Womens Shoes Naturalizer Saban Sailboat Turquoise Leather,Outlet gamft hf5d7a August Deals Nike Air Max Zero Womens,.

Adidas Powerlift Trainer 2 Mens Flash Lime/Silver Metallic/Black Training Shoes V53573

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Outlet zgqnv 6kcb3u August Deals Nike Air Max 2016 Womens,Womens Shoes New Balance WC1296 Yellow,Sale g558r n2ssxi August Deals Nike Free 50 Womens,. "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. "Sale vr5cz zvnwqu August Deals Nike Air Presto Womens,Womens Shoes New Balance 1296v1 White/Blue,UK ea2pi 6z75vu Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens Pink Shoes,."

Nike Cortez Mens Obsidian/Obsidian/White Running Shoes V67325 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.UK we43s 8tnn4f August Deals Nike Air Max Zero Womens,Womens Shoes New Balance W1980GY Grey/Yellow,Buy 165124 Adidas Originals Campus II Men Brown Shoes,. 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.

"Cheap 245670 Air Jordan 19 Original OG Men White Shoes,Womens Shoes New Balance Classics WL515 Blue/Green Synthetic,Discount 193170 Air Jordan Alpha 1 Retro Men White Black Red Shoes,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Discount 209117 Jordan Fly Wade 1 Men Black Red Shoes,Womens Shoes Nike Free 5.0 V4 Black/White/White,Discount 205090 New Balance M1400v2 Men Blue Green Shoes,," 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.

Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 2 Womens Frozen Green/White Running Shoes V54220

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

Buy 159446 Nike Air Flightposite 1 Men Black Royal Blue Shoes,Womens Shoes Nike Zoom Fit Soar/Green/Glow/Wolf Grey/White,Discount 200408 Nike Air Force 1 Men Shoes,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Authentic 194473 Nike Air Max Men Light Grey Black Shoes,Womens Shoes Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32 Vivid Purple/Fuchsia Glow/Hyper Orange/Black,Comfortable 227133 Nike Air Max Men Pink Blue White Shoes,, 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.

Adidas Predator Instinct Fg Womens Bold Red/White Soccer Shoes V40738 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, Inexpensive 150346 Nike Air Max 90 Men White Black Green Shoes,Womens Shoes Nike Free 5.0 TR Fit 5 PRT Black/Bright Crimson/Atomic Pink/Black,Comfortable 174732 Nike Air Max 90 Men White Black Green Shoes,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Discount 169390 Nike Air Max Ltd II Men White Black Shoes,Womens Boots PATRIZIA Varnsdorf Brown,Inexpensive 207680 Nike Air Speed Turf Max Men Black Red Shoes,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Shopping 210114 Nike Dunk High Men Black Grey Shoes,Womens Sandals PATRIZIA Nanor Pink,Shopping 217284 Nike Dunk Low Men Shoes,," 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.

Buy 165769 Nike Free 3.0 V4 Men Royal Blue White Shoes,Womens Shoes PATRIZIA Reilly Black,Inexpensive 147814 Nike Free 5.0 V4 Men Black Sail Brown Shoes,.

Nike Flex Fury Womens Vivid Purple/Copa/Blue Lagoon/Black Running Shoes V84910 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."

Inexpensive 177013 Nike Kobe Dream Season II Low Men White Black Yellow Shoes,Womens Shoes PUMA Pulse XT Geo Black/White,Cheap 176814 Nike Lebron 11 Men Shoes,.

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.

Discount 211043 Nike Roshe Run Men Grey White Ice Blue Shoes,Womens Shoes PUMA Roma Metallic Black/Dark Shadow,Inexpensive 192626 Nike Shox Conundrum Men White Gold Shoes,.

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

Inexpensive 227525 Nike Shox R4 Men Black Shoes,Womens Shoes Reebok Sublite XT Cushion MT Alloy/Luminous Lime/White,Comfortable 234512 Nike Shox Rivalry Men White Orange Shoes,.

Nike Wild Trail Womens Anthracite/Vivid Pink/White/Polarized Blue Running Shoes V11233 Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Discount 149404 Nike Zoom Kd IV Men Black Red Grey Shoes,Womens Sandals Rocket Dog Finch Orange Sunkissed/Waverunner,Shopping 232720 Onitsuka Tiger By Asics California 78 Men Navy Green Apple Shoes,. 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,Inexpensive 202808 Puma Drift Cat III Sf Men Black Shoes,Womens Shoes Rocket Dog Trinidad Black Coast,Discount 229564 Nike Roshe Run Unisex Green Floral Print Shoes,, 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, Comfortable 216006 Air Jordan 18 Original OG Women Black Blue Shoes,Womens Boots Sam Edelman Hannah Mocha Latte,Buy 196341 Nike Air Force 1 Women White Blue Shoes,.

Men's Nike SB Portmore Nubuck Cool Grey/White/Anthracite UK#N5-9120 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. Authentic 222806 Nike Air Force 1 Women Blue White Shoes,Womens Sandals Sam Edelman Reid Vreeland Red,Cheap 213627 Nike Dunk High Women Shoes,.

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. Comfortable 153061 Nike Free Run 3 Women Grey White Shoes,Womens Shoes Sam Edelman Monroe Pewter Black,Adidas Bounce Titan 2012 Men Coupon_022,, 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," Adidas Springblade Men Coupon_229,Womens Shoes Sam Edelman Augusta Pop Fuchsia Kid Suede Leather,Asics Running Shoes Women Coupon_400,.

Family ties

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

Comutor 12 Hour Panel Backpack CP27 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, Christian Louboutin Sale Women Coupon_579,Womens Shoes Saucony Kinvara 6 Black/White,Jimmy Choo Pumps Women Coupon_807,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Platforms Jimmy Choo Women Coupon_977,Womens Shoes Saucony Mystic Fuchsia/Coral,New Balance 574 Men Coupon_1163,, 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. 

adidas Originals Junior Tubular X Primeknit Trainer CP583

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. New Balance Women Coupon_1377,Womens Boots Timberland 6" Premium Boot Dark Olive Waxed Canvas,New Balance 574 Women Coupon_1488,.  

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, Nike Kevin Durant Men Coupon_1732,Womens Boots UGG Classic Short Leather Black,Men's Basketball Shoe Kobe XI Elite 822675-001,. 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 Indoor/Court Soccer Shoe Nike HyperVenomX Proximo NJR x Jordan IC 820118-106,Womens Boots UGG Patten Chestnut Leather,Men's Nike Shoe Jordan Westbrook 0 768934-001,."

Men's Running Shoe Nike LunarStelos 844591-400,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Men's Shoe Nike Air Huarache Premium 704830-007,Unisex Shoes Vans SK8-Hi Reissue (Twill & Gingham) Black/True White,Men's Shoe Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32 749340-100,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Men's Shoe Nike Metcon DSX Flyknit 852930-003,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Men's Training Shoe Nike Free Trainer 1.0 807436-003,Hurley Heathered Kingsroad,NIKE AIR MAX 2015 White/Black/Volt,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

NIKE FREE TR 5 Black/Dark Grey/White/White,Nike Victory,WOMEN'S NIKE FS LITE RUN 2 684667-300,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Women's Shoe Nike Flyknit Zoom Agility 698616-101,Full-Zip Hoodie,Nike Huarache Run Boys Toddler White/Pure Platinum/White Running Shoes V93631,
Adidas Springblade Drive 2 Boys Grade School Black/Solar Blue/Metallic Silver Running Shoes V27481,BMW Motorsport Lightweight Jacket,Adidas Crazylight 2.5 Boost Low Mens White/Yellow/Maroon Basketball Shoes V96790,
  • Womens Sandals PATRIZIA Deisy Red
  • Nike Air Max Womens Black White Sneakers 3127697
  • Cmp Women Walking Shoes Turquoise 760800
  • adidas Originals Tennoji Shorts Navy 1655H
  • Design Casual Shoes - Mens Nike SB Free SB Blue Force/Black/Blue
  • Men's Nike Kyrie 3 Basketball Shoes Navy Red
  • Armani Jeans Mens J45 Slim Fit Jeans Blue
  • Air Jordan 4 IV Mens Shoes Fur Oreo White
  • Adidas UK Shop - Adidas ACE 17.1 Primeknit Firm Ground Cleats (Black) for Men
  • nike zoom kobe 6 men's basketball shoes in black and yellow
  • 2017 Bright Blue Nike Shoes Men's Nike Magista Onda Fg Hyper Turquoise/Laser Orange/Hyper Crimson/White Shoes Canada WPP9802430
  • Adidas SL72 - Colred/Running White/Stfaro Wholesale Trade
  • Most Active - MLB Minnesota Twins Authentic Joe Mauer #7 Road Cool Base Jerseytop nfl jerseysnfl jerseys cheap near mestylish
  • Cheap Air Max 2017 Women Black Pink
  • New DVS Comanche Black/Grey/Black Skate Shoes for Men Online Sale
  • Converse Converse by John Varvatos Coated Slip Unisex Shoes black/turtledove/beluga
  • Best-Selling Women Trendz Universal 6-8 Inch Pu Tablet Case Pink Leather
  • Women's Nike Air Zoom Structure 21 Thunder Blue/Black/Persian Violet/Metallic Silver
  • Women Veja Taua Mid Trainers - Synthetics - Nautico White - 3270527dz
  • 2015 Women's Lole Joyce Polo Pomegranate