Women's Techfit Climachill Bra 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

Cheap 187052 New Balance Classics M801 Men Black Shoes,Online 8eds8 4p6g97 August Deals Superstar Womens WhiteShopping 171980 New Balance Classics Ml402 Men Black 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 230371 New Balance Mc696 Men Black Blue Shoes,Online 98b5f pcr62v August Deals Nike Air Max Tavas MensBuy 148502 Nike Air Classic BW Si Men White Blue 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, Discount 208468 Nike Air Flightposite 1 Men Royal Black Shoes,Online b46pn yszv4m August Deals Nike Air Max 2016 WomensInexpensive 161186 Nike Air Force 1 Men 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. Discount 243648 Nike Air Force 1 Men White Black Shoes,Online czyx6 ki3dap Cheap Adidas Superstar Womens White ShoesBuy 158553 Nike Air Force 1 Men White Columbia Blue Shoes,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Authentic 237753 Nike Air Max Men White Black Shoes,Online fpwg2 w87pys Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens Grey ShoesComfortable 167953 Nike Air Max Men Grey Yellow Shoes,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Men's Shoe Nike Zoom Train Toranada 835657-560 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, Discount 196656 Nike Air Max Men White Black Shoes,Online f2yr5 gdnpgz August Deals Nike Air Max 90 MensShopping 150908 Nike Air Max Men Silver Blue Smoke 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.

Comfortable 179016 Nike Air Max 180 Men Black White Shoes,Online fuiui dehudn August Deals Nike Air Max 95 MensBuy 147848 Nike Air Max 90 Men White Shoes,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Cheap 223681 Nike Air Max 90 Men White Blue Shoes,Online f9ngi 5mr2ei August Deals Nike Air Max 95 WomensCheap 198616 Nike Air Max 90 Men Yellow Red Blue 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, Buy 199200 Nike Air Max 90 Vt Men Red Shoes,Online h5imb a9dsgs August Deals Nike Air Max 2016 WomensCheap 156899 Nike Air Max Ltd Men White Gold Shoes,.

Men's Training Shoe Nike Zoom Train Complete 882119-400

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Buy 196329 Nike Air Max Shake Evolve Men Black White Shoes,Online gpeh3 ab89f5 August Deals Nike Air Max Thea WomensCheap 180719 Nike Air Max Tailwind 4 Men Black Red 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 199093 Nike Classic Cortez Men White Blue Red Shoes,Online mntzd ny48y7 August Deals Superstar Womens GoldDiscount 226953 Nike Dream Season Kobe Bryant Men White Yellow Shoes,."

Nike Air Max Zero Unisex Shoe 789695-002 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.Discount 191614 Nike Dunk High Men Red White Grey Shoes,Online khgmi trh89b August Deals Yeezy 350 Boost WomensCheap 213135 Nike Dunk High Men Yellow 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.

"Shopping 232876 Nike Dunk Low Men Shoes,Online nxi8m ng4z5d August Deals Nike Air Max 95 WomensAuthentic 215520 Nike Dunks Low Men Grey Citron White Shoes,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Shopping 200940 Nike Free 3.0 V2 Men Blue White Gray Shoes,Online r6pqi btpk9x August Deals Nike Air Max 1 WomensAuthentic 171010 Nike Free 5.0 V4 Men Dark Blue White Red 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.

NIKE INTERNATIONALIST Cedar/Cinnabar/Hyper Crimson/Dusty Cactus

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 189006 Nike Free Run 3 Men Grey White Black Shoes,Online sdqxs 3ifmeg August Deals NMD MensCheap 220140 Nike Free Run 3 Men Royal Blue White Shoes,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Discount 212330 Nike Lebron 12 Men Orange/Green Glow Black Shoes,Online vfpvv 3pv6ge August Deals Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Moire 1 MensBuy 194289 Nike Lebron 11 Men Red Black Grey 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 Zoom LJ 4 Unisex Jumping Spike (Men's Sizing) 415339-100 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, Comfortable 169552 Nike Lunarglide 2 Men Gray Orange Shoes,Online wm3kr ribdd5 August Deals Superstar MensDiscount 166430 Nike Lunarglide 2 Men Red Black White Shoes,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Cheap 227671 Nike Roshe Run Men Lime Black Shoes,Online xis5q 68czi6 Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens Flower ShoesBuy 196372 Nike Shox Nz 2.0 Men Black Shoes,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Buy 209144 Nike Shox R2 Men Black Red Shoes,Outlet 2uu9y 86dsrg Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens Grey ShoesShopping 167986 Nike Shox R4 Men White Gold 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.

Discount 195029 Nike Shox R4 Men Black White Shoes,Outlet 55t6w acxdt3 August Deals NMD MensComfortable 162760 Nike Zoom Hyperdunk Men Yellow Shoes,.

Women's Shoe Nike Air Max Sequent 719916-802 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."

Buy 221507 Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Xdr Men Yellow Green Shoes,Outlet 6cvec zzn2s9 August Deals Nike Free 50 WomensComfortable 189697 Nike Zoom Kobe VI Men Black Blue White 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.

Cheap 154070 Onitsuka Tiger By Asics Mexico 66 Men Red White Black Shoes,Outlet c2q66 g9x89i August Deals Ultra Boost WomensComfortable 175209 Puma Life Series Men Black Blue 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

Shopping 219165 Adidas ZX 700 Unisex White Light Blue Yellow Shoes,Outlet dpc5r giwght August Deals Nike Air Max Tavas WomensBuy 233964 Nike Roshe Run Unisex Gray Carbon Black Green Movement Shoes,.

Women's Shoe Nike Free Transform Flyknit 833410-600 Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Discount 233411 Air Jordan 1 Retro Women Black Pink White Shoes,Outlet gwup6 6qw4ew August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens PurpleDiscount 177154 New Balance Classics Wl1320 Women Green Yellow 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,Shopping 176603 New Balance WX00 Women Grey Purple Shoes,Outlet mh5ft 43d2bx August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens RedInexpensive 223076 Nike Air Jordan 4 IV Women Pink Blue 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, Cheap 230949 Nike Air Max 247 Women White Blue Shoes,Outlet q6xgb awcb6s August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Essential WomensDiscount 177560 Nike Dunk High Women Red Blue White Shoes,.

NIKE ZOOM SB STEFAN JANOSKI SE Cool Grey/Obsidian/White/Cool Gre 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 200555 Nike Dunks High Women Red Gold Shoes,Outlet vex97 yzeawb Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens Black ShoesBuy 172726 Nike Free Run 2 Women Gray Green 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. Discount 172652 Nike Lunarglide 2 Women Rose Grey Shoes,Outlet xi759 e7srnx August Deals Nike Air Max 1 WomensAdidas Bounce Titan 2013 Men Coupon_027,, 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 Porsche Design S3 Men Coupon_190,Sale 3rfcz 6c9zzq August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens BlackShopping 209857 Nike Lunarglide 3 Women Black Red Shoes,.

Family ties

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

Adidas D Rose 5 Boost Boys Grade School Collegiate Navy/White/Bold Orange Basketball Shoes V45992 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, Asics Running Shoes Men Coupon_383,Sale 93utm wzh5qh August Deals Nike Air Max 90 WomensChristian Louboutin Sale Women Coupon_546,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Christian Louboutin Sale Women Coupon_622,Sale ap23q sk7gcv August Deals Nike Air Max 90 MensJimmy Choo Pumps Women Coupon_806,, 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 Roshe One Boys Grade School Midnight Navy/White Running Shoes V65414

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. Jimmy Choo Sandals Women Coupon_890,Sale dv4b2 pvamu8 August Deals Nike Air Max Thea WomensNew Balance Men Coupon_1037,.  

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, New Balance 574 Men Coupon_1160,Sale gn8gq iebnwa August Deals NMD MensNew Balance 670 Men Coupon_1296,. 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," New Balance Women Coupon_1374,Sale nhy5t 8avgwz August Deals Nike Air Max 1 MensNew Balance 999 Women Coupon_1550,."

Nike Kevin Durant Men Coupon_1688,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Buy 170267 Nike Lunarelite 2 Women Gray Blue Shoes,Cheap 162837 Air Jordan 11 Bred Kid Black White Red ShoesMen's Basketball Shoe KD Trey 5 IV 844571-606,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Men's Firm-Ground Soccer Cleat Nike Mercurial Veloce II Leather FG 768808-001,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

MEN'S NIKE BASKETBALL SHOEKYRIE 1 705277-737,Comfortable 201787 Nike Dunk High Kid Super Mario ShoesMen's Nike Shoe Kobe Mentality 2 818952-400,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Men's Running Shoe Nike Air Zoom Vomero 10 717440-803,Cheap 222088 Adidas Crazy 8 Kobe Bryant Men White Yellow ShoesMen's Shoe Air Jordan 9 Retro Low 832822-401,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Men's Shoe Nike Air Max 2016 806771-008,Comfortable 162764 Adidas Originals Campus II Men Dark Brown ShoesMen's Shoe Nike Air Trainer 1 Mid 317554-800,
Men's Shoe Nike Free RN Distance LE (Chicago 2016) 849662-006,Inexpensive 222039 Adidas ZX 700 Men Black Yellow ShoesMen's Shoe Nike Roshe Flyknit 677243-011,
  • Online 92726 gtxbha August Deals Nike Air Max 1 Womens
  • Nike Running Men Black/Sequoia/Rough Green Model:86
  • Albertini / Smart Casual Shoes / Navy
  • adidas Originals Stan Smith Men Green
  • adidas Sequencials 9" Shorts - Running - Mid Grey 8AZ8821 - Clothing - Men's
  • Buying New Nike New Delta Force 3 4 Supreme Sneakers In Size 9 NIB Blue Pink 85LK-1698 for Men
  • Adidas Originals Country II Retro Men Casual Shoes in blue yellow logo F4e5320 Best Sale
  • Discount Authentic Kids Nike Air Max 90 Dark Red/White
  • Air Jordan Retro V.1 Chukka Men Lifestyle Shoes Gym Red/Black-Gorge Green-White WH92S
  • Nike Men Mercurial Finale Tf - Black/Anthracite/Bright Mango
  • Cheap Original Nike Kobe Venomenon 5 Joker
  • Nike Air Presto Mens Shoes Navy Green
  • Puma Cell Surin Deboss Men's Running Shoes Steel Gray-Black-Atomic Blue Q75u8864
  • Wholesale Adidas Neo Men Women adidas Shop adidas NEO trainers more at C Adidas NEO Low Hot Sale at Online
  • Nike Air Max Lunar 90 C3.0 25th Anniversary Womens Gray Blue White
  • Discount Gabor Casual Boots Sattel for Women Sale Online
  • Cheap Nike Kyrie 3 Navy Yellow Blue for Sale
  • YFJR860XCWV London Fog - Outlet Orange Floral Avery Linen Shopper
  • Under Armour Curry 4 Low FREE SHIPPING Pure White
  • Air Jordan 11 Men Are Space Jam Air Jordan 11S Coming Back Solecollector 11 Jordan Retro Shoe Air Jo
  • Cheap 240597 Air Jordan Men Black Green Shoes