WEBSITE Adidas Gazelle OG Black turquoise 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

2015 New Nike Air Max Shake Evolve Mens Shoes Grey Silver Cheap Sale,Puma R698 Nylon Red,2015 Newest Nike WMNS Roshe One Print"Bold Berry"Shoes White Bold Berry 599432-113 Mens Sneakers Online,. 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, 2015 Nike Free Flyknit 4.0 Mens Running Shoes Newest On Sale Baby Blue,Adidas Adistar Racer burgundy,2015 Nike Free Run+ 3 Men Shoes Blue Silver,.

"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, 2015 Nike Zoom Kobe X EM XDR 10 Elite Edition/World Basketball Championship Exclusive Colorway Mens Shoes 777411-981,LOW PRICE Adidas LA Trainer Gray White Blue,2016 Nike Air Jordan 11 XI Retro Totem Mens Sneakers University Blue Basketball Shoes Online,, 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. 2016 Nike Mens Basketball Sneakers Lebron 13 Grass Green Grey White Black,FASHION Converse All Star Hi Black,Air Jordan IV 4 Mens Shoes Oreo Glowing In Dark Grey Green,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Air Max 90 Mens Shoes Cheap On Sale Black Grey,GET Adidas Gazelle OG W pink,Air Max 90 Mens Shoes Cheap Wholesale White Silver Blue Black,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Vans Classic Slip-On Orange 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, Air max Shake Evolve For Men in 66800,New Balance WL574 W Blue Orange,Buy Cheap Nike KD 7 2014 Grey Pink Mens Shoes,, 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.

Buy Cheap Nike Kobe 9 High 2015 Grey Green Mens Shoes,COMFORTABLE Nike Air Max Command Youth GS White Black pink,Cheap Hot sale Nike Dunk High Mens Shoes For Sale Red White,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Cheap Outlet Air Max 2012 Mens Shoes Breathable On Sale Black Blue,PROVIDE New Balance WL574 W Green Blue,Deal Nike Air Max 1 Men's Running Shoe Beige White/Black,.

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, FIFA World Cup Brazil Nike Magista Opus FG soccer boots black green white,Nike Blazer Mid Vintage Youth GS Black Gray,Hot Sale Popular Air Jordan 9 IX Mens Shoes White,.

adidas Galaxy Elite

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Men's Air Max Lebron VIII Shoes in 24392,Nike Roshe Run Winter W Black Gray,New Air Jordan 4 IV Retro Mens Shoes Fur Winter Nicks Black 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 2014 Latest Hypervenom Phelon Indoor Football Boots white black fluorescentgreen,LOW PRICE Adidas Court Attitude K W Black violet pink,Nike Air Jordan 5 V Mens Shoes 2012 White Outlet,."

Nike Air Relentless 4 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 Jordan XIII 13 Mens Shoes White Black,LOW PRICE Nike Roshe Run Youth GS turquoise Red,Nike Air Max 360 2009 Mens Shoes Black Blue,. 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 New Mens Shoes Camo Army Green,ASICS GEL-KINSEI 6 RUNNING MEN SHOES SIZE 11.5,Nike Air Max Lebron VII-31,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Nike Air Max TN I Mens Shoes black gray red,Asics Gel Game 4VbALL VolleyBall Men's Shoes Size,Nike Air Max TN I Mens Shoes Unique green 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.

Timberland Stormbuck Lite

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 Anti Skid Kids Wearable Breathable Caterpillar Running Shoes Online Store China Red,Asics Gel Lyte III "Japanese Textile" Size 12 Style Code: H625L 5050 Ronnie Kith,Nike Dunk SB 2012 New Mid Cut Mens Shoes white black green blue,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Nike Hyperize Sneakers For Men in 73278,ASICS Men's GEL-Nimbus 16 Running Shoe White/Black/Royal Size 12M,Nike Kobe VII(6) in 16236,, 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.

Nike England 2016 Away Socks Blue - Accessories Socks 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 Lunar Hyperdunk X 2012 For Men in 66757,NIB ASICS Men's DynaFlyte Running Shoe T6F3Y-5890 SIZE: 12M / EUR46.5,Nike Penny Hardaway Mens Shoes Black Blue,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Nike Zoom KD V 5 Kevin Durant Sneakers For Men in 73873,ASICS GEL LYTE V 5 SZ 9.5 COCKATOO BLACK H6S4L 4790,On Sale Nike Air Max 87 Men Shoes Hot Sale Black Red White,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Sale Drop 15 Pairs Of Super Ltd Edition Mvix R9 Chrome Purple,Asics GEL QUANTUM 180 TR Men's S610Y.9099 Black/Onyx/Vermilion Running Shoes,Under Armour UA ClutchFit Drive 2015 Black Gold Red Basketball Shoes Sale,," 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.

Saucony Shadow Original Light Grey/Orange Sneakers for MAN,ASICS x Packer Shoes Gel Lyte V "Scary Cold" Goretex Size 8.5 New Supreme Kith,PUMA Xt-2 For Fray-ID White Running Shoes for MAN,.

Asics Gel Lyte III Grey Blue Red Womens Shoes 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."

PUMA Blaze of Glory NYY Vaporous Gray Trainers for MAN,AUTHENTIC ASICS GEL LYTE EVO HN543 0101 SAMURAI PACK MENS RUNNING SHOES black,Jordan Melo M11 White/Metallic Silver/Pure Platinum Basketball Shoes for MAN,.

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.

Reebok NPC II White/White Trainers for MAN,Asics Gel-Cumulus 17 Men's Shoes Island Blue/Black/Indigo Blue t5d3n-4090,Nike KD VII Classic Charcoal/Dove Grey/Light Retro Basketball Shoes for MAN,.

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

PUMA Suede Mid x Stuck Up x Alife Black/White Sneakers for MAN,Asics Gel-Lyte III Black & Black H6B3N-9090,Reebok Ventilator Ice Energy Blue/White Trainers for UNISEX,.

Nike Air Force Cheap Women Denim Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Nike Roshe Run Print Black/White/Anthracite/Cool Grey Sneakers for WOMAN,ASICS GT-2000 3 MENS RUNNING T500N,Nike Air Max 1 Essential White/Fireberry/Pink Powder/Orange Running Shoes for WOMAN,. 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,Awesome Nike Mens Air Vapormax CS Thunder Create Blue Super White Navy AH9046-401,NEW MENS ASICS GEL-NIMBUS 18 RUNNING SHOES TRAINERS BLACK / SILVER / CARBON,Discount Authentic 315371-072 Mens Nike Air Jordan Spizike Shoes Black/Gold Dust Stealth-Light Graphite White,, 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, Discount Authentic 555088-184 Mens Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro Black Toe White-Black-Gym Red,Nike Air Flight Huarache Low Shoes Mens Black Dark Grey Light Red N18565,Discount Authentic Kids Nike Air Max 90 White/Red,.

Nike Shoes Bianche Rosa Women 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. Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air force 1 Low Shoes White/Light Blue,Nike Air Jordan Spike 40 Pe Shoes Mens Royal White Black Orange N86697,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 16.5 Shoes Black,.

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. Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan 6 Rings Retro Black-Blue,Nike Air Max 95 Essential Shoes Mens Black Grey Grey Black N22199,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Jordan Pro Strong Shoes White/Black/Grey/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," Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 2010 Shoes Brown/Black/White,Nike Benassi Solarsoft 2 Slippers Mens Red Black N78177,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 24-7 Shoes Black/Dark Purple,.

Family ties

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

Women Summer Casual Thick-soled Non-slip Slippers Hollow PU Shoes - Yellow - 38 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, Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 90 Black/Red/Blue,Nike Hurley One And Only Flip Flops Mens Grey N55434,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max 90 White/Grey/Gold,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max BW Shoes Dark Brown/Cream/White,Nike Jordan New School Shoes Mens White Grey Black N94232,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max Jordan 3.5 Shoes White/Grey/Red,, 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. 

Nike Blazer Mid Mesh Shoes Womens Orange Orange White N74377

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 Mens Nike Air Max LTD Shoes Grey/White/Black/Light Blue,Nike Roshe One Premium Shoes Mens Dark Grey Platinum Blue N47653,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max TN Shoes White/Light Blue/Silver,.  

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 Dunk High Shoes Golden/Brown/Black,Nike Sb Janoski Max Mid Leather Skateboarding Shoes Mens Black Dark Grey Black N16788,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Dunk Low Shoes Blue/Orange/White,. 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 Free 5.0 V4 Running Shoes Dark Grey/White,Adidas Training Bostoncloud plus slide M Core Black Silver Metallic Core Black For Men,Discount Authentic Mens Nike Shox NZ Shoes Black/Grey/Silver,."

Discount Authentic Mens Nike Shox R4 Shoes Cool Grey/Yellow,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Kids Nike Air Jordan 12 CNY Chinese New Year XII Retro White Direct Black 3M 881427-122,Nike SB Eric Koston 2 Max Shoes Blue Force White For Men,Nike SB Dunk Top High QS Fashion Deconstructed Soulland AH9613-141,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet


Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Discounts Under Armour Threadborne Run Mesh Hoodie Black/Reflective For Men Selling Well,Nike Flex Run 2014 Running Shoes Magnet Grey Photo Blue Hyper Crimson Team Orange For Men,New Trendy Nike Mlb Flux Top Charcoal Heather For Men Sale Online,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

The Hottest Styles Adidas Originals Pharrell Williams Hu Hiking Camo Camo For Men Sale Online,Adidas Originals Bostonstar East River Rivalry Shoes Bold Blue For Men,adidas Originals Equipment Support ADV W White,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

adidas Originals Tubular Nova Red,Adidas Originals SL Loop Runner TR Shoes Core Black Solar Blue Solid Grey For Men,Nike Air Huarache Utility Black,
Nike Wmns Air Max 90 Winter Brown,Interactive HXM00N09042A6D9993 Interactive Shoes For Men,Puma Blaze Of Glory Leather Black,
  • Discount 163607 Nike Air Classic BW Si Men Black Shoes
  • Nike Chapter 3 Mercurial Vortex III CR7 FG Men's Green
  • Converse Chuck Taylor All Star II Ox Shield Lycra Pink
  • Men's NFL Washington Redskins Game Jersey (DeAngelo Hall) - Football Jersey JF436487o
  • Casual - White University Blue 1GV971 - Jordan Hydro 6 - Shoes - Men's
  • They sold very well Nike Air Huarache 75FN741 for Men
  • Cheap Nike Air Max 2017 Black Blue Grey Men's Running Shoes
  • Discount Authentic Mens Nike Air Max Skybine Shoes Dark Grey/Black/Purple/Green
  • Men Heavy Discount Nike Air Max 2011 Black Red Running Shoes
  • Nike Hyperdunk 2017 Low Red Black For Sale
  • Womens Saucony Walking Shoes - Momentum - Black Item W1347
  • Adidas Filthyspeed 2.0 Low Fly Men Black/White/Collegiate Royal Football Shoes
  • 2018 Quality assurance - Adidas Superstar 2 Antifur Coffee Gold Shoes
  • Running Men ASICS GEL-CUMULUS 16 Women's Running Shoes Black Online Cheap
  • New Nike Women/Mens Benassi JDI mandarin duck Slide Sandal Reduced Black/White
  • Mens Nike Air Max Tailwind 8 Black White Green
  • Cheap Air Jordan 1 Retro High Premier Black Laser 332134-061 Basketball Shoes
  • Air Max 180 Shoes Black Pink
  • Adidas Marathon TR 10 Black Green Mens Shoes
  • New Balance 580 Men Mt580 New Balance Mt580Gy Grey Yellow Goat Mita Sneakers X New Balance 580 Limit