Womens Shoes COACH Kelson Outline Khaki/Chestnut Sig/Suede 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 Superga 2750 Tartan W Off White Multi,Womens Shoes New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro Grey/PinkWomens Shoes Superga 2314 Boucle Pink Multi,. 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, Womens Boots Timberland Averly Lace Chukka Wheat Nubuck,Womens Shoes New Balance WRC5000v2 Pink ZingWomens Shoes Timberland Willow Trail Granite Grey,.

"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, Womens Boots UGG Pierce Grey,Womens Shoes New Balance XC900v2 Spikes Pigment/Pink ZingWomens Boots UGG Adyson Black Leather,, 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. Womens Boots UGG Adirondack Boot II Black Leather,Womens Shoes New Balance Rushv1 TealWomens Boots UGG Cassidee Tall Black Leather/Knit,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Womens Sandals UGG Gwyn Sand Leather,Womens Shoes New Balance WX88v1 Black/PinkWomens Shoes UGG Natalee Chocolate,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Inexpensive 243364 Nike Dunk High Men 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, Womens Slippers UGG Scuffette II Metallic Conifer Black Suede,Womens Shoes New Balance WX811 Black/PinkWomens Shoes Under Armour UA SF Flash FG Alpine/Constellation Purple,, 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.

Womens Sandals Vaneli Miriam Ecru Ecru Mag Patent,Womens Shoes New Balance W645 Black/Pink GloWomens Sandals Vaneli Taletha Brown Karnak,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Womens Sandals Vaneli Nelda Roccia Vero Print,Womens Shoes New Balance Classics WL574 Core Plus - Pink/GreenWomens Shoes Vaneli Winda Black E-Nappa/White Ferns Patent,.

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, Womens Shoes Vaneli Luella Black Mag Patent/Gunmetal Buckle,Womens Shoes New Balance Classics 574 - Street Beat Grey/YellowWomens Shoes Vaneli Armida Red Trama Print,.

Inexpensive 234762 Nike Dunks High Men Shoes

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Womens Shoes Vaneli Amalee Black Smack Patent,Womens Shoes New Balance Classics WL574 BlushUnisex Shoes Vans SK8-Hi MTE (MTE) Khaki/Woven Chevron,. "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. "Men's Golden State Warriors Ultimate Long Sleeve Hoodie,Womens Shoes New Balance Classics WL501 Grey/Blue SuedeJordan Flight Fleece Outdoor Full-Zip,."

Buy 229794 Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit Men Black Dark Grey White 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.Nike Tournament,Womens Shoes New Balance Classics 620 - Core Collection GreyNike Transition Block,. 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.

"Evolution Women’s Hoodie,Womens Shoes Nike Unify Strike Metal Black/White/Neon YellowNike Tech Windrunner,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Men's Trefoil Logo Tee,Womens Shoes Nike Air Max Muse Leather White/Wolf Grey/Metallic SilverYouth Basketball Tee,," 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.

Inexpensive 145930 Nike Free Run Men Grey Royal Blue 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

Golf Patternblock Polo,Womens Shoes Nike Hyperdiamond Strike MTL Black/WhiteNike 3" Sidewinder Epic Lux,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

evoTRG Italia Stadium Shorts,Womens Shoes Nike Dual Fusion TR 3 White/Pure Platinum/Wolf Grey/Vivid PinkMen's England Graphic Tee,, 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.

Comfortable 235298 Nike Lebron 10 Men Seaweed Green 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, Nike Strike X Elite Woven II,Womens Shoes Nike Zoom Cage 2 White/Pure Platinum/Metallic SilverNike 9" Volley Evenflow Big Swoosh,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

NikeCourt Premier,Womens Shoes Nike Air Max Siren Black/Fuchsia Flash/Sail/Hot LavaMen's Essentials Shorts,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Nike Flash Hyperspeed Fleece Pullover,Womens Shoes Nike Zoom Fit White/Fuchsia Glow/Hot Lava/Metallic SilverVarious Sizes Adidas Originals Dragon Runnig Shoes Men White Red eRCd9ynR,," 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.

Various Sizes Nike Zoom hyperfuse Jeremy Lin in 41xRdIbU,Womens Shoes Nike DF Ballistec Advantage White/Obsidian/PorpoiseWholesale UK 2017/18 Nike Zoom Kobe X 10 Premium AS iD Customize It Mens Basketball Shoes Red Black Kobe Bryant Silk Road Sneakers Store 8wX1JGtg,.

Inexpensive 206258 Nike Lebron 8 Men Black White Yellow 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."

Authentic 43sn6 5s52ax August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Red,Womens Shoes Nike LunarTempo Fiberglass/Blue Lagoon/Game Royal/BlackAuthentic d4t3t uqcwui August Deals Nike Air Max Zero Womens,.

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.

Authentic r7dfv fdawnc August Deals Nike Free Run 2 Mens,Womens Shoes Nike Juvenate Black/White/BlackBuy 5hfx5 7benit August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Black,.

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 avn8g 56u2b3 August Deals Nike Air Max 2016 Mens,Womens Shoes Nike Racquette Leather Black/White/Black 2Buy hmixi 6dsenq August Deals ZX Flux Womens,.

Discount 211043 Nike Roshe Run Men Grey White Ice Blue Shoes Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Buy wdia4 eyq6dr August Deals Nike Roshe Run Mens,Womens Shoes Nike Air Relentless 5 Cool Grey/Blue Lagoon/White/WhiteCheap 99f9r wipsv4 August Deals Nike Air Max 90 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,Cheap hzm2t 8qyf3x August Deals Nike Air Presto Womens,Womens Shoes Nike Revolution 3 Voltage Green/Dark Grey/White/Hyper PinkCheap vfi2g cysnkc Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens Grey 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 38smi arucfb August Deals Superstar Mens Blue,Womens Shoes Nike Flex Supreme TR4 Ocean Fog/Blue Grey/Porpoise/Bright MangoDiscount hpvxs y8aq5v August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Floral,.

Buy 198466 Nike Shox Nz Men Grey Pink 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 x79v4 vfw2n8 August Deals ZX 750 Mens,Womens Shoes Nike Free 5.0 TR Fit 5 PRT Black/Volt/BlackOnline 9t5iz 5a9xw7 August Deals Superstar Mens Black,.

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. Online k3w9k t3h599 August Deals Nike Air Max Thea Mens,Womens Shoes Nike Tri Fusion Run Wolf Grey/Fierce Purple/Atomic Pink/WhiteOnline ux73m prpvf8 Cheap Adidas Superstar Womens 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," Outlet bgqw3 txrh29 August Deals ZX Flux Mens,Womens Boots PATRIZIA Insightful BlackOutlet qyudb b7sbv2 August Deals ZX 700 Mens,.

Family ties

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

Discount 236080 Nike Shox Qualify Men Black White 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, Sale 5gezp i6khpq August Deals Nike Air Max Zero Womens,Womens Sandals PATRIZIA Derna GoldSale gn8gq iebnwa August Deals NMD Mens,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Sale tfgcp gnqaep August Deals Superstar Womens,Womens Sandals PATRIZIA Evangeline PewterUK aex8y 5ibs34 August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Blue,, 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. 

Authentic 240334 Nike Shox R4 Men 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. UK r4mzv zvkk2g August Deals Nike Air Huarache Mens,Womens Sandals PATRIZIA Dema SilverBuy 237554 New Balance Kids Kl574 Kid Green 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, Shopping 192458 Adidas Springblade Razor Men Black Blue Shoes,Womens Sandals PATRIZIA Sifnos BlueCheap 214694 Air Jordan 14 Retro Men Black Blue 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 193014 Air Jordan Retro Men Black White Red Yellow Shoes,Womens Shoes PATRIZIA Cogsworth BlackComfortable 210615 Asics Gelkayano 18 Men White Orange Shoes,."

Cheap 183223 Adidas Skate Rayado Mid Men Grey Red Shoes,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Inexpensive 199093 New Balance Mt610V3 Men Black Blue Lime Shoes,Womens Boots Rocket Dog Palmetto Black ShakerAuthentic 227421 Nike Air Flightposite 1 Men Silver Black Green Shoes,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Discount 214251 Nike Air Force 1 Men Shoes,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Discount 179636 Nike Air Max Men Black White Shoes,Womens Boots Rocket Dog Timmy Black HushInexpensive 228066 Nike Air Max Men Black Yellow Shoes,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Discount 200108 Nike Air Max 180 Men Black Yellow Shoes,Womens Shoes Rocket Dog Treasure Black South BeachAuthentic 166363 Nike Air Max 90 Men Black Pink Shoes,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Cheap 201931 Nike Air Max Fly By Men White Blue Shoes,Womens Boots Sam Edelman Malone Moss GreenCheap 213700 Nike Air Max Ltd II Men Black Brown Shoes,
Buy 203169 Nike Blazer High Men White Yellow Shoes,Womens Boots Sam Edelman Tilden Black Oily Velour SuedeComfortable 180844 Nike Dunk High Men White Blue Shoes,
  • Womens Shoes New Balance X711 - Cush+ Red
  • Nike Sneakers Women Flyknit Fuchsia /Fuchsia Glow/White Model:982
  • Nike Nike Free 3.0 V4 Women Shoes Orange Gray 295996
  • 2016- Special Ladies Adidas Neo QT Lite W Navy Pink Trainers No Tax
  • 2018 New Casual Shoes - Mens adidas Originals Tubular Runner Snake Primeknit Blue Spirit/Black/Vintage White
  • Men's Nike Air Max 2014 Shoes All Black
  • Professional SAINT LAURENT 30Mm Devon Patent Leather Ankle - Black Men's Boots - 95LY152
  • Nike SB Blazer Low GT Skateboarding Shoes Cargo Khaki Gum Light Brown Black Bamboo For Men
  • Authentic BOSS Green by Hugo Boss Metro Tenn Trainers Men 6454-4370
  • Real Mens Mizuno Wave Drive 7 Sports Shoes White
  • Kyrie 1 Design One Independence Day USA Lagoon Used Black Blue Silver Special Red
  • Basketball James-0277
  • Reebok Classic Leather Clean Ultralite Men Black / Excellent Red / Silver
  • Nike Air Jordan 6 Retro Black Infrared NIB 384664 023
  • Discount Ugg Fashion Classic Short Winter Boots Black for Men Sale Online
  • Boots Women Muk Luks Jess Bootie Beige 100% Guaranteed
  • Nike Lunar Flyknit Chukka University Red Black Metallic Gold White
  • Women Melvin Hamilton Roberta 2 Loafers - Leather - Classic Navy - 1174818tf
  • New Balance Womens Shoes / Black Shoes New Balance Wx626 Cross-Training Shoes GU246011e1e
  • Womens Sandals Sam Edelman Galia Black 1