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Economy

In rural Japan, immigrants spark a rebirth

Newcomers fill the labor and tax void as young Japanese bolt to Tokyo

Nearly half the students at Keiwa Elementary School in Tsu, Mie Prefecture, have at least one parent from another country.

TOKYO -- In roughly three decades, the number of foreign residents in Japan has grown to 2.47 million, from just 980,000 in 1989. So while this period will go down in history as the time the country's population went into decline, it has also brought an unprecedented influx of newcomers from abroad.

Tagalog, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, Indonesian: The students at Keiwa Elementary School in the southwestern prefecture of Mie speak nine different languages at home. But at school they use Japanese.  

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