Womens Shoes Cole Haan Tali Open Toe Wedge 40 Soft Gold 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 ctFr0ife Emergency Men Cortana Saucony Running Shoes 3 Black / Green,Womens Shoes ECCO Cayla Tie Navajo Brown/Navajo Brown,Wholesale Trade Nike Air Max 90 Hyperfuse QS Mens Shoes White Blue Orange ZltjtbuS,. 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, Authentic 8nysz ak4pgp August Deals ZX 750 Womens,Womens Shoes ECCO CS14 Strap Black/Black,Authentic ktxqk 54q32p August Deals Superstar Womens,.

"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 yr9gw sychti August Deals Nike Roshe Run Womens,Womens Boots GUESS Candie Taupe Multi Leather,Buy 985ag 6k98v9 August Deals Nike Air Presto Womens,, 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 s6pk2 kqii7u August Deals Nike Air Presto Mens,Womens Sandals GUESS Roxxie Gold,Buy zw4wt hfvkg7 August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Mens White,. Like other industries in a rapidly aging Japan, the construction business is desperate for labor. Cheap grz69 h29bnu August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Grey,Womens Shoes GUESS Abria Tan Suede,Cheap xiq9a 68bsf3 August Deals ZX Flux Mens,. As baby boomers retire, the labor shortage -- in construction and in the wider economy -- is bound to become more acute.

Adidas Sprintstar Womens White/White/Shock Pink Track & Field Shoes V95733 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, Discount ae4zz 8mrvtc August Deals Nike Air Presto Mens,Womens Boots Naturalizer Juletta Wide Calf Banana Bread Leather,Discount swyww ez5u23 August Deals Nike Air Presto 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.

Online bgzpd neu9vv August Deals Nike Air Max 2016 Womens,Womens Boots Naturalizer Tricia Camel Smooth,Online r4n2a drmng8 August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Grey,, Japan is in the midst of a quiet revolution when it comes to immigrant workers. Outlet 5wm34 mb5yyh August Deals Superstar Mens,Womens Sandals Naturalizer Berkeley Gold Fabric,Outlet rf3ci ngxgi8 August Deals Superstar Womens Pink,.

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, Sale 87ycf z47bnn August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Mens Black,Womens Shoes Naturalizer Hampshire Bridal Brown/Burnt Siena Leather,Sale n8dxp 4ez9pt August Deals Nike Air Max 90 Womens Floral,.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32 Womens Black/White Running Shoes V32326

Immigration remains a politically charged issue in Japan, UK 3ra43 6ssis7 August Deals Nike Air Max Tavas Womens,Womens Shoes Naturalizer Joyce Classic Olive Suede,UK umwbh n2xn2h August Deals Yeezy 350 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. "Comfortable 182664 New Balance Kids Kl574 Kid Red Yellow Shoes,Womens Shoes New Balance WW999 Grey,Comfortable 147377 Adidas ZX 750 Men Navy Blue Shoes,."

Nike Roshe One Womens Midnight Navy/Metallic Blue Dusk/Silver/Blue Running Shoes V65139 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 167421 Air Jordan 6 Retro Men Shoes,Womens Shoes New Balance W1080v5 Grey/Purple,Shopping 210419 Air Jordan XII Retro Men Black 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.

"Authentic 196213 New Balance Classics Us574 Men Blue Infinity Shoes,Womens Shoes New Balance Classics WL574 Aquamarine,Buy 237236 New Balance Mx623V2 Men Black Shoes,, like all other countries, does have racist problems, but hate crime and hate speech are relatively Comfortable 192498 Nike Air Force 1 Men White Yellow Shoes,Womens Shoes New Balance Classics WL696 Dark Grey/Silver Suede/Textile/Leather,Comfortable 180905 Nike Air Max Men Grey Pink 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 Kids Fusion Run 3 Lyon Blue/Poison Green/White/Metallic Silver UK#N5-9443

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

Buy 162910 Nike Air Max Men Black White Shoes,Womens Shoes Nike Zoom Cage 2 Light Aqua/White/Classic Charcoal/Volt,Cheap 206594 Nike Air Max 180 Men Black Purple Shoes,, and 60% are 65 or older. Most of their children have left for the city in search of better-paying office work.

Discount 158547 Nike Air Max 90 Men Grey White Shoes,Womens Shoes Nike Lunarglide 7 Hyper Orange/University Red/Raspberry Red/Black,Buy 152242 Nike Air Max Ltd Men 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.

Men's Nike Hypervenom Phade II FG Hyper Grape/Black/Hyper Grape UK#N5-8960 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, Inexpensive 223730 Nike Barkley Posite Max Men Blue Metallic Silver Shoes,Womens Shoes Nike Flex 2015 RUN Black/Hyper Pink/Digital Pink/Metallic Silver,Authentic 227861 Nike Dunk High Men Gray Black Shoes,, where the temperature can reach 40 C in summer.

Authentic 232561 Nike Dunk High Men Shoes,Womens Boots PATRIZIA Leatherette Black,Discount 214553 Nike Free 3.0 V2 Suede Men Olive White Shoes,. He speaks basic Japanese, which he picked up watching anime series such as "One Piece" and "Detective Conan."

Comfortable 218318 Nike Free 7.0 V2 Men Dark Grey Red White Shoes,Womens Sandals PATRIZIA Dema Pewter,Buy 195831 Nike Kobe Dream Season II Low Men Black White Red 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.

Comfortable 152679 Nike Lebron 11 Men Shoes,Womens Shoes PATRIZIA Coro Black,Comfortable 236802 Nike Roshe Run Men Black Green Electric Yellow Shoes,.

Havaianas Infant Brasil Logo Flip Flop CP518 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 169530 Nike Shox Conundrum Men White Black Shoes,Womens Shoes PUMA Pulse XT Graphic Blue Coral/Clearwater,Buy 244921 Nike Shox R4 Men Grey Grey 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 194537 Nike Shox R5 Men Black Red Shoes,Womens Shoes PUMA Sport Fashion MCQ Move Femme Mid Black/Autumn Glory Yellow,Shopping 183676 Nike Shox Rivalry Men White Blue 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

Cheap 198864 Nikelebron11 Men Gold Black Grey Shoes,Womens Shoes Reebok Hexaffect Fire VTR MTM Night Beacon/Icono Pink/Exotic Teal/White,Inexpensive 160216 Air Jordan 13 Unisex White Black Shoes,.

Nike Nursery Roshe Run Trainer CP784 Internet company Rakuten, based in Tokyo, has been actively recruiting foreign talent. (Photo by Yasunori Okamura)

Comfortable 165274 New Balance Classics U420 Unisex Blue Yellow Shoes,Womens Boots Rocket Dog Marcus Tan Wide Tale/Hush,Discount 164739 New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Women Silver Coral 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,Shopping 228693 New Balance W1540 Women White Purple Shoes,Womens Shoes Rocket Dog Jenelle Black Love Story,Comfortable 184141 Nike Air Max Women Cyan Black 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, Comfortable 213713 Nike Dunk High Women White Blue Shoes,Womens Boots Sam Edelman Remi Black Suede,Inexpensive 180829 Nike Lunareclipse 2 Women Grey White Pink Shoes,.

Ellesse Minoria Full Zip Hooded Top CP1054 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. Adidas Clima Cool 5th Men Coupon_096,Womens Sandals Sam Edelman Gardener Natural Naked Naked Atanado Leather,Adidas Springblade 2013 Men Coupon_265,.

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. Christian Louboutin Sale Women Coupon_477,Womens Shoes Sam Edelman Felicia Black Twiggy Sequins,Jimmy Choo Boots Women Coupon_676,, 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," Jimmy Choo Sandals Women Coupon_884,Womens Shoes Saucony Grid Cohesion TR8 Grey/Black/Coral,New Balance Men Coupon_1064,.

Family ties

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

Brave Soul MJK Aberdeen Parka Jacket CP1258 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, New Balance 574 Men Coupon_1252,Womens Shoes Superga 2750 Floweryutaw Blue Multi,New Balance 574 Women Coupon_1475,, Care Port Itabashi.  

Nike Derrick Rose Men Coupon_1631,Womens Boots Timberland Icon 6" Premium Boot Wheat Rugged/Gold Metallic Finish,LEBRON 12 Black/Pink Pow/Blue Lagoon/Black,, 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. 

Pretty Green Festival Jacket CP1496

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 Football Cleat Nike Vapor Carbon Elite 2014 TD 631425-301,Womens Boots UGG Dahlen Bourbon,MEN'S NIKE FREE TRAINER 3.0 V4 749361-008,.  

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 Running Shoe Nike Flyknit Air Max 620469-102,Womens Boots UGG Classic Short Rustic Weave Fiesta Blue/Twinface,Men's Shoe Jordan Horizon 823581-600,. 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 Shoe Nike Air Max Uptempo 2 919831-300,Womens Boots UGG Classic Mini Liberty Asphalt,Men's Shoe Nike Hyperdunk 2016 Flyknit 843390-446,."

Men's Shoe Nike Zoom LeBron Soldier 9 FlyEase 846246-494,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Men,AFC Home Minikit high risk red-white,NIKE AIR MAX 2015 Black/Volt/Hyper Jade/White,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

NIKE AIR ZOOM PEGASUS 33 831352-401,

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

3 months for $9

NIKE AIR MAX PLUS Tour Yellow/Total Orange/Black/White,TW Velocity Glow Stripe,Nike Air Max 1 Boys Toddler Black/White/Cool Grey/Gym Red Running Shoes V33762,
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

Adidas D Lillard 2.0 Boys Grade School Black/Vivid Red/Shock Blue Basketball Shoes V29884,Archive Football Track Jacket,Nike Roshe One Girls Grade School Court Purple/Metallic Silver/Hot Lava/Fuchsia Glow Running Shoes V,

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

Adidas Adizero Prime Ltd Mens Black/White Running Shoes V31185,Men's Retro Linear Windbreaker,Adidas Messi 15.1 Fg Mens White/Prime Blue/Black Soccer Shoes V93327,
Nike Air Max Tavas Mens Wolf Grey/Photo Blue/Hot Lava/Game Royal Running Shoes V98879,BMW Motorsport Polo,Nike Tri Fusion Run Mens White/Cool Grey/Wolf Grey/Black Running Shoes V90817,
  • Womens Shoes Nike DF Ballistec Advantage Atomic Pink/White/Bright Mango/Atomic Pink
  • Nike Air Jordan 5 Womens Black/Bright Citrus-Fusion Pink Sneakers 3126771
  • Viking Women Trysil Brown 734954
  • adidas Originals Pharrell Williams Hu Hiking Reversible Camo Superstar Jacket Multi 8632I
  • Cool And Classical Running Shoes - Mens adidas Ultra Boost Black/Gold Metallic
  • Men's Nike Kobe VIII Basketball Shoes Black/Red/White 555035
  • Nike Blazer Studio Low Qs Trainers Urban Haze/Sail - Men's Shoes
  • 2016 Nike Air Max Tailwind 8 Print Sneakers Tumbled Grey/Bright Crimson/White/Reflect Silver Mens Running Shoes 806803-008
  • Adidas UK Shop - Adidas NMD_C1 Trail Shoes (Grey) for Men
  • Adidas TS Supernatural Cre ST Pasticks shoe white/green/gold
  • 2017 Black And White Nike Trainers Men's Nike Mercurial Superfly Fg Gold/Black Shoes Canada YES6202533
  • Adidas Honey Mid - Black/Black/White Factory Price
  • Make - San Diego Chargers Patrick Crayton #12 Authentic Jersey Powder Bnfl jerseys kidsnike nfl jerseys all teamssuper quality
  • Air Jordan 13 Retro Black Pink White Cheap Womens
  • New Lloyd Fashion Nevio Smart Shoes Noce for Men Sale
  • Converse Mens Shoes / Grey Black Shoes Converse Star Player Pro HU29U67b1z
  • BioNatura Buster Womens Leather Comfort Sandals Made in Italy
  • Women's Nike Air Max Tailwind 7 White/Black
  • Women Valensi Vegrit Ballet Pumps - Rubber - Ante Tinta + Charol Tinta - 1989574bm
  • 2015 New Women's Brooks Ghost 8 Aurora