Womens Boots Hunter Huntress Gloss 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

Womens Shoes Vaneli Candee Black Trama Print,Womens Shoes Rocket Dog Campo Blue Dream Catcher/Frida FloralUnisex Shoes Vans SK8-Hi Slim (Pop) High-Rise/Prism Pink,. 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, Nike Core Dri-FIT Open Hem,Womens Shoes Rocket Dog Tictoc Black Space RockWomen's Toronto Raptors Player Tee - DeRozan,.

"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, Training Women’s PWRSHAPE Forever Bra,Womens Shoes Rocket Dog Sammie Black Del MarNike Gym Vintage Tee,, 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. Nike Knit,Womens Shoes Rocket Dog Penny Black DannaNike TR Dry Stripe,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Italia Stadium Jacket,Womens Boots Sam Edelman Alyssa Black LeatherNike Leg-A-See Cropped Printed,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Authentic 196922 Nike Shox R4 Men Black Shoes 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's Training Full-Zip Hoodie,Womens Boots Sam Edelman Alyssa Black SuedeWomen's Soccer Flowers Graphic Tee,, 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.

Golf Key Stripe Polo,Womens Boots Sam Edelman Kourtney Steel GreyNike Epic Lux,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Nike Pro Hypercool LeBron Fitted,Womens Boots Sam Edelman Tinsley SangriaRunning NightCat Shorts,.

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, Kids Ace Logo Tee,Womens Boots Sam Edelman Madge BlackNike Academy Longer Knit 2,.

Buy 223308 Nike Shox Rivalry Men White Shoes

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Women’s Swagger Sweater,Womens Boots Sam Edelman Caldwell Florence/Black Boucle/Atanado LeatherNike Sneaker Love,. "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. "NikeCourt Crew,Womens Sandals Sam Edelman Miller Hawaiin Blue/Indigo BlueWomen's Basic Long Tights,."

Inexpensive 245771 Nike Shox R4 Men White Grey Shoes 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.Youth Climacool Aeroknit Tee,Womens Sandals Sam Edelman Angela Au NaturalUK Sale Nike Kobe 10 2017/18 Mentality All Black Mens Shoes LPHljLT3,. 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.

"Various Sizes Nike Dunk SB 2012 High Cut Womens Shoes Skinny Light Bone white Mbx6gXRq,Womens Sandals Sam Edelman Jolan Turquoise/BlackWholesale Trade Nike Air Max Zero QS 87 Retro Womens Running Shoes Jade Pink Purple White xCdGyUjH,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Wholesale UK Nike Air Max LeBron XI For Men in 105024 L9o4tsZw,Womens Sandals Sam Edelman Yadira Black Atanado LeatherAuthentic b6d3v u2uveu August Deals ZX 850 Mens,," 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 176334 Nike Zoom Kobe VIII Basketball Men Red Black White Shoes

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 krx5m 5np6rm August Deals Nike Air Max 2015 Mens,Womens Sandals Sam Edelman Eleanor Jute Glitz FabricAuthentic qszzx pda2a4 August Deals Nike Air Max 1 Womens,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Authentic zuc5v vys892 August Deals ZX 750 Womens,Womens Sandals Sam Edelman Gene Black Vaquero Saddle LeatherBuy c38kn a6k6d6 August Deals ZX Flux Mens,, 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.

Shopping 213116 Puma Evospeed Men White Shoes 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, Buy gqygf xe9h2g August Deals Nike Air Presto Womens,Womens Shoes Sam Edelman Lynn SwampBuy tf2it ncpdy3 August Deals Nike Free 50 Mens,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Cheap 59exn 4y8sdm August Deals Nike Air Max 2015 Womens,Womens Shoes Sam Edelman Reece Sepia BlackCheap ezzac fp365s August Deals ZX Flux Womens,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Cheap nee59 2r334u August Deals Nike Air Max Zero Womens,Womens Shoes Sam Edelman Dora Winter SkyCheap xdzuy mh7dbk August Deals Superstar Mens Blue,," 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 8xy6p 4pyi4x August Deals Nike Air Max 2016 Mens,Womens Shoes Sam Edelman Dea Black PatentDiscount m93bx 33ycig August Deals Superstar Mens Black,.

Comfortable 199833 Nike Shox R4 Men Black White 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."

Discount u96vr a3figg August Deals Nike Blazer Low Womens,Womens Shoes Sam Edelman Sara Black BoucleOnline 68vyh haqk6d August Deals Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Moire 1 Mens,.

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.

Online g8c8s n3bc68 August Deals ZX Flux Womens,Womens Shoes Sam Edelman Margot Pewter/Black Rasputin Leather/Sport NylonOnline ry8q3 mq6a6g Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens Flower 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

Outlet 5i46h uep78t August Deals ZX 850 Mens,Womens Shoes Sam Edelman Laura NaturalOutlet gmsn6 pygqx3 August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Black,.

Buy 192158 Air Jordan 11 Retro Women White /Black Shoes Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Outlet tveat wmh7sg August Deals Nike Air Max 95 Womens,Womens Shoes Saucony Showdown White/Purple/CitronSale 83mb8 3hyffc August Deals Superstar Womens,. 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,Sale gw94k evyz5x August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Essential Womens,Womens Shoes Saucony Kinvara 6 Blue/CitronSale qikx3 vt5zx8 August Deals Nike Roshe Run Mens,, 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, UK 8gsiz saiahg Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens Flower Shoes,Womens Shoes Saucony Kinvara 6 Black/WhiteUK mfmy9 6dhut7 August Deals Nike Air Max 1 Mens,.

Discount 177154 New Balance Classics Wl1320 Women Green Yellow Shoes 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 184884 New Balance Kids 501 Kid Black Red Shoes,Womens Shoes Saucony Originals Jazz Low Pro Light Green/PinkBuy 239872 Nike Zoom Kobe VI Kid 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. Authentic 170983 Air Jordan 1 Retro Men Black Blue Shoes,Womens Shoes Saucony Originals Shadow Original - Sushi Pack Green/TealBuy 168803 Air Jordan 6 Men White Blue Black Shoes,, 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," Comfortable 180939 Air Jordan Tc Men Obsidian White Grey Shoes,Womens Shoes Superga 2311 Linu SandComfortable 195409 Lebron 11 Men Gold Green Blue Black Shoes,.

Family ties

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

Authentic 244413 New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Women White Coral Shoes 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, Shopping 152211 New Balance Classics Ml574 Men Windbreaker Blue Shoes,Womens Shoes Supra Vaider Black/Gunmetal/WhiteBuy 148502 Nike Air Classic BW Si Men White Blue Shoes,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Discount 178108 Nike Air Force 1 Men White Total Orange Shoes,Womens Shoes Supra Skytop Brown/Brogue/BoneBuy 240780 Nike Air Force 1 Men Charles Barkley Pine Green Shoes,, 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. 

Buy 219669 Nike Air Max 1 Women Grey Purple White Shoes

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. Cheap 237710 Nike Air Max Men Grey Pink Shoes,Womens Boots Timberland Amston Hiker Dark Brown Nubuck with Black Waxed CanvasDiscount 149318 Nike Air Max Men Black White Shoes,.  

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, Cheap 196326 Nike Air Max 180 Men White Black Shoes,Womens Shoes Timberland Willow Trail Granite GreyShopping 185232 Nike Air Max 90 Men Black Yellow Shoes,. 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," Comfortable 174732 Nike Air Max 90 Men White Black Green Shoes,Womens Boots UGG Cambridge ChestnutShopping 230965 Nike Air Max Ltd Men Black White Brown Shoes,."

Authentic 147230 Nike Air Max Tailwind+ Men Black Red Shoes,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Authentic 223574 Nike Classic Cortez Nylon Men Yellow Gray Shoes,Womens Slippers UGG Dreams Limeade Hearts SuedeShopping 160015 Nike Dunk High Men Shoes,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Discount 225299 Nike Dunk Low Men Shoes,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Discount 195182 Nike Dunks High Men Blue White Shoes,Womens Boots Under Armour UA Fat Tire GTX Graphite/Aluminum/Emerald SariInexpensive 176664 Nike Free 4.0 V2 Men Grey Green Shoes,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Cheap 149456 Nike Free Run 3 Men Red White Shoes,Womens Boots Vaneli Jamilla Black Nival Suede/Mtch ElasticComfortable 147634 Nike Lebron 11 Men Black Lava Silver Ice Galaxy Blue Shoes,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Buy 238080 Nike Lunareclipse Shield Men Black Pink Shoes,Womens Boots Vaneli Jill Tmoro Nival Suede/Brown NevadaDiscount 209367 Nike Roshe Run Men Blue White Shoes,
Shopping 234967 Nike Shox Nz Men Silver White Shoes,Womens Sandals Vaneli Wanita Black Nappa/Black Smack PatentBuy 239374 Nike Shox R2 Men Black Shoes,
  • Womens Shoes Rocket Dog Spins Black Atlas
  • Alias Mae Snow Women HP93356
  • Adidas ZX 700 Women Black Rose
  • adidas Originals EQT Support ADV Black 8425Z
  • Eye Catching Casual Shoes - Mens Nike Air Max 95 No Sew Wolf Grey/White/Cool Grey/University Red
  • Men's Puma Suede "Crafted Pack" Sneakers Red
  • Womes Adidas Superstar 80s Metal Toe Black G80i9416
  • Buy Cheap Nike Kobe 9 2014 Low Black Green Mens Shoes
  • Adidas UK Shop - Adidas Red Bulls Home Replica Jersey (White) for Men
  • CHH Imports 15 Inch Backgammon Set In Brown Vinyl Map Design Case by CHH B01MFGRXOQ
  • 2017 Nike Blazer Men's Nike Air Max 1 Essential Pure Platinum/Midnight Navy/Lyon Blue/Pure Platinum Shoes Canada IGW5002969
  • Asics Gel-Lyte III "Santa Christmas" - Fiery Red/ Soft Grey Best
  • Series - Denver Broncos Brian Dawkins #20 Authentic Jersey Bluebuy nfl jerseysnfl jerseys for sale near meUK Cheap Sale
  • Cheap Nike LunarGlide 6 Womens Purple Pink Black White
  • New Balance D
  • Converse All Star Monochrome Hi F Purple
  • Attractive River Island Women White Wrap Blouse Appealing
  • Women's NikeLab Payaa QS White
  • Womens Casual Shoes Nike Roshe Run Print Anthracite Black White
  • Womens Sandals Vaneli Taletha Brown Karnak