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Japan immigration

Helping foreign workers in Japan pays off for small auto parts maker

Language classes and no wage gap shows how companies beyond Tokyo are leading the way

Toshinao Hirano, president of Hirano Vinyl Industry, center, raises his fist along with members of his mostly foreign-born workforce. (Photo courtesy of Hirano Vinyl Industry)

TOKYO -- Managing a diverse workforce is like coaching soccer in Brazil, says the head of a small Japanese auto parts supplier looking to establish itself as a trendsetter in support for foreigners in a country that tends to see them as guest workers rather than residents.

"Brazilian soccer is strong because players come together to win, regardless of race or nationality," Toshinao Hirano, the 45-year-old president of Hirano Vinyl Industry, which makes seat covers.

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