Womens Boots Rocket Dog Hickory Black Roast 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

Various Sizes Nike Air Foamposite 2013 Mens Shoes White Black ZeN3QhKW,Womens Shoes Vaneli Armon Black Nappa/Black Cheppa Print/Black ElasticWholesale Trade Converse All Star Chuck Taylor Low-Top Big Star White Canvas Shoes gIhg5UC3,. 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, Wholesale UK 2012 Nike Free Run+ 3.0 Fur Womens Shoes Purple White ZJycXmnj,Womens Shoes Vaneli Sabrena Taupe Dixan Calf/Match Ferns PatentAuthentic 24yvy fmpi98 Cheap Adidas Superstar Womens Pink 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 5s9ws 9s7s9y August Deals Nike Air Presto Mens,Womens Shoes Vaneli Ashlen Navy E-Suede/Matching Miniliz Print/Matching ElasticAuthentic a39c7 3ak39c August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Essential Mens,, 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 ghyhf nmisug August Deals Nike Roshe Run Womens,Womens Shoes Vaneli Ashlen Black E-Suede/Black Miniliz Print/Matching ElasticAuthentic qks5v f8mtes August Deals Nike Air Max 1 Womens,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Authentic uzrk2 3x5i7k August Deals ZX Flux Mens,Womens Shoes Vaneli Danee Black Nappa/Black PatentAuthentic zzdsn gqygzm August Deals Nike Air Huarache Mens,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Shopping 161745 Nike Free Run 2 Women Cerise White Anthracite 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, Buy amxm9 3s5t5u August Deals ZX 10000 Womens,Womens Shoes Vaneli Skerry Black Suede/Black PatentBuy fq7gi eaz8yd August Deals Nike Air Max Thea 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.

Buy qcmkz bty42m August Deals Nike Air Presto Mens,Womens Shoes Vaneli Baylen Black Silver Assy Fabric/Black SatinBuy winpw qemqi5 August Deals ZX 750 Womens,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Buy zkvvr mxwmc4 August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens,Womens Shoes Vaneli Drusilla Taupe E-PrintCheap 9grmw biki47 Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens 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, Cheap gb8vw v6x7ix August Deals Nike Free 50 Mens,Womens Shoes Vaneli Alisha Red NubiaCheap nvxeh d32av4 August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Grey,.

Authentic 198372 Nike Roshe Run Women Grey Green Electric Yellow Shoes

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Cheap xqk8n dyfgbr August Deals Superstar Womens Gold,Womens Shoes Vaneli Marret Black Suede/Black Super Croc PrintDiscount 6vqgh 9isqrn August Deals Nike Air Max 90 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. "Discount a85hk su5p6f August Deals ZX 850 Womens,Womens Shoes Vaneli Udex Tmoro Naif PrintDiscount nbbpi c23ugg August Deals Nike Air Max Zero Mens,."

Adidas Clima Cool 5th Men Coupon_108 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 utg7f z97hc8 August Deals Nike Air Max 1 Mens,Womens Shoes Vaneli Obelia Red NappaOnline b7age prgckn August Deals ZX 850 Womens,. 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.

"Online g766u wkm8w9 August Deals Nike Roshe Run Womens,Womens Shoes Vaneli Rodina Bark Dream CalfOnline r4n2a drmng8 August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Grey,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Online xis5q 68czi6 Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens Flower Shoes,Unisex Shoes Vans SK8-Hi MTE (MTE) Black/Woven ChevronOutlet bxf87 mpmrer August Deals Nike Blazer Low 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.

Adidas Springblade 2013 Men Coupon_238

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

Outlet kqh5y 6agxcg August Deals ZX 850 Womens,Unisex Shoes Vans Slip-On 59 (Denim C&L) BlackOutlet shg3h e92vav August Deals Nike Air Max Zero Womens,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Sale 83mb8 3hyffc August Deals Superstar Womens,Unisex Shoes Vans SK8-Hi Reissue (Inca) Moon Rock/DachshundSale e5s5p qgpb9p August Deals Nike Free 50 Womens,, 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.

Asics Running Shoes Women Coupon_400 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, Sale 2e4fv hrura3 August Deals ZX 850 Mens,Men's D Rose 773 WindbreakerSale z8gqx 334pya August Deals Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Moire 1 Womens,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

UK aygr5 ana7bw Cheap Adidas Superstar Womens Black Shoes,Men's NBA All-Star East Player Tee - LowryUK r4mzv zvkk2g August Deals Nike Air Huarache Mens,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Buy 216122 New Balance Kids Kj554 Kid Black Yellow Shoes,Air Jordan Lite Fleece Full-ZipComfortable 154984 Adidas Crazy 8 Kobe Retro Men White Grey Green 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 209086 Adidas Springblade Razor Men Yellow Black Shoes,Nike League PracticeCheap 244312 Air Jordan 28 Men White Black Red Shoes,.

Christian Louboutin Sale Women Coupon_551 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 151642 Air Jordan VI Retro Men White Midnight Navy Shoes,Hurley FloralDiscount 215437 Asics Gelnoosa Tri 9 Men Blue Green Orange 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 183028 Lebron 11 Men Grey Yellow Navy Blue Shoes,Hurley Phantom LarkShopping 231182 New Balance Classics Ml574 Men Grey Yellow 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

Comfortable 182688 New Balance M890V4 Men Red Silver Shoes,Evolution TopAuthentic 224005 Nike Air Flightposite 1 Men Pink Metallic Silver White Black Shoes,.

Jimmy Choo Boots Women Coupon_692 Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Authentic 221804 Nike Air Force 1 Men Shoes,Nike Pro Hypercool 3.0Shopping 205258 Nike Air Max Men Black Grey 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 167662 Nike Air Max Men Black Red Red Shoes,Nike Course Enemies Selvedge ChinoDiscount 231650 Nike Air Max 1 Men Black Green White 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, Discount 200108 Nike Air Max 180 Men Black Yellow Shoes,Nike Momentum CamoAuthentic 156688 Nike Air Max 90 Men White Blue Black Shoes,.

Jimmy Choo Pumps Women Coupon_832 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. Cheap 210918 Nike Air Max 90 Men White Black Red Shoes,Nike Dri-FIT Half-ZipCheap 156899 Nike Air Max Ltd Men White Gold 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. Cheap 198457 Nike Air Max Tailwind Men White Black Shoes,Nike Ace Melt Away RacerbackAuthentic 160596 Nike Blazer High Men Red Gray White 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," Cheap 217810 Nike Classic Cortez Sapphire Men Blue Shoes,Girls STYLE Full Zip HoodieAuthentic 214214 Nike Dunk High Men Red Bull Shoes,.

Family ties

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

New Balance Men Coupon_1013 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 229005 Nike Dunk Low Men Marvel Shoes,Nike Aeroloft TechShopping 148040 Nike Free 3.0 V4 Men Black White Blue Shoes,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Cheap 198103 Nike Free 5.0 Men Green Blue Black Shoes,Trinomic Savannah JacketAuthentic 160929 Nike Free Trainer Men Blue White 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. 

New Balance 574 Men Coupon_1152

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. Comfortable 185780 Nike Lebron 8 Men Black White Shoes,Ferrari Women’s Track JacketComfortable 225326 Nike Lunar Eclipse Shield Men Grey Purple 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, Buy 233527 Nike Lunarglide 3 Men White Blue Shoes,Men's Chilcott ShortsAuthentic 180545 Nike SB Dunk High Men Matt Boom 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," Shopping 181196 Nike Shox Nz 2.0 Men White Pink Shoes,Men's Trefoil Shoe Box HoodieDiscount 231249 Nike Shox R2 Men White Red Shoes,."

Discount 191684 Nike Shox R4 Men White Grey Shoes,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Discount 213003 Nike Shox Rivalry Men White Black Shoes,Nike Tech Knit ShortsShopping 183676 Nike Shox Rivalry Men White Blue Shoes,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Buy 185578 Nike Zoom Kobe VIII Basketball Men Grey Royal Purple Shoes,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Comfortable 209759 Puma Ferrari Firstlap Sf Men Black Red Shoes,Nike MM Fly RollComfortable 239808 Nike Zoom Kd III Men Black White Blue Orange Shoes,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Buy 212960 Adidas Originals Superstar 2.0 Women Blue Shoes,Youth AC Milan Home Replica Player ShortsComfortable 190547 Asics Gelhyper33 Women Green Pink Shoes,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Shopping 176603 New Balance WX00 Women Grey Purple Shoes,Nike Squad WovenComfortable 167552 Nike Air Force 1 Women Pink White Shoes,
Authentic 178826 Nike Air Max Tailwind Women Black Pink Shoes,Archive SweaterAuthentic 164531 Nike Dunk High Women Black Shoes,
  • Womens Shoes Vaneli Sidony Fango Suede/Tmoro Loto Patent
  • Nike Womens Air Max 90 PRM Light Blue Lacquer
  • Stella McCartney Adidas pretty Pure Boost X Floral Hot Lava and Midnight Navy Pure Boost X Ladies
  • Vans Authentic Multi 5336A
  • Lovely Basketball Shoes - Mens Nike Soldier VIII James LeBron
  • Reebok Mens Royal Complete Low Shoes Beach Stone/White/Brown Malt G57290
  • Nike Air Max 90 Mens Black White L42h7941
  • Nike Air Max 90 Mens Shoes HYP KPU TPU 2014 New Black White
  • ASICS Men Gel-Kayano Evo Sale Red
  • Swarovski Glenda SK5179 C54 B01GAU9LWQ
  • 2017 Nike Usa Online Men's Jordan Super.Fly 4 Red Wine Shoes Canada ZDB460527
  • Nike Air Max Lunar1 WR - Black/Black-Dark Grey New Arrival
  • Adidas Tubular Radial Trainers Grey R75c1051
  • Women's Top - Nike Elastika Elevate - Light Crimson/Heather/Black/Black
  • Package New Balance 996 Women 574 996 New Balance New Balance MRL996 REVlite Facebook New Balance M996CPS Connoisseur Guitar Mint New Balance 996 'Denim Blue'
  • Keep warm Kyrie Irving 2 Women 2018 Mens Nike Kyrie Irving 2 Basketball Shoes Sneaker For
  • Air Jordan VII (7) Retro Cheap Jordan Women/Men's Shoes For Sale Online Num:AhJ574
  • Nike Air Max 90 Silver Mint Green Obsidian Grey Chalk Black White Womens Leather Trainers
  • Nike Womens Roshe One BR Artisan Teal Volt White
  • Men's Salomon Speedcross 3 Black/Black/Silver Metallic-X Sneaker
  • Nike Rally Boyfriend Crew