Over the years and particularly in recent months, there has been an increasing debate about the need for foreign workers and/or immigrants to help make up for the rapidly declining population in Japan (one person a minute). The expression "hitode busoku" (labor shortage) is the catchphrase now to capture this lack of available qualified workers.

But this has been a problem for a long time. Indeed, today, on average, for every 15 jobs, there are only 10 workers. In some communities and fields it is much worse. And, it is only going to get worse with the Olympics approaching and with tourism now at 31 million visitors per year (from just 6 million in 2011) and projected to reach 60 million in the coming decades.

Interestingly, one nearby but overlooked pool of potential workers is the dependent population of U.S. military personnel assigned to Japan, which include spouses and teenage (or older) children. Moreover, with special permission, even military members can work part-time.