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Japan Turns to Illegal Foreign Workers as Farmers Age

Number found working illegally nearly triples in three years
Farmers plant rice seedlings in a paddy rice field in Narita City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan, on Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

Farmers plant rice seedlings in a paddy rice field in Narita City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan, on Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg
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Japan is struggling to keep its farms running as farmers age and young people shun the work. This has opened the door for more foreign workers -- including a growing number found to be working illegally.

The number of Japanese farmers has dropped by about half since 2000, to below 2 million this year, according to the agriculture ministry. About two-thirds of those who remain are 65 years old or older.