Womens Boots UGG Wilowe Chestnut Leather 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

UK cvmt7 bzn4kk August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens,Womens Slippers UGG Mellie Furious Fuchsia Water Resistant Suede,UK suxth qt66vk August Deals Nike Air Max 1 Mens,. 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, Comfortable 176126 New Balance Kids Kl574 Kid Green Shoes,Womens Boots Vaneli Moony Black Suede,Shopping 195146 Adidas Originals Lifestyle Men Blue White 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, Cheap 214694 Air Jordan 14 Retro Men Black Blue Shoes,Womens Sandals Vaneli Eglon Black Smack Patent/Acciao Speed/Gunmetal Trim,Comfortable 188110 Air Jordan 7 Retro Men Grey/Turquoise Blue Grey Total 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. Buy 238545 Asics Gelkayano 18 Men Grey Yellow Shoes,Womens Sandals Vaneli Kelsa Black E-Print,Cheap 220596 New Balance Classics Ml402 Men Maroon Shoes,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Shopping 213324 Nike Air Classic BW Si Men White Black Shoes,Womens Shoes Vaneli Skinny Black Mag Patent,Comfortable 194834 Nike Air Flightposite 1 Men Grey Black Red Shoes,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Only & Sons Dips 2624 Straight Distressed Jean CP905 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, Inexpensive 183951 Nike Air Force 1 Men Shoes,Womens Shoes Vaneli Chineka Taupe E-Print/Mtch Elastic,Inexpensive 206992 Nike Air Griffey Max II Men Grey Orange 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 182930 Nike Air Max Men Black Shoes,Womens Shoes Vaneli Sheary Black Pizzy Print,Cheap 169371 Nike Air Max 1 Hyperfuse Men Black Pink Blue Shoes,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Cheap 245930 Nike Air Max 90 Men Black White Shoes,Womens Shoes Vaneli Pagoda Amaranto Suede,Inexpensive 218183 Nike Air Max 90 Men White 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, Authentic 165133 Nike Air Max Ltd II Men White Shoes,Womens Shoes Vaneli Attie White E-Print/Black E-Print/Red E-Print,Inexpensive 227115 Nike Air Max Tailwind 4 Men Red Yellow Shoes,.

Majestic Raiders Walker Hooded Top CP1101

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Discount 170173 Nike Classic Cortez Men Navy Blue Red Shoes,Womens Shoes Vaneli Obelia Navy Nappa,Cheap 224149 Nike Dunk High Men 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. "Buy 216058 Nike Dunk Low Men Beast Shoes,Nike Vapor 1.0 Dri-FIT Unhemmed,Shopping 212545 Nike Free 3.0 V2 Men Grey Black Shoes,."

Condemned Nation Merco PU Biker Jacket CP1301 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.Comfortable 208823 Nike Free Run Men Black Orange Shoes,Jordan Flight Diamond,Shopping 236738 Nike Hyperdunk Kobe Bryant Olympic Men Black White Blue 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 153260 Nike Lunar Eclipse Men Gray Black Blue Shoes,Nike Cover-Ups Hydro Current,Authentic 160748 Nike Lunar Orbit Cool Men Grey Shoes,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Shopping 177707 Nike Shox Conundrum Men White Blue Shoes,Nike Fly Framing Slope,Shopping 219223 Nike Shox O Leven Men Black Grey 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 Windrunner Jacket CP1482

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

Discount 233873 Nike Shox R4 Men Black Red Shoes,Nike Rally Funnel Neck Pullover,Comfortable 159033 Nike Shox R4 Men White Red Shoes,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Buy 200959 Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Xdr Men White Grey Black Shoes,Running Night Cat Illuminate Jacket,Inexpensive 239236 Nike Zoom Kobe VIII Basketball Men Black Red 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.

Franklin & Marshall Mitch Wide Checked Short CP2136 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, Discount 193323 Puma Future Cat Super Lt Men White Black Shoes,Men's Box Logo Tee,Comfortable 239808 Nike Zoom Kd III Men Black White Blue Orange Shoes,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Inexpensive 179199 Adidas Springblade Razor Women White Metallic Silver Grey Shoes,Women's Bananas Boyfriend Trefoil Tee,Inexpensive 226996 New Balance Classics Wl574 Women Pink Shoes,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Cheap 214615 Nike Air Force 1 Women White Gold Rainbow Shoes,Nike F.C. Libero Graphic French Terry,Buy 154107 Nike Air Max 247 Women Black Grey Purple 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.

Shopping 181728 Nike Dunk High Women Blue Black Pink White Shoes,Women's Supernova Long Sleeve Tee,Comfortable 237674 Nike Free Flyknit 4.0 Women White Black Grey Shoes,.

Ellesse Favalli Taped Track Top CP3551 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."

Comfortable 203983 Nike Lunarglide 3 Women Black Blue Shoes,Nike City Short-Sleeve,Adidas Clima Cool 5th Men Coupon_108,.

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.

Adidas Springblade 2013 Men Coupon_271,Leisure Shorts,Christian Louboutin Sale Women Coupon_457,.

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

Christian Louboutin Sale Women Coupon_591,Men's FC Bayern Anthem Jacket,Jimmy Choo Pumps Women Coupon_794,.

Sik Silk Slide Sandal CP3866 Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Jimmy Choo Wedges Women Coupon_941,Nike Pro Hypercool,New Balance 1600 Men Coupon_1092,. 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,New Balance 670 Men Coupon_1295,Hurley Modern Rebel One-Piece,New Balance 574 Women Coupon_1463,, 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, New Balance 999 Women Coupon_1552,Men's Uncontrol Climachill Polo,Nike Kobe Bryant Men Coupon_1791,.

adidas Originals Copa Skate Woven Trainer CP4078 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 Basketball Shoe LeBron XIII Low 831925-416,Men's Essentials Track Suit,Men's Nike Air Force 1 Low Univ Red/Univ Red/White/Gum Light Bro,.

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. Men's Nike Shoe CJ3 Flyweave Trainer (Lions)725231-600,Women's Workout 3/4 Tights,Men's Running Shoe Nike Free RN Distance 827115-800,, 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," Men's Shoe Jordan Reveal 834064-033,Various Sizes 2012 Nike Free Run 3.0 V3 Men Shoes Blue Green NdTkpiRf,Men's Shoe Nike Air Max Effort TR 705353-001,.

Family ties

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

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Ox Leather Trainer CP4290 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, Men's Shoe Nike Flyknit Lunar 3 698181-408,Various Sizes Nike Free Powerlines II Mens Shoes Black Green p6XeN1WW,Men's Shoe Nike Roshe Two SE 859543-600,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Men's Training Shoe Nike Metcon 2 819899-001,Wholesale UK Fitflop Rock Chic Sandal Red Online loYdC41w,NIKE AIR MAX THEA Clearwater/Light Blue Lacquer,, 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. 

Kenzo Running Calf Eyes Print Trainer CP4502

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. NIKE INTERNATIONALIST Deep Burgundy/Team Red/Light Magenta/Hyper,Authentic 4de7g hcwcci August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Pink,Women's Shoe Nike Air Max 2016 806772-503,.  

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, Women's Shoe Nike Air Zoom Strong 843975-004,Authentic bg7ty 3q62gg August Deals Nike Roshe Run Mens,Nike Air Max 90 Boys Toddler Deep Royal Blue/White/Light Crimson/Obsidian Running Shoes V52335,. 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 D Rose 5 Boost Boys Grade School Collegiate Navy/White/Bold Orange Basketball Shoes V45992,Authentic pgrw5 6e4arw August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Blue,Nike Free 5.0 Girls Grade School Hyper Cobalt/Deep Royal Blue/White/Hyper Pink Running Shoes V58117,."

Adidas D Rose 773 4 Mens White/Scarlet/Black Basketball Shoes V93915,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Adidas Vigor Tr6 Mens Orange/Black/Clear Onix Running Shoes V67939,Discount c3dir rb7rq9 August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens White,Nike Air Max Tailwind 8 Mens Sail/White/Wolf Grey/Black Running Shoes V73284,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit 2015 Mens Pure Platinum/White/Cool Grey/Black Running Shoes V70410,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Adidas Adizero Boston 5 Tsf Womens Mineral Red/Shock Pink/Bold Onix Running Shoes V65561,Discount mnasr 78v6e9 August Deals Nike Free 50 Womens,Adidas Predator Instinct Fg Womens Bold Red/White Soccer Shoes V40738,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Nike Air Zoom Odyssey Womens White/Dark Grey/Pure Platinum/Black Running Shoes V91002,Discount xzbw5 dmb4wt August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Essential Womens,Nike Shox Nz Womens Black/Dark Grey Running Shoes V16887,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Men's Nike Hyperdunk 2015 PRM White/Black/Bright Crimson UK#N5-9133,Online dz9sr 5tss2i August Deals Nike Air Max 95 Mens,Women's Nike Genicco Print Black/Wolf Grey/White UK#N5-9566,
adidas Originals Infant ZX Flux Trainer CP473,Online nensy cek5ee August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Pink,Nike Junior Huarache GS Trainer CP652,
  • Nike City Short-Sleeve
  • Bling Women's Nike Free Run 5.0 TR Fit 4 Print Black White
  • ladies shoes minnetonka gipsy sandalred baja fabric
  • Authentic & Low Price Reebok Country Ride 2.0 Lp White Item:201043
  • Online Cheap Basketball Shoes - Mens Converse First Star White
  • Adidas Originals Gazelle OG Perforated Trainer
  • Vans Authentic Lite PlayBoys Superme Low Unisex Shoe P55z3541
  • Nike James Lebron IX (9) For Men in 66124
  • Patagonia Regular Fit Corduroy Pant Men's 64884
  • Levis mens Leather Trainers size UK 7.5 EUR 41 Shoes Brown
  • BOSS Green Men's Bags TRAMA - Sports bag - medium grey
  • Nike Wmns Air Revolution Sky Hi FW "Tokyo" Quickstrike - Brave Blue/ White- Hyper Turquoise Best
  • New Balance 501 State Fair G37m2458
  • Womens Nike Free TR Connect 2 Black/Bright Crimson/Dark Grey/White Cross Training Shoe 75801
  • Nina Armando Monaco - Beige - NI921SH49XRQ - Women's Sandals
  • Grosby Dalia Womens Comfortable Slippers
  • Adidas Originals Extraball W - Ftwr White Berry & Mgh Solid Grey - AD660SH15PAI - Women's Sneakers
  • Nike Womens Air Force 1 Low Premium White Ice
  • UK Outlet Basketball Shoe Jordan Melo M12 for Men
  • Men's Vans SK8-Hi Slim Windor Wine Sneakers ((Bananas) Ballerina