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Japan Inc supports bringing in low-skilled foreign labor: poll

48 Comments
By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Izumi Nakagawa

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48 Comments
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Makes sense.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Unless Japan wants to become an autarky or return to a pre-Meiji lifestyle, allowing more foreign labourers seems inevitable.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The shortage of workers is most acute in the construction industry, leaving companies struggling to meet demand for new projects tied to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The spin doctors are already at work. "It's not our fault the stadium wasn't built in time, Abe wouldn't allow us to hire enough workers".

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The last time they did this with the Brazilians, Chleans, and Peruvians, the government didn't provide bilingual education for those struggling with the language causing a lot of youngsters to drop out or fall behind in school. Hardly and counseling nor a system to help adults adjust to Japan were put in place either.

Bringing in a large number of workers requires support of some kind to help them smoothly become a part of the culture. If they don't want to create social and economic problems with discontented, disconnected and frustrated immigrants then they need to think things through a bit better.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

The unemployment rate hit an 18-year low of 3.3% in July

3.3% of Nihon population equals to over 4 million citizens unemployed in July. 4 million is a lot of people looking for work. I do not see where the need is for low wage workers when there is a workforce of millions waiting to be employed. I first thought the farming and the nuclear power industries would like such low wage imported workers. But others corporations and companies may just want to fire the higher paid workers in exchange for the low wage labor imported workers bring and this should not happen.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

DON'T DO IT !! Just look at France and Germany and all the problems they're having with 'foreigners' who fail to assimilate. If Japan does, they better just bring in 'local' help..i.e. Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and keep a very, very strict 'workers visa' program. Otherwise, do not do it.....Japan will be sorry...... Japan must have a zero unemployment percentage then? Everyone must have a job?! Build the future of Japan with Japanese citizens. Otherwise, don't do it with foreigners.....trust me....you'll be sorry.

-9 ( +12 / -21 )

Hopefully they will accept any applications anywhere, not just third world countries. And like @speed says government will provide free classes hopefully this time.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

There were also doubts that firms would be able to lower labor costs with less-expensive foreign workers.

Already counting their profit margins. To entice foreign workers the pay and benefits have to be commensurate with the job and I fear that Japanese employers would give out slave wages.

There have to be legal guidelines in place to protect these workers rights and a major change in how benefits are withheld from wages. The current system is far too difficult and complex for a person with no language skills here. Just considering the pension payments, if a worker is here for only a short period there should be no reason for them to participate in the system, yet by law are supposed to be now.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

So how much will they pay?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Three-quarters of Japanese companies support opening up the country to more foreign workers in low-skilled jobs

Note how carefully this is worded. Japan Inc. wants to bring in "foreign workers", that is world's apart from any form of increased immigration. All we are talking about here is akin to "migrant workers" in the U.S. Hardly an opening up of Japanese society, as exhibited by this quote:

“If we don’t legally approve foreign workers to some degree, then the number of illegal workers will only increase and there’ll be a deterioration in public order,” a manager at a chemicals company wrote.

Yup, must maintain that sacred "public order" no matter what. Even if it has led you to the edge of this cliff in the first place.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Before thinking so the Government needs to end the stereotypes against the foreigners, they need to create harmony among the japanese and the foreigners. integration in the society needs a lot of efforts from the government side but today it is just the opposite.

This is the irony,according to a proposed program of empowering the japanese women, the government will bring domestics workers/women from the poor countries, domestic workers program is infamous through the world for violent abuses and human rights, it itself creates a master salve relation, lake of freedom, lake of equal rights. in order to empower the Japanese women they are going to salve the women from the poor countries.

Japan do accept foreign workers but just for their own advantage, such as the trainee program, workers from Brazil, nurses from indonesia or teachers, but once they are not needed they will be thrown away. The officials just exploit the poverty of the said countries and they do not realize that they are human beings, they also deserve equal rights just the like the local for they also get old.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Three-quarters of Japanese companies support opening up the country to more foreign workers in low-skilled jobs

This is actually quite bad! They only want immigrants to do low-skilled jobs, which means they are importing slaves that they can pay a pittance and treat like dirt! It sounds like the eikaiwa industry in Japan, doesn't it?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

If I were a sociologist, I'd want to study this phenomenon of people in Japan and other East-Asian expat circles vocally and without the slightest hint of their own hypocrisy crying doom about immigration about how multiculturalism doesn't work. Even when they themselves live in a foreign country and are an example of multiculturalism in action. It's truly fascinating. Are they truly unaware that they are a case study in the possibility of success for the very thing they're opposing? Or are they aware of the hypocrisy in their statement, and simply using their condemnation of "multiculturalism" as a code word to covertly support discrimination against certain cultures?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Low skilled workers? A lot of the so called low skill jobs require physical ability and good technique to be able to do them properly and safely and also not the type of work they can really do into their late adult life.

If they paid them enough to make a real living maybe some would want to do productive laboring work rather than non productive paper work and policy making. Its world wide, when the money is tight, appoint more managers pay them more and cut the labourers and their pay.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This mean robot is not competent yet.r

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I do not see where the need is for low wage workers

LOL how about every single company on the planet.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So how much will they pay?

Japan wants slaves to work as their "industrial trainees" who typically got paid between $300 to $500 a month. Many were not even paid at all, as they were exploited by Japanese companies with wages deducted supposedly for paying off the workers' debt.

trailer: https://news.vice.com/video/exploiting-foreign-workers-japans-labor-pains-trailer

entire documentary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wt__lHCuH5g

Unlike in the West where foreigners are allowed to enter the countries with work visa's and allowed to change their jobs freely, Japan's foreign worker system recruit foreign workers as "industrial trainees' (not considered full time workers, but as "trainees" - code word for paying them next to nothing). After all, these workers from poor countries should be grateful for just being privileged to work in Japan, right?

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Bringing in low-skilled workers will lower the average GPD per person, making Japan poorer overall.

If companies cannot find workers they must increase salaries. If they cannot afford to do that, let them go out of business. This will cause workers to move to higher paid, higher productivity jobs, raising GDP.

If Japan really wants foreign labour it should offer permanent residence visas to every worker before arrival: that should ensure abuses are kept to a minimum. If the Japanese only want disposable, foreign slaves then they should think again and solve their problems using the available Japanese workforce.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Bringing in low-skilled workers will lower the average GPD per person

Japan shockingly has barely 100,000 low skilled workers in a country of over 120 million. Yet Japan can't even treat these small number of foreigners properly. It's not as if Japan is exactly being flooded with foreign workers here. So your statement is only ridiculous.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@Papi2013

Thank you for revealing the truth. I was going to the post the same link - everyone on here should watch that video! The workers will just be exploited by questionable entities that have powers to circumvent labour laws here.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

will there be enough workers for the 2020 stadium?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

More class warfare. First exportable jobs were moved to places with terrible labour standards to allow firms to exploit workers and lower the cost of business. Next, was a shift from full-time to unstable employment. Now, just as a change in demographics means likely higher wages for unexportable jobs, Japan Inc wants to increase the supply in order to keep wages low.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"... 76% of Japanese firms are in favor of bringing in low-skilled foreign labor, on the presumption that the workers would be treated fairly in terms of benefits."** Fairly but not equally. LOL This triggers lawsuit in my home country even from illegal immigrants and they always win... Believe me, Japan does not need moee workers but better paid and mind free.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

it is hard to change mindset and behaviour. deep inside, japanese know that outsiders are also people just like them. but, there is fear rooted (in society) and reflected in the government, and because of that fear and uncertainty, they kind of forget that we are not permanent on this planet, we are only temporary. so whether they want to solve the problem or leave it for their kids -- clearly, the latter is the case.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As long as the companies treat that as real human beings. Oh, they barely do that with their "own" in the case of low skilled workers, women in the workplace, contract workers, salarymen who work insane voluntary overtime. Need I go on?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm skeptical that there's really a shortage. I think it's more likely that companies just don't want to raise pay to attract Japanese workers.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

They could simply increase the number of trainees. It is an excuse, and not such a bad one, for paying them far less than paid to Japanese and yet at the same time enough to attract workers to come, and for sending them home after a certain amount of time rather than promoting assimilation. No one is forced to be a trainee and all the ones I have met (the Chinese ladies shelling prawns in my village, and the Filipino taxi driver that had been a welder) seem happy enough on it. They are told up front. There might also be opportunities for the best most assimilated of the trainees to stay, which they can do now anyway if they marry a Japanese. I did hate being a temporary worker when I was one, but that was largely because I was not told up front - the method of employing English teachers changed while I was in training, from permanent positions to twice renewable fixed terms.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Social stability is far more important than economics. Study Europe carefully Japan before you make their mistakes.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

How come articles like this never list the names of the types of jobs they are talking about?

Flipping burgers to me comes to mind, or the kid changing the garbage bags at convenient stores, but what kinds of jobs are we talking about? I thought all menial jobs moved to China years ago.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@shonanbb Well like cleaning super stores with washing machines and buffing machine, cleaning sidewalks with pressure machine, cleaning bathrooms, cleaning offices, dishwashers, garbage trucks, restaurant/coffee shops jobs, stock clerk midnight shift, constructions, carpenters, plumbers, air condition maintenance, landscaping, house and comercial building construction, heavy duty public construction like (rail road, roads, sidewalks), caregivers, fruit/vegetables farm collector. Almost that's the unskilled jobs, I don't live in Japan I can't tell if Japanese people will opt to do this kind of jobs for living rather earn more money and prestige going to a college or univercity to get a blue or white collar job. And we need to accept the fact this jobs in the long run your body will deteriorate gradually and the long run financially you won't get any reward just living for survive. But for some third world countries is better earn $10000 to 18000 Yen per hour than $8000 Yen per day so people do some sacrifices for their families in the other hand some people try to find loopholes and work undertable, welfare and housing. All depend the integrity of the immigrant/refugee/unskilled visa person.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Sure, as long as you chuck'em out after a few years.

There are plenty of unemployed Japanese people out there. Perhaps they should be filling out these positions. Otherwise, I hope they don't complain when the boats arrive.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Frankly I suspect this is largely nonsense. There's no shortage of labour, if you are offering the right amount of money. Japan Inc just wants cheap labour with low demands and ability to complain about conditions to increase profits, this will be at the expense of Japanese citizens and residents who require and deserve a living wage or better to support themselves and their families. Japanese people would move to the countryside if farming jobs were highly paid and they would move into construction if salaries there were higher too. There are many women who would be happy to rejoin the work force if pay was good and hours more flexible. There are also far too many people employed in non-jobs in Japan, freeing up those people would also help. It doesn't really makes sense that an economy should need to bring in workers from outside en masse.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Josh: Please reexplain. You lost me . Thanks

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Of course greedy Japan Inc. wants it. All the corporations care about is larger annuals returns for the investor - shareholders. They don't care at all about the many serious problems bringing in large numbers of low-skilled workers would cause. It's clear Japan Inc doesn't care about Japanese society. Look at how corporations have abused the use of the temporary worker laws. You now have offices with 80% of the workers who are temporary. Japan Inc. doesn't care about people, they only care about money.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Something tells me that in the near future, the right-wing nationalists are going to use this issue for political gains later (they already do, but even more so later when these foreign workers are in larger numbers).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Social stability and harmony are far more important to a country than the economic gains that would result from large scale immigration of foreign workers. The Japanese government should refuse and continue persuading companies to raise wages and hire Japanese workers. Let the companies that refuse leave Japan or go out of business. It's time for Japanese people to draw a line in the sand with greedy companies.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Foreign workers need to need to cost companies 2x what a citizen would be paid for the same job. The extra cost to the companies will be an incentive to prefer local workers. This is where other countries have failed - by not making the costs higher for imported workers.

The extra costs would go to programs that train locals for high skilled jobs and for social programs to integrate newly immigrated families.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Time will tell. Maybe Japan can make do with it's smaller work force and a little exploitation of some short-term foreign workers. Maybe. Or maybe paying for, and taking care of, the grannies and grandpas without a successfully educated and globalized generation will cause major economic distress and depression. Maybe Japan can make do with robots and some elite techno-s calling the shots or maybe an increasingly dilapidated and indebted country will be impoverished and marginalized. It's an interesting experiment. There is no vision for the future that I can see so the idea is to take it as it comes and hope for the best...Hope all of grandmas savings will help the next generation to muddle through. Churn out more salarymen and office ladies and bureaucrats, a little humbled, but largely same as the last. We'll see what happens.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Low lebel skill worker. Japan Inc that has branches in USA call push button factory workers are classyfied such. More efficient than robots. Don;t have to worry union. Japan Inc know

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm assuming "low skilled labour" means paying less than minimum wage here, as they still currently do

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's probably more practical to send the jobs themselves overseas. Because I can see this becoming a very abused system. Low-paid people unable to speak much Japanese, living on the fringes of cities in cheaply-made housing projects, companies seizing passports (a la Dubai). Something similar or worse has happened here before and the people at the top spend a lot of time making speeches and giving interviews where they claim it was no big deal and greatly exaggerated by the nations where they "borrowed" laborers. You already see foreign workers considered fly-by-nighters in the EFL industry-- where working conditions guarantee a large percentage of people who are going to be transient because there's little or no job security, advancement or future, the perfect self-fulfilling prophecy people who base judgments on stereotypes love to rely on to justify their own shortcomings. If these companies are serious about this, they'll invest in some standards-of-living infrastructure and offer decent wages and benefits.

Wait... they could do that already and find plenty of home-grown labor.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@JandworldOCT. 18, 2015 - 09:04AM JST So how much will they pay?

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Japan inc in US pay about 1 and 1/2 times experienced teachers after they are trained for push button remote control equipment. And so many places have shortage of teachers in US.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan Inc has used and abused foreign workers in the past whilst the government has had little to offer. I routinely ask groups of Japanese people if they would like to accept foreigners and the answer of the majority is a resounding 'no'.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I doubt Tokyo as they will be assigned to factories. There is no chance Tokyo people can complain lijke now toward gai,,,,,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm assuming there's a shortage because local Japanese people don't want to or can't do manual labor. If that's the case, hiring willing foreign workers makes sense. With proper documentation, minimum wage and perhaps mandatory Japanese language lessons, this can be win-win situation. Seems like Japanese government response is "NO" to any idea which is telling of how clueless they are in implementing anything progressive.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan Inc use 21sr century equipments, low skill labor no longer means manual labor. UAW and US Asutomakers lost business in USA with old concept of labor. Japan Inc will help their new wmployees get plastic cards of work permit. It is not oaper era. Japanese language skii is nor needed to woek for Japan Inc facgories. They probably use dimple off on than boysn o oshite kudasaio / boysm o ue ni agete kudasaii

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan should be opening the doors to high-skilled workers, not low-skilled workers. Adding more of what you already have isn't going to fix the economy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@fxgaiOCT. 22, 2015 - 12:38PM JST Japan should be opening the doors to high-skilled workers, not low-skilled workers. Adding more of what you already have isn't going to fix the economy.

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Which country Japan Inc can find high-skilled workers? Why Japan Inc need them?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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