Can Japan survive without immigrants?

4 months, 16 days ago

Tokyo( CNN) Demolition worker Yuichi Aoki’s face creases up where reference is thinks about Japan’s future.

“Now I have to work into my sixties. I worry about how my children and their children will cope with an increasingly ageing population.”

Considerably older than most of his co-workers, Aoki, a former IT worker is also one of only a handful of Japanese nationals employed by a Saitama-based demolition company owned by a Kurdish former asylum seeker.

The company, the majority of whose workers hail from Turkey, Iran and various parts of Africa, is somewhat unique in Japan, where foreign nationals make up only 1.6% of the country’s overall population.

Operated by Mehmet Yucel, 28, the company is part of a growing and largely unregulated grassroots economy, that is helping to ease Japan’s labor shortage in so-called undesirable sectors such as demolition and construction.