Womens Shoes Clarks Shira Nicole Pebble 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

Hurley Phantom Solid 5" Beachrider,Womens Sandals COACH Coral Neutral/Black Ocelot Leather/Matte Calf,TW Mobility Camo Emboss,. 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, AFC Stadium Jacket,Womens Shoes COACH Smith Midnight Navy Cut Snake,Men's Retro Linear Windbreaker,.

"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, Nike Bonded,Womens Shoes COACH Chrissy Black/Bright Persimmon/Black Plaid Wool/Calf,Nike Tempo Rival,, 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. Running Faster Than You Shorts,Womens Boots Cole Haan Balthasar Bootie Black,Nike Flash CR7,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Nike College Legend (Oregon),Womens Boots Cole Haan Daryl Waterproof Chestnut,Nike Pro Hypercool Print 3/4,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

NIKE FREE SB Gym Red/Bright Crimson/Sail/Black 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, Youth Essentials 3-Stripes Full Zip Hoodie,Womens Sandals Cole Haan Ravenna Wedge Maple Sugar,Various Sizes Converse All Star Chuck Taylor Play 2 Hi-Top Black Canvas Shoes BWjP8KEt,, 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.

Wholesale Trade Nike KD 7 2017/18 White Purple Orange Mens Shoes e73sdpaj,Womens Sandals Cole Haan Arlette Wedge II Black Leather/Chestnut Leather/Jute,Authentic 7mzz2 qspm5t August Deals ZX Flux Mens,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Authentic n3kwg h6rz8m August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Mens Black,Womens Shoes Cole Haan Amalia Sling Skimmer Black Dot Print/Black,Buy 5hfx5 7benit August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Black,.

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 c8h4g 2uyava August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Mens White,Womens Shoes Cole Haan Pinch Weekender Dark Spruce/Dark Spruce Suede,Buy vuaig itpd6i August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Purple,.

Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 Unisex Running Shoe 819038-015

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, Cheap 8kstk 4pbq6n August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Mens,Womens Shoes Cole Haan Viveca Blazer Blue Suede,Cheap qguvy czvizi August Deals Ultra Boost 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 66ug8 zm2ffh August Deals Nike Blazer Womens,Unisex Shoes Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Hi Red/White/Blue,Discount ffzbc 85ee95 August Deals Superstar Womens,."

Women's Shoe Nike Flyknit Air Max 620659-104 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 zwat6 2wnxmd August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Essential Womens,Womens Boots ECCO Touch 25 Ankle Boot Black,Online g8c8s n3bc68 August Deals ZX Flux 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 wm3kr ribdd5 August Deals Superstar Mens,Womens Shoes ECCO Osan Loafer Moon Rock,Outlet gcxbs d5mg56 August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Blue,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Outlet y39cu 47fzqf August Deals Nike Air Presto Womens,Womens Shoes ECCO Cayla Mary Jane Port,Sale g4n4z 8q2r4w August Deals Nike Roshe Run Womens,," 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 Air Max 90 Girls Toddler White/Gamma Blue/Pink Blast/Ghost Green/Black Running Shoes V91469

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

Sale ug5y6 cchbv2 August Deals Nike Air Max 95 Mens,Womens Shoes ECCO CS14 Retro Sneaker Dark Shadow/Petal,UK gkryg 7cdecy Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Womens Shoes,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Buy 187856 New Balance Kids 610V3 Kid Grey Blue Shoes,Womens Sandals GUESS Betzy Pewter,Authentic 230341 Adidas Originals Superstar 2.0 Men Navy Blue Fluorescent Green 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.

Adidas J Wall 2 Boys Grade School Scarlet/Power Red Basketball Shoes V73925 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, Authentic 162978 Air Jordan 5 (V) Retro Men White Metallic Silver Black Shoes,Womens Shoes GUESS Hotspot White Lace,Authentic 148040 Air Jordan Retro 3 Men Light Graphite Black Red Shoes,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Comfortable 174093 Jordan Aj Men Black Blue Shoes,Womens Boots Hunter Huntress Black,Authentic 218119 New Balance Mt1210 Men Black Shoes,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Comfortable 224754 Nike Air Flightposite 1 Men White Black Red Shoes,Womens Boots Naturalizer July Wide Calf Dark Camel Suede/Banana Bread Leather,Inexpensive 234279 Nike Air Force 1 Men Metallic Gold 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 235301 Nike Air Max Men White Black Shoes,Womens Boots Naturalizer Macnair Wide Shaft Malt Taupe,Comfortable 160859 Nike Air Max 90 Men Black White Purple Shoes,.

Adidas Crazylight 2.5 Boost Low Mens White/Yellow/Maroon Basketball Shoes V96790 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 177621 Nike Air Max 90 Men Black Yellow Shoes,Womens Shoes Naturalizer Patricia Brown Printed Snake/Oxford Brown Smooth,Authentic 239487 Nike Air Max Ltd Men White Black Blue 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.

Authentic 146631 Nike Air Max Tailwind Men White Black Shoes,Womens Shoes Naturalizer Sharon Tender Taupe Shiny,Buy 226742 Nike Classic Cortez Nylon Sapphire Men Blue Red 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

Authentic 160675 Nike Dunk High Men Black Sail Orange Shoes,Womens Shoes New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Blue Aster/Hot Pink/White,Authentic 215520 Nike Dunks Low Men Grey Citron White Shoes,.

Adidas Pure Boost Zg Mens Collegate Navy/Mineral Blue Running Shoes V45559 Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Buy 212707 Nike Free 5.0 V4 Men Royal Blue Grey White Shoes,Womens Shoes New Balance Vazee Rush Grey/Blue,Discount 153159 Nike Free Trainer 5.0 Men Black Gray 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,Authentic 182807 Nike Lebron 8 V2 Men Shoes,Womens Shoes New Balance W645 Silver Mink,Discount 228292 Nike Free 7.0 V2 Men Black Grey 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 218926 Nike Shox Nz Men Black Red Shoes,Womens Shoes New Balance Classics WL696 Dark Grey/Silver Suede/Textile/Leather,Authentic 165366 Nike Shox R2 Men White Yellow Shoes,.

Nike Air Max Excellerate 4 Mens Cool Grey/Wolf Grey/Dark Grey/Black Running Shoes V47724 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. Comfortable 234512 Nike Shox Rivalry Men White Orange Shoes,Womens Shoes Nike Zoom Fit White/Fuchsia Glow/Hot Lava/Metallic Silver,Cheap 149126 Nike Zoom Kobe IV Men White Grey 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. Shopping 163663 Nike Zoom Kobe VIII Basketball Men Black Purple Shoes,Womens Shoes Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32 Flash Noble Purple/Vivid Purple/Copa/Reflect Silver,Cheap 146866 Puma Future Cat Super Lt Men Red Grey 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," Inexpensive 223718 Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Xdr Men Black Blue Red Shoes,Womens Shoes Nike DF Ballistec Advantage Chalk Blue/White/Light Blue/Chalk Blue,Shopping 170925 New Balance Classics Wl574 Women Navy Shoes,.

Family ties

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

Nike Flex Run 2015 Mens Black/Laser Orange/Bright Citrus/Volt Running Shoes V21174 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, Buy 171591 Nike Air Force 1 Women Rose Rainbow Shoes,Womens Boots PATRIZIA Meg Black,Shopping 159244 Nike Air Max Ultra Women Black Silver Shoes,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Comfortable 161904 Nike Free 3.0 V4 Women Black Red White Shoes,Womens Sandals PATRIZIA Akin White,Authentic 157363 Nike Lunareclipse 2 Women Purple White 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. 

Adidas Adizero Boston 5 Tsf Womens Mineral Red/Shock Pink/Bold Onix Running Shoes V65561

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. Adidas Bounce Titan V Men Coupon_075,Womens Shoes PATRIZIA Taliya Black,Adidas Springblade 2013 Men Coupon_264,.  

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, Christian Louboutin Sale Women Coupon_505,Womens Shoes PUMA Pulse FLEX XT Bleached Denim/Astral Aura,Jimmy Choo Boots Women Coupon_696,. 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," Jimmy Choo Sandals Women Coupon_894,Womens Shoes Reebok Daily Cushion 3.0 RS White/California Blue,New Balance 1400 Men Coupon_1084,."

New Balance 574 Men Coupon_1276,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

New Balance 574 Women Coupon_1496,Womens Boots UGG Becket Black,Nike Kevin Durant Men Coupon_1687,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

JORDAN ILLUSION Gym Red/Black/Gym Red,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

Men's Firm-Ground Soccer Cleat Nike Magista Opus FG 649230-106,Womens Boots UGG Myrna Chestnut Leather,Men's NIKE FREE 4.0 FLYKNIT 717075-601,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Men's Running Shoe Nike Flex Fury 2 819134-800,Womens Boots UGG Kristin Furious Fuchsia,Men's Shoe Jordan Jumpman Team II 819175-101,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Men's Shoe Nike Air Trainer 1 Mid 317554-005,Womens Sandals UGG Jazmine Calf Hair Leopard Chestnut Leopard Calf Hair,Men's Shoe Nike Internationalist Knit Jacquard Moire QS 829344-006,
Men's Shoe Nike Zoom Winflo 3 831561-003,Womens Boots Under Armour UA Fat Tire GTX Graphite/Aluminum/Emerald Sari,NIKE AIR HUARACHE White/Black/Cool Grey/Wolf Grey,
  • Womens Boots Naturalizer Metro Oxford Brown Smooth/Microfiber
  • Nike Air Zoom Vomero 12 Women's Running Shoe Polar UJ5439926
  • Chaco Chaco Outcross Lace Women Sneakers Bungee 151113
  • New balance W470V4 Women's Running Shoes Purple COMUK:8119
  • The Perfect Adidas Womens X 15.4 Fg/Ag Shoes Yellow Womens 1130
  • Men's New Balance 996 Sports Shoes Blue/Fluorescent Green MRL996ED
  • Official GARMIN Tactix Bravo Gps Military Watch - Black Men's Watches - 26SS398
  • Timberland Abington Forecastle Chukka Boots Cognac Quartz Brown Suede For Men
  • Cheap Polo Ralph Lauren Hanford Suede Trainers Men 4469-8064
  • Provide Mens Diesel S-Furyy Trainers Shoes White
  • Big Boy Kyrie 2 Luxury II Used Black Metallic Silver Create
  • Basketball Hyperdunk-0087
  • Report Gold Report Signature - Sphinxr IZW713219
  • Nike Air Jordan Super Fly 4 Insurgent Blue White Ghost Green 768929-405
  • Edgy Burgundy Converse Men Chuck Taylor All Star Ii Evergreen Hi-Top Trainer
  • Boots Women Two Lips Juniper Bootie Black For Sale designer
  • Nike Hyperfr3sh QS Aloha Summer Palm Trees White Black (808781-100)
  • Women Kaporal Vicky Trainers - Rubber - Beige - 4724941sz
  • Bandolino Womens Shoes / Black Girls Shoes Women''s Bandolino Isannah Mid Heel Pump KE515006915