Womens Sandals PATRIZIA Extravagant Fuchsia 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 44gz6 7c7shz August Deals Nike Blazer Low Mens,Womens Shoes Reebok Reebok Royal Glide White/Steel/Reebok Royal,Discount g23w9 qtgng5 August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens,. 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 ra8ga uz5qgv August Deals ZX 850 Womens,Womens Shoes Reebok Work Exline CT Indigo/Coral,Online 47uru bytrcg Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens 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, Online hayrv hnhzqi Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens Grey Shoes,Womens Boots Rocket Dog Sheela Chestnut Baxter,Online tg3im rwwgrk August Deals Nike Air Max 1 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. Outlet cqsqq utkik2 August Deals Nike Air Max 1 Mens,Womens Boots Rocket Dog Milford Chestnut Hush Fabric,Outlet rzadx 77s436 August Deals ZX Flux Mens,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Sale a8u49 k3srba August Deals Nike Air Max 1 Womens,Womens Shoes Rocket Dog Jiggy Grey Cotton Candy,Sale n798v 3azwxk August Deals Nike Air Presto Womens,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Nike Flyknit Lunar 3 Womens Volt/Bright Crimson/Bright Mango/Black Running Shoes V85942 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, Sale z8gqx 334pya August Deals Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Moire 1 Womens,Womens Boots Sam Edelman Louie Dark Brown Leather,UK gybw8 tatw9y August Deals ZX 850 Mens,, 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 160256 Air Jordan 6 Retro Kid White /Carmine Black Shoes,Womens Sandals Sam Edelman Galia Saddle,Buy 165124 Adidas Originals Campus II Men Brown Shoes,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Discount 218813 Air Jordan 11 Retro Men Black/Infrared White Shoes,Womens Sandals Sam Edelman Bonnie Oxide Kid Suede Leather,Inexpensive 179337 Air Jordan 3 Retro Men Black Blue Grey 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 238545 Asics Gelkayano 18 Men Grey Yellow Shoes,Womens Shoes Sam Edelman Allison Jute/Buff Nude,Inexpensive 211789 Lebron 11 Men Blue Black Pink Shoes,.

Men's Nike Dart 11 White/Dove Grey/White/Black UK#N5-9355

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Comfortable 231417 Nike Air Classic BW Si Men White Green Shoes,Womens Shoes Sam Edelman Arizona Greige Kid Suede Leather,Cheap 199023 Nike Air Flightposite 1 Men Metallic Grey Black 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 191131 Nike Air Griffey Max 1 Men White Black Anthracite Blue Shoes,Womens Shoes Saucony Spitfire Purple/Pink,Buy 179184 Nike Air Max Men Dark Grey Blue Shoes,."

Nike Kids Elastico Pro III TF Jr Soccer  Volt/White/Black UK#N5-9484 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.Cheap 180159 Nike Air Max 1 Men Grey Yellow Shoes,Womens Shoes Saucony Originals Shadow Original Navy/Pink,Buy 163277 Nike Air Max 90 Men White Black Grey 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.

"Discount 239560 Nike Air Max 90 Men White Blue Shoes,Womens Shoes Superga 2750 Pail COTW Silver,Inexpensive 190804 Nike Air Max Ltd Men Black Yellow Shoes,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Shopping 155703 Nike Air Max Tailwind 4 Men Grey White Red Shoes,Womens Boots Timberland Whittemore Mid Lace Boot Jet Black Woodlands,Comfortable 154492 Nike Dunk High Men Red Blue 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.

Hype Embroidered Backpack CP67

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

Shopping 169812 Nike Dunk High Men Red Royal Blue Khaki Shoes,Womens Boots UGG Sutter Black,Discount 212071 Nike Dunk Mid Pro SB Men Black 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 211600 Nike Free 3.0 V5 Men Gray White Shoes,Womens Boots UGG Shenendoah Pine Suede,Comfortable 217642 Nike Free Run 2 Men Charcoal 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.

Creative Recreation Junior Cesario Low XVI Trainer CP605 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 155095 Nike Lebron 10 Men Red Gold Black Shoes,Womens Boots UGG Kestrel Chestnut Suede,Cheap 169139 Nike Lunar Orbit Men Grey White Shoes,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Inexpensive 234500 Nike Lunarswift 2 Men Blue Black Shoes,Womens Boots UGG Classic Short Flora Perf Navy Water Resistant Suede,Shopping 174236 Nike SB Dunk High Men Shoes,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Comfortable 192213 Nike Shox R4 Men White Black Shoes,Womens Shoes UGG Catrin Crochet Black/Textile/Nubuck,Authentic 207618 Nike Shox R4 Men Black White 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 176099 Nike Shox Rivalry Men White Pink Shoes,Womens Slippers UGG Mellie Skyline Water Resistant Suede,Shopping 168803 Nike Zoom Kobe VI Men Black White Red Shoes,.

Toms Nursery Classic Slip On Espadrille CP799 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."

Cheap 164757 Puma Future Cat Men Brown Black Shoes,Womens Boots Vaneli Laban Black Suede/Mtch Zipper,Cheap 230512 New Balance Classics U420 Unisex Navy Red 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.

Comfortable 242486 Nike Roshe Run Unisex Red Cold Gray White Shoes,Womens Sandals Vaneli Kirima Natural Cork/Gold Nails,Shopping 161675 New Balance W1080V4 Women Silver Purple 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

Buy 153459 Nike Air Max Women Grey Solar Red Shoes,Womens Sandals Vaneli Bellew Black/White Pollock Print,Shopping 152217 Nike Blazer High Women White Black Shoes,.

EA7 Core Visibility Hooded Top CP1047 Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Buy 227464 Nike Free 3.0 V4 Women Red Gold Purple Shoes,Womens Shoes Vaneli Rona Nude Krink Patent,Inexpensive 231277 Nike Free Run 2 Women Sky Blue White Orange 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,Adidas Bounce Titan 2013 Men Coupon_059,Womens Shoes Vaneli Melore Black Quilted Nappa/Black Mag Patent/Match Elastic,Adidas Springblade 2013 Men Coupon_240,, 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, Asics Running Shoes Women Coupon_399,Womens Shoes Vaneli Garim Red Nappa/Red Patent,Christian Louboutin Sale Women Coupon_598,.

Brave Soul MJK Aberdeen Parka Jacket CP1257 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. Jimmy Choo heels Women Coupon_761,Womens Shoes Vaneli Frankie Natural Cork/White Patent,Jimmy Choo Wedges Women Coupon_927,.

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. New Balance 420 Men Coupon_1112,Nike Vapor 1.0 Dri-FIT Unhemmed,New Balance 574 Men Coupon_1270,, 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," New Balance 574 Women Coupon_1435,Hurley One And Only Boyshort,Nike Kevin Durant Men Coupon_1684,.

Family ties

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

Native Youth Curved Hem Varsity Jacket CP1452 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, LeBron 15 Basketball Shoe 897648-002,Nike Pro Hyperstrong 3/4,Men's Firm-Ground Soccer Cleat Nike Magista Opus Leather FG 768890-001,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Men's Nike Flex Run 2015 709022-003,Nike Air Flash Brushed Fleece Full-Zip,Men's Running Shoe (Jungle Pack) Nike LunarTempo 2 849814-600,, 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. 

Antony Morato Fleece Short CP2077

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. Men's Shoe Air Jordan 12 Retro Low 308317-003,ESS Bulky Jacket M,Men's Shoe Nike Air Max 2016 Print 818135-100,.  

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, Men's Shoe Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 92 844652-102,Men's Classic Team CLRDO Windbreaker,Men's Shoe Nike Metcon 2 Amplify 819902-315,. 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," Men's Training Shoe Nike Free Trainer 1.0 807436-005,Women's Rita Ora Planetary Power Track Jacket,NIKE AIR MAX 1 ULTRA MOIRE Dark Grey/Flat Silver/Neutral Grey/Bl,."

NIKE FREE SOCFLY Black/Pink Flash/Tour Yellow/White,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Nike Zoom Rival Waffle XC Unisex Track Shoe 749350-460,Various Sizes 2013 Nike Air Jordan 1 Mens Shoes White Blue Yellow 0exvtp4R,Women's Shoe Nike Air Zoom Strong 843975-800,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Adidas D Rose 5 Boys Toddler Black/White/Light Onix/Scarlet Basketball Shoes V35009,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Adidas D Rose Lakeshore Boys Grade School Light Scarlet/Black/White Basketball Shoes V61713,UK Sale Nike Zoom KD VI 6 Mens Shoes Yellow eA1mlpEY,Nike Air Max 90 Girls Grade School Fuschia Flash/Fuchsia Glow/Key Lime/Fuchsia Flash Running Shoes V,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Adidas D Rose Lakeshore Mid Boost Mens Granite/Flash Green Basketball Shoes V56176,Authentic 46gzp hu8tgv August Deals ZX Flux Womens,Adidas Ace 16.2 Primemesh Fg/Ag Mens Black/Shock Pink/Solar Green Soccer Shoes V26465,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Nike Air Max 90 Ultra Mens White/Infrared/Black/Cool Grey Running Shoes V91973,Authentic dg7cq syr3mh August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Pink,Nike Lunaracer+ 3 Mens Total Crimson/Bright Crimson/White/Black Running Shoes V80816,
Adidas Pure Boost 2 Womens Flash Orange/White/Graphic Running Shoes V53680,Authentic pwifs pme5df Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens White Shoes,Nike Air Max 1 Womens Black/Gum Medium Brown Running Shoes V19719,
  • Womens Slippers UGG Symona Serape Sunset Red Jacquard
  • Creative Womens Mens Slip On Sneakers Mesh Walking Sports Running Shoes
  • Paperplanes / SNRD-139 Low Top Casual Fashion Sneakers Shoes US Women Size / Navy
  • Munich A-Noia 3 Blue 4625T
  • Hot Basketball Shoes - Mens Jordan Eclipse Wolf Grey/Infrared 23/Black/Cool Grey
  • Nike Air Jordan 13 Mens Supper AAA White Black Red Shoes V83d9349
  • Nike Air Jordan 1 I Mens Shoes High Cheap Online Buy Silaver
  • Nike Cj3 Flyweave Trainer Men Training Shoes Midnight Navy Radiant Emerald White White
  • Office Destiny Trim Loafers B073QHFNVT
  • 2017 Nike Shoes Uk Sale Men's Nike Zoom Sb Blazer Premium Se Blue Shoes Canada XXP9202220
  • New Balance U420SNOG - Navy/Green Great Deals 2017
  • Adidas Stan Smith Trainers White/Core Black T10m8344
  • Calvin Klein Jeans Women's Shoes SNOW - Winter boots - black
  • Mens Online Shoes Outlet Zoom Lebron 9.5 2013 New Blue White Red
  • Latest Reebok Classic Casual Classic Sneakers Chalk/Sandstone for Women On Sale
  • Alan Pinkus Olivia - IVORY SILK - AL159SH68KQL - Women's Heels
  • Women Nike Air Jordan 13 Retro Black/Pink/Blue
  • Nike Womens Air Max Thea Hot Lava Sunset Glow
  • Men's Nunn Bush Ryan Wing Tip Oxford Chestnut Oxfords (Black) -