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More Japanese firms eager to recruit foreigners, disabled

33 Comments
By Anna Masui

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This is rather delicate and difficult to write without coming off as sounding crass, but the title and article seem to be putting the disabled and foreigners in Japan on the same level.

The disabled Japanese people should be a priority, but far too many Japanese companies refuse to hire them unless they are subsidized by the government, can't work them as hard as "regular" folks and are often times discriminated against in the work place.

Geez, sounds like foreigners too!

11 ( +13 / -2 )

More Japanese firms eager to recruit foreigners, disabled

Cause if the gov continues to drag its feet on immigration, the companies are going to pick up the slack.

Since they're lumping us in the same category as the disabled, can we at least get to park in the handicapped zones too?

6 ( +10 / -4 )

I'm sorry I'm not comfortable working with anyone with metal illnesses, what happens if they have a bad day? How in the world is this a solution for labor shortages?

-15 ( +7 / -22 )

Back in Japan for a short visit and absolutely no plans to come back here to work, for a number of reasons.

That said the labour shortages are real, the local shopping centre here has hundreds of jobs on offer. Looking at the wages on offer though, the issue in sourcing workers probably relates to the low pay these jobs offer.

As far as employing foreigners, this comes out of necessity. Some local industrial employers here could not cope without them.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Businesses don't want to pay the help, it's that easy. Make the market more competitive and the quality will come!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Wallace, why the prejudice against “metal (sic) illness”? What about autism, asperges, how about a person with down syndrome, all perfectly capable of contributing. Who would be ‘acceptable’ in ‘your’ office??

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Sounds good and all but why do I get the feeling that (besides the jobs mentioned in the article) most of these jobs are low paid work and many foreigners will get duped by fake promises.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Title is miss leading, they are being forced to hire, if there were eager they would have hired them 10-15 years ago... call a spade a spade

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Very good decision on increasing employment opportunities for disabled people. that's a no brainer. Would like more information on allowing more foreigners though. If this is for unskilled labour like manual work, english teaching, cleaning, etc. I am against it. High skilled, academic, and professional is fine though

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

More Japanese firms eager to recruit foreigners, disabled

Naturally they’ll give higher work efficiency than the local junk. Don’t even start on cost effectiveness.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@wallace

the type of people you are thinking about are the ones that are most likely not diagnosed. They are more likely to be the ones you already have sitting next to you and are only one accidental bump on a crowded subway away from snapping and releasing their years of pent up anger.

People with diagnosed mental illnesses are probably more likely to be on medication or at the very least they are AWARE of their illnesses. Its the ones that dont realise how messed up they are that you should be worried about!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I agree that the headline is rather odd. The article also makes it appear that the hiring of foreign nationals is something new. It is not.

The Japanese auto parts industry has relied on foreign labour, mostly Brazilians, for some decades. Major Japanese electronics firms have been hiring foreign engineers in a big way for roughly a decade. In some years companies such as Panasonic have hired as many foreign engineers as they have Japanese. In recent years smaller companies especially in Kansai have been aggressively hiring foreign nations. They face shrinking markets in Japan and need people with language skills and social knowledge of foreign markets.

The English language press in Japan has given relatively little attention to this aspect of the labour market in Japan, possibly because most foreign labour in Japan is non-Western (aka non-white) and not from predominantly English-speaking countries.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@yubaru Totally agree with you. Make the market more competitive and quality will come automatically. You will not need to do awkward job seminars to attract foreigners.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

They are a century behind many multinational companies that introduces and follow the concept of "equal opportunity employers". Introduce this concept in Japan or rather force it, the companies will never break out of their shells by themselves.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I think I'm being misunderstood. Anyone competent enough to work is only free to do so. However, if one has a disability affecting the mind, they can not be expected to perform at the same level as one who isn't impaired at all. That's common sense. It's not prejudiced or any other catchy buzzword. It's good old fashioned common sense!!

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

If this is for unskilled labour like manual work, english teaching, cleaning, etc. I am against it. High skilled, academic, and professional is fine though

This gave me a giggle.

I've met people who told me things like they are a "Coordinator of Language" and a "Native language Director". Right. You teach English.

Just like the guy cleaning the toilet is a 'Dispatcher of hazardous materials'.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I'm sorry I'm not comfortable working with anyone with metal illnesses, what happens if they have a bad day? How in the world is this a solution for labor shortages?

How do you know you haven't worked with people with mental illness already? It's estimated one on five peole suffer from a mental health issue in their lifetime, so unless you work alone you've had contact with collagues with a MH issue.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Hopefully that requirement for employers to hire more mentally ill people doesn't apply to JAL, ANA, hospitals and nuclear power stations...

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

I'm sorry I'm not comfortable working with anyone with metal illnesses

can be a concern sometimes but what it probably translates here is those undergoing treatment for anxiety etc. not full blown schizophrenics.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

One of the biggest reasons why Japan has a long working hour is because...

companies don't have the extra cash to hire extra people so they put the responsibilities on the laborers.

it's because they just can't find enough people to work. The shortage is real here with the growing population of old people and less young people. My advice is to Japan is to hire more foreigners with REAL pay.
-7 ( +0 / -7 )

I'm sorry I'm not comfortable working with anyone with metal illnesses, what happens if they have a bad day? How in the world is this a solution for labor shortages?

Fred, really! You probably work with people everyday that have a mental illness but don't even realize it. Lucky for them you don't with your obvious prejudice,I hope your not an employer. Working in Japan I would think you would sympathize considering the high suicide rate!!!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Being ironic, if I am a disabled foreign person, do I get a very special treatment to obtain a work visa from Japan ? Lol

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Seems most jobs require Native Japanese, or Business level Japanese (both Reading/Writing).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I Agree with others, lots of MH out there, most you wouldn't know about unless the person tells you.

Worked with people who could get Anxiety attacks, OCD, Depression and more.

My dear departed wife also had depression linked with cancer(common).

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The shortage is real here with the growing population of old people and less young people.

Not sure about that tbh. I think NOT staffing 'properly' is the key issue i.e some positions/sectors are grossly overstaffed with very UNproductive ppl.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

One of the biggest reasons why Japan has a long working hour is because... companies don't have the extra cash to hire extra people so they put the responsibilities on the laborers.

Right, said no one ever before! Japanese companies have trillions of yen in savings, it was reported as such just recently. They are earning record profits, but real wages are stagnant, as businesses are loathe to increase the pay of their employees!

it's because they just can't find enough people to work. The shortage is real here with the growing population of old people and less young people. My advice is to Japan is to hire more foreigners with REAL pay.

There are plenty of people to go around IF the businesses would pay a living wage!

If you run a business and expect to make money underpaying your employees and over-working them, it's no wonder no one will want to work for you!

What Japan seriously needs is for many of the middle-man types of businesses to disappear. They are a serious drag on the economy, having people work, in totally unnecessary work.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

More Japanese firms eager to recruit foreigners, disabled, that are prepared to work mundane jobs at a minimum wage that Japanese wont do. There fixed the title for them. increase the minimum wage by 500yen/hr and give full time employment with benefits and those jobs will be filled very quickly.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

companies don't have the extra cash to hire extra people so they put the responsibilities on the laborers. maybe true for smaller companies , but big J companies are sitting on records amounts of savings , Trillions of Yen. Its just theyre scrooges and will milk the life from their staff as much as possible before giving any meaningful wage rises.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wallace fred@ I think I'm being misunderstood. Anyone competent enough to work is only free to do so. However, if one has a disability affecting the mind, they can not be expected to perform at the same level as one who isn't impaired at all. That's common sense. It's not prejudiced or any other catchy buzzword. It's good old fashioned common sense!!

I think you not being misunderstood. Maybe you miss the point.

Many people who enter the work force, are young,work well and are smart and healthy

However things happen in life and at work, wether that be, Power harassment,bullying,financial problems, redundancy, disability, etc these may all impact peoples mental health. You probably have stereo typical views of mental illness and might even extent that to people who suffer neurological conditions or in fact any condition because they may be slower than you, and aren't able to perform to "your same level" or have to take time out to do certain things. And may i ask, what is your definition of mental health problem? My guess is..You've been watching too many Hollywood movies...like....mmmm One flew over the cuckoos nest.

Now some of the people you might actually be prejudging on your posting, may actually do a better job, work harder, work longer, and are more reliable, because they do not want to be seen negatively. They may not want to work full time, but can work perfectly well part time. Depending on the person, and that's where I think you are wrong. Your "judging" on prejudice, and a diagnosis, and illogical thinking ......not common sense, and certainly not on what the facts are, or on what the person can do.  They're are millions with autism, asperges, down syndrome, schizopthrenia, depression, OCD, phobic's, et al all working and paying their taxes.

And if they have a bad day? Well guess what...we all have bad days. Even healthy people.

Even you! and that is common sense as you would say.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

You probably have stereo typical views of mental illness and might even extent that to people who suffer neurological conditions or in fact any condition because they may be slower than you, and aren't able to perform to "your same level" or have to take time out to do certain things

Ok calm down. Instead of trying to paint me in the crudest light without knowing anything about my background, maybe you should try reading my last comment again. I expressly stressed competency. Ok I'll try and dumb it down for you. If anyone is incapable of performing the job because of impaired mental facilities, they musnt and shouldn't be employed by anyone. It's a drain on the company resources and must and should be avoided.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

However, if one has a disability affecting the mind, they can not be expected to perform at the same level as one who isn't impaired at all.

I've worked with people suffering from depression and those who are on the spectrum, also deaf and blind people.

Everybody has their niche and all are perfectly capable of contributing.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

You probably have stereo typical views of mental illness and might even extent that to people who suffer neurological conditions or in fact any condition because they may be slower than you, and aren't able to perform to "your same level" or have to take time out to do certain things

I see. Your right, I don't know anything about your background. And I'm sorry if you think I was trying to paint you in crude light. I really wasn't, but you don't know my background.So maybe I can elaborate, as I am a mental health worker who worked in nursing for years and not just pass a judgement statement here.

So may I ask how you judge the persons "competency" without giving them a job?

As a mental health nurse and ex-serviceman I have told my patients they don't have to write down on any application that they suffered a mental health problem,( if they have fully recovered, unless it is for the occupational health department only) because as soon as an interviewer sees that "Label", it will be thrown away and they won't even get an interview. Your point is prejudicial, because you wouldn't give them the job based on a diagnosis and not based on they're competency, their CV, and the company needs. Of course for some jobs mental health conditions must be disclosed, and they may be excluded. However when you say competency, do you mean physical competency, mental competency or educational competency? If you are talking about lack of skills, educational wise, and they cannot do a job, then that would apply to anyone, and it's logical we shouldn't offer them a position if they're not "qualified" for the job. That would go for me and you. Healthy or not! However, if you're judging someone on health grounds, then that requires an assessment, and judgment should be done by a competent person namely the "occupational health department" not by a lay person who may be prejudicial and prejudging based on a diagnosis alone.( of course this depends on company and the type of work) I'm wondering what your experience is with mental health and judging "competency"? Hopefully it isn't Hollywood movies and the news. As you say it may be a "drain on resources", but I wonder if your also the kind of person that complains about disabled/mentally ill people being a drain on your taxes too and would then say "They should be helped into work and not be a drain on our taxes? Whether that is , as you believe a "drain on resources" state or companies surely its better they contribute to society.

The recent news about over work, mental health and suicide certainly comes to mind. They were young and healthy! Were these people a drain on the company? I don't think so. Or were they hard working loyal employees who reached a breaking point? Maybe if the company, ( and themselves,Family ) gave them time off, and didn't see it as a drain on the company, then maybe they'd still be here. So I think it is better for them to be working, contributing to society, their family, paying tax, and helping the company and themselves. We have no problems helping people get over their acute physical health problems when they have surgery or other treatments, E.G Heart attacks, appendicitis, hernias, or even chronic conditions like, arthritis, diabetes, epilepsy, hip replacements etc, or for women with post natal depression. I don't see it as a drain on anyones resources.

Mental illness isn't always a chronic condition, it can be acute, with a good prognosis, with a full recovery. After years of loyal work, I hope you wouldn't suggest firing these people so as not to be drain on resources. Surely people with an acute mental health problem should deserve the same treatment.( pardon the pun) as people with a physical conditions. It doesn't mean they can't work and in your own words," trying to dumb it down" for anyone, only continues the false stereotype of mental illness, and maybe we should bring it up more.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In Japan - your first off need to be a Native Japanese Speaker. And hopefully read enough Japanese to be seful. If a Disabled person can fit into both of those then they are welcome to work in Japan.

I think the word "Disabled" has a stigma amongst some, which may be unfounded. I have worked (albeit for a short time) in a home for horrifically disabled people, and yes - they can't join a traditional workforce.

Though before you say I'm talking bollocks... take a look at Professor Stephen Hawkings. He isn't alone in his intellectual capabilities amongst those whom are disabled. He may be a bit crazy at times (according to a friend who worked with him), but at the same time, he is Brilliant.

As for Mental illnesses, don't place a psychopath into the same room as a person with Depression.. both are Mental illnesses. Yet one, has, if encouraged to be better than most others around them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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