Women's Bananas Boyfriend Trefoil Tee 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

Discount 183006 Nike Air Max Men White Red Shoes,Austria Shorts,Authentic 244346 Nike Air Max Men Black White Shoes,. 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, Discount 176034 Nike Air Max 90 Men Black Green Shoes,Slovakia Replica Shorts,Cheap 150860 Nike Air Max 90 Men Black Brown Shoes,.

"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 192513 Nike Air Max 90 Men White Red Shoes,Men's Germany Anthem Jacket,Cheap 195604 Nike Air Max Lebron 8 V.1 Men White Royal Orange Shoes,, 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. Cheap 160574 Nike Air Max R4 Men Grey Black Shoes,2016 France Stadium Home,Authentic 197222 Nike Blazer High Men Brown Red White Shoes,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Comfortable 199659 Nike Dream Season Kobe Bryant Men White Black Purple Shoes,Hurley Phantom Compression,Cheap 213135 Nike Dunk High Men Yellow Shoes,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Flossy Sax Mesh Plimsole CP3800 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, Shopping 183168 Nike Dunk SB Low Men Black Sail Shoes,Nike SB Dri-FIT Logo,Shopping 190342 Nike Free 3.0 V4 Men Orange Gray 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.

Authentic 241352 Nike Free Run Men Gray Black White Shoes,Men's adizero Tee,Comfortable 172677 Nike Free Trainer 3.0 Men Black Blue Orange Shoes,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Comfortable 177988 Nike Lebron 11 Men Gold Black Grey Shoes,Nike FC N98,Cheap 174102 Nike Lunarglide Men Black Purple Shoes,.

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, Authentic 234723 Nike Roshe Run Men Carbon Black Red White Shoes,Women's Climacool Aeroknit Tee,Inexpensive 196448 Nike Shox Nz Men Black Shoes,.

adidas Originals Gazelle Indoor Trainer CP3981

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Authentic 153676 Nike Shox O Nine Men White Shoes,Youth Wardrobe Fun Tights,Cheap 197885 Nike Shox R4 Men Grey White Shoes,. "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. "Authentic 181086 Nike Shox Rivalry Men White Shoes,UK Outlet Store xeugu9L1 Emergency Men Saucony Mirage 3 Running Shoes Grey / Red / Citron,Authentic 223944 Nike Zoom Kd IV Men White Yellow Blue Navy Shoes,."

Asics Gel-Lyte III 90's Trainer CP4202 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.Inexpensive 203610 Nike Zoom Kobe VIII Basketball Men Black Yellow Purple Shoes,Various Sizes Nike Foam Posites Size 14 and 15 For Men in 3h3dvGkn,Comfortable 210263 Puma Speed Super Lite Men Black Red 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.

"Inexpensive 155541 Air Jordan 5 Retro Unisex Fire Red White Black Shoes,Wholesale Trade Nike Air Max 1 Men's Running Shoe Wolf Grey/White-Red djMj0K2H,Cheap 147835 Adidas Originals ZX 700 Women Blue Shoes,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Buy 171072 Asics Gel Kinsei 4 Women White Pink Blue Shoes,Wholesale UK Nike Air Jordan 3 III Cement Mens Shoes White Blue Grey ymrbVT01,Shopping 242389 New Balance WW928 Women Tan 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.

Cruyff Pelota 3D Trainer CP4393

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

Authentic 184856 Nike Air Max Women Black Purple Shoes,Authentic 64y8h 2wydrb August Deals Superstar Womens Black,Cheap 162788 Nike Classic Cortez Nylon Women Fluorescent Yellow White Shoes,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Buy 177352 Nike Free 3.0 V2 Women Purple Grey Shoes,Authentic c4hd5 fgdmzh August Deals Nike Roshe Run Mens,Cheap 241120 Nike Free Run 3 Women Purple 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.

Nike SB Check Trainer CP4617 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, Cheap 192684 Nike Zoom Kobe VI Women Red Shoes,Authentic e8d8p 7ug3mg August Deals Nike Roshe Run Womens,Adidas Originals JS Men Coupon_146,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Adizero Rose II 773 Men Coupon_287,Authentic uvdnc 633unf August Deals ZX 700 Mens,2015 Christian Louboutin Women Coupon_432,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Christian Louboutin Sale Women Coupon_634,Authentic zuc5v vys892 August Deals ZX 750 Womens,Jimmy Choo Pumps Women Coupon_795,," 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.

Jimmy Choo Wedges Women Coupon_938,Buy 9eb7t seguwz August Deals ZX 850 Womens,New Balance 1400 Men Coupon_1087,.

Nike Jordan Eclipse Holiday Trainer CP4804 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 Balance 574 Men Coupon_1228,Buy futyi wiamiy August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Floral,New Balance 996 Men Coupon_1333,.

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 Derrick Rose Men Coupon_1596,Buy qtsgy gnmrbn August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Purple,Nike Kevin Durant Men Coupon_1747,.

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

Men's Baseball Cleat Nike Huarache 2K Filth 749359-410,Buy yeq6e qr6h79 Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens Flower Shoes,Men's Football Cleat Nike Vapor Carbon Elite 2014 TD 631425-011,.

Supra Noiz Trainer CP5038 Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Men's Nike Basketball Shoe Kyrie 2 819583-447,Cheap 7q6eq hz8f6k August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Black,Men's Nike ZOOM RIVAL SD 2 685134-002,. 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,Men's Running Shoe Nike LunarTempo 2 818097-800,Cheap frpuv 52dc9s August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Blue,Men's Shoe Nike Air Berwuda 555305-601,, 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, Men's Shoe Nike Air Presto 848132-009,Cheap skc69 zdxwkc August Deals Nike Free Run 2 Mens,Men's Shoe Nike Free Trainer 5.0 V6 AMP (Florida State) 723939-706,.

Birkenstock Womens Arizona Sandal CP5215 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. Men's Shoe Nike SB Koston 3 Hyperfeel 819673-017,Cheap x6hts chg6dn August Deals Nike Air Presto Womens,Men's Training Shoe Nike Free Trainer 5.0 V6 AMP (Oregon) 723939-307,.

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 AIR MAX 2015 Dark Obsidian/Blue Lagoon/Poison Green/White,Discount 73unz 38ah4t August Deals Ultra Boost Mens,NIKE FREE TR 5 Black/Black/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," NIKE ZOOM TERRA KIGER 2 Mdm Ash/Frc Grn-Blk-Pr Pltnm,Discount k3y69 czirpw August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Leopard Print,Women's Shoe Nike Air Rift Breathe 848386-800,.

Family ties

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

Womens Shoes adidas Golf Adicross IV Clear Grey/Mid Grey/Bright Green 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, Women's Shoe Nike Zoom Fearless Flyknit 850426-001,Discount tdggd zbfps9 August Deals Nike Free 50 Womens,Adidas Crazy 8 Boys Grade School Clear Onix/Regal Purple/Gold Basketball Shoes V45142,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Women's Training Shoe Nike Lunar Sculpt 818062-004,Online 3k6vx 9e62ra Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens Flower Shoes,Adidas Crazy 97 Mens Regal Purple/White/Gold Basketball Shoes V72497,, 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 Sandals Aerosoles A2 by Aerosoles Heart Plush Black

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. Adidas Element Refine Mens Solar Slime/Black/White Running Shoes V77835,Online f2yr5 gdnpgz August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Mens,Adidas Adizero Ubersonic Mens White/Collegiate Navy/Blue Tennis Shoes V90415,.  

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 Air Zoom Odyssey Mens Black/Green Strike/Bright Crimson/White Running Shoes V19153,Online iqffa 6am46v August Deals Nike Air Presto Womens,Nike Lunartempo Mens Black/White Running Shoes V31654,. 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," Adidas Solar Boost Womens Semi Frozen Yellow/Silver Metallic/Frozen Yellow Running Shoes V74302,Online tueuh r5m9ss August Deals Nike Blazer Low Mens,Nike Air Huarache Run Ultra Womens Bright Crimson/White Running Shoes V42045,."

Nike Flex Experience Run 4 Womens Black/White/Pink Foil Running Shoes V35410,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Nike Zoom Vomero 10 Womens Blue Tint/Racer Blue/Chalk Blue/Black Running Shoes V39994,Authentic 168564 New Balance Kids 750V3 Kid Purple Shoes,Men's Nike Shox NZ White/Metallic Silver/Green Pulse/Black UK#N5-9474,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Women's Nike Flex Experience Run 4 Black/Copa/White/Vivid Purple UK#N5-9004,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

adidas Originals Infant Racer Lite Trainer CP465,Discount 224552 Nike Zoom Kobe VI Kid China Metallic Grey Shoes,Nike Junior Air Force 1 Mid Trainer CP622,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Jack & Jones Stan Adam Anti Fit 864 Jean CP865,Cheap 155801 Adidas ZX 700 Men Dark Green Gold Shoes,Levi's Batwing Overhead Hooded Top CP1097,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Brave Soul Etihad Bomber Jacket CP1283,Comfortable 175337 Air Jordan 27 Men Black Royal White Shoes,Native Youth AW15 Gulf Jacket CP1464,
Condemned Nation Kole Short CP2103,Cheap 159966 Air Jordan Prime 5 Men Prime Red Metallic Silver Shoes,UCLA Piped Swim Short CP2347,
  • Buy p9in3 y3depg August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Blue
  • Nike Sportswear Men /Dark Grey/Gum Medium Brown/Black Model:895
  • Nike Free Run Mens Shoes Black Team Red Z8713
  • Adidas Mens Originals ZX Flux Sneakers Many Sizes Nike USA Trainersnatural
  • Nike Mercurial Free Shipping Superfly Leather outlets FG Football Boots Canvas/Black/Volt AU
  • Best Selling Nike [407979-017] AIR MAX LTD NEON Black Green 37RI-0443 for Men
  • Discount Sale Nike Air Max TN I Mens Shoes Refined black skyblue In the UK online
  • Adidas Originals ZX Flux Core Black/White/Core Black Sneakers for WOMAN
  • Salomon XA Pro 3D CS WP Trail Running Shoe Men's 71017
  • Adidas Men Superstar 3G Slide - Collegiate Navy/White
  • Cheap Discount Air Jordan 13 Dirty Bred
  • Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro Mens Shoes Black Grey White
  • Puma Ferrari Podio Td Men's Shoes White-White D54h5508
  • Womens Adidas Shoes Adidas Energy Boost Running Shoes Royal Blue Green No.3124
  • Nike Factory Sale Womens Nike Kevin Durant KD 8 Suit Purple Green Basketball Shoes Online
  • Exciting Ted Baker Women Black Leather Monirra Court Shoes Cozy
  • Children Air Jordan 6 Black White Red Grey Shoes
  • FQIJ121TBJK Monki - Cheap Red Top
  • Nike KD 10 For Cheap Black/Metallic Gold
  • Nike Lebron 13 Zoom Hyperflight Prm Air Jordan Mens Air Jordan Nike Lebron James Shoes For Sale Lebr