crime

Ramen chain faces charges for making foreign students work illegally

36 Comments

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Right, the government can't deal with the problems of the JAPANESE being overworked, but can find ways to get the foreigners taken care of!

I'll bet the owners were telling them, "Hey you want to get a taste of Japanese corporate culture? You gotta stay late"

13 ( +21 / -8 )

I thought that a student visa in Japan does allow 16 hours per week legal work. Maybe it's changed since I was a student.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Actually, I think a student visa allows 20 hours a week.

I have to wonder if the operator ‘made’ these students work or if he just gave them an opportunity to earn more cash.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

If Japan clamped down on its own workers doing illegal overtime the streets would be awash in arrests.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

The move came after the police arrested a Vietnamese woman in November for allegedly working over her permitted hours at an Ichiran store in Osaka and searched the head office and the outlet. More foreign workers at Ichiran were subsequently arrested on the same charge.

yeah, that's right. blame the foreigners. Standard Japanese Operating Procedure.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

....is best known for walls surrounding each seat at counter tables so individual customers can "concentrate" on the....

I heard that if they did this in the men's toilets, these restaurants would be perfect models for others around the world to replicate.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The company "makes" the students work too much, but it is the students that are arrested. Something looks strange.

15 ( +22 / -7 )

It's 28 hours per week, longer during holidays, I'm on a student visa here at the moment. Some companies do expect you to work longer, not really giving you the opportunity to say no. If you're not strong willed they'll convince you that it's normal and nobody will find out. Shame on ichiran, I'll not be taking my friends that visit Japan there anymore.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Um sorry, but why were the foreigners workers arrested? I didn't read of any store managers or supervisors being arrested? Oh right the were referred to prosecutors whilst the foreigner workers got cuffed on the spot. Why am I not surprised.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

But you know why the Govt. goes after companies like this hiring student foreigners... because other companies complain that they're not playing on a level field. If the manager at Yoshinoya finds out he'll report them. Now in corporate Japan, where everybody is taking advantage of regular Japanese employees... the field is pretty level. It is very difficult to find people for service jobs right now....

6 ( +8 / -2 )

10M yen fine to the companies for each incident? Seems like that would end the abuses.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The Vietnamese woman was arrested? Whoa. Without a trial? For a non-violent act? They don't even arrest stalkers immediately after victims report them.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

"Men" dokusaine. ;P

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Reading the comments, many people seem to misunderstand some things.

Yes. She was arrested. "Without trial?" Yes. That's how it usually works, isn't it?

"What about clamping down on Japanese people working overtime?" Technically, the student was arrested for violation of immigration law. Not labor law.

I do agree with the comments above that maybe the students wanted to work overtime. But, it is also the employer that hires the foreign employees' responsibility to control the hours worked. I believe it was the same when our company in the States was hiring foreign workers. The employer had to be aware of the various conditions.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Just leave them alone. You can bet it's these students who want the extra hours of work as well, seeing as their student visas limit them to barely sustenance levels of income a week. You can bet this is happening everywhere. This setup is actually the norm in mass student cities like in Sydney, Australia. A lot of small businesses there can't operate without allowing foreign students to work over their allowances.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Um sorry, but why were the foreigners workers arrested? 

Breaking visa laws. While in Western nations authorities "may turn a blind eye", this is Serious issue in Japan. Student visa allows just enough work (28 hours a week) for student expenses and living costs, NOT for full-time jobs. It is to support study in Japan. Otherwise, jobs will be taken from Japanese workers.

The companies may have been deceived by the students. The company is providing new skills to trainees, so when they return to their nations, they will have highly sought skills in Japanese businesses. For example, they will likely start up Japanese Ramen shops in SE Asia, etc. Sad case here, but Japanese government does not want illegal workers in the country like happens in EU and USA.

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

Cannot understand why only the foreign worker was arrested, punished by doing overtime. This seems to be prejudice. Blaming the worker for doing overtime seems to be the result of very shallow thinking, very narrow mind. What a shame.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

More foreigner blaming.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

Even if some of the foreign students working were from another Asian country, it is in their nature to work overtime in general. I used to live with a Vietnamese student who did that. It is in the Asian mindset.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Last time I visited Nagoya I met a lot of Nepalese students working inconvenience stores. I asked them why they working in the daytime morning and night time and they told me the answer, 800 Yen for 1 hour is the same as 4 days full time work in Nepal where they come from. They also told me their families chip in to get them over here on a student visa so they can work illegally and send the money back,

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Good on Japan for clamping down on foreign student visa abuse - this kind of thing is the thin end of the mass-immigration wedge which has so impacted Europe and the U.S.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

highly sought skills in Japanese businesses.

As in working overtime? Abusing staff? Not making changes for customers? And the highly valuable skill of starting a ramen shop? Where did Japan get its ramen from again? Oh, yeah, a Taiwanese gentleman.

Violating visa laws is one thing; to pretend a convenience store or ramen shop is teaching ‘valuable Japanese business skills’ is beyond the pale.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

When I was issued a student visa to attend university here, the visa stated in the condition, that the maximum amount of hours was 20 per week. I thought that was very good because in my home country, students were restricted to 20 hours working, but only for on campus jobs. It was my responsibility to keep within the 20 hours and while my employer wanted me to work more, I said I needed to study and they accepted it. Here in Japan part time jobs are advertised offering flexible schedules to fit the needs of the worker so the worker ultimately can say no as I did. The problem is that some international students here have different reasons for studying and need better counselling. When students work longer than their visa outlines vs studying that is a issue of both the employer and student. Glad to see there is some checking going on nowadays. Student visas are for studying 80% of the time.........aren't they?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Otherwise, jobs will be taken from Japanese workers.

This is BS as there are not enough people around and will only get worse! The government should be happy, at least they get tax income from these hard workers!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Make the companies pay double time rates for over 20 hours would probably put an end to it.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

don't know about the case at hand, but there are MANY foreign students here whose main motivation (as with students and young people most places) is to stay in a foreign country, escape the family, have fun. often they come on a student visa and enrol in a japanese-language school.

to be able to stay, they need to renew the visa, which means re-enrolling at the school, and spending the mandatory number of hours in attendance. some move on to study at a senmon gakko and like that.

they need enough money to rent accommodation, pay school fees, eat, get to and from work, and etc., so the 28 hours-per-week pay, and of course we're talking minimum-wage gigs here, is simply insufficient, so they work over and above and/or take a second or even a third job. some are doubtless coerced into working more than they want to, but there are many who are in the long hours / multi-job situation by choice, in order to be able to stay here.

I know a young guy from Myanmar who works bloody hard, still gets to hang out with friends, meet people from other countries.... and has been doing this by continuously 'studying japanese' for 4 years.

and that's probably just a small part of the picture.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Ganbare Japan!: The companies may have been deceived by the students.

It is the company's responsibility to know and adhere to labor laws, not the employee's.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

It is the company's responsibility to know and adhere to labor laws, not the employee's.

Not in Japan. All these workers will be arrested and deported and banned from reentry for 5-10 years.

The management will be given a warning and perhaps a fine of 1,000,000yen. The matter will end there.

This is how Japan treats foreigners. The government is deliberately importing cheap labor through language school students who can barely survive on the limited legal working hours. If and when they work over the threshold, they're arrested immediately. There is a trial but the verdict is preprinted (Guilty in all cases).

They're immediately put in jail, then transported to immigration jails, then forced to pay a non-standard rate for deportee tickets to their home country. They're never given a chance to say goodbye to their friends or collect their belongings.

It is a slave labor ring orchestrated by the highest levels of the government.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

...are suspected to have made Vietnamese and other foreign students work over the permitted limit of 28 hours a week...

Paid overtime? Where I come from, when you work overtime you’re paid.

However, as most of us here know, ‘overtime’ in Japan usually means working longer without getting paid for the extra time you put in.

What was the case here? I find it hard to think the students would be putting in more hours without getting paid, but I could be wrong.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The companies may have been deceived by the students.

Sorry, gambareJapan, it ways right in the article that the president admits he was aware of the illegal practice.

and as Yubaru said, these fast-food workers are not taking jobs from Japanese people. There aren't enough young Japanese people to do all the minimum wage service industry jobs and lots of businesses are failing because of a shortage of staff. I can think of two in the area of my office that had to stop opening for lunch for several months because they couldn't get enough staff to cover the shift. They still need to pay the rent though, so the loss of that busy shift is painful.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ganbare Japan!: The companies may have been deceived by the students.

The Original Wing: It is the company's responsibility to know and adhere to labor laws, not the employee's.

Paradoxbox: Not in Japan. All these workers will be arrested and deported and banned from reentry for 5-10 years. The management will be given a warning and perhaps a fine of 1,000,000yen. The matter will end there.

Paradoxbox, I think you're misunderstanding me. Ganbare Japan's comment makes it sound like the innocent company was perhaps tricked by the dishonest students. I realize that foreigners (of any type) need to keep track of the immigration and labor laws for themselves. My point is that we can't accuse the students of deceiving the company, and free the company of responsibility. The company needs to know the laws for themselves, not just blindly trust the word of foreigners on student visas (in Ganbare Japan's suggested scenario). The company deserves whatever punishment is coming to it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Good on Japan for clamping down on foreign student visa abuse - this kind of thing is the thin end of the mass-immigration wedge which has so impacted Europe and the U.S.

Civitas,

You don't understand what is ACTUALLY happening here, this is how it "works":

1 Japan allows students into Japan to keep language schools afloat, take $$ from "students"

2 "students" know the gig, pay the fee's then start WORKING, most willing to go over the 20hours

3 Govt does this so it can collect taxes form all concerned, allows Japan Inc to keep wages low by using cheap labour

4 From time to time round up cheap labour ship them home, then allow more into Japan

5 Go back to 1 & start again

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Caution for Study in Japan Scams

http://www.jasso.go.jp/en/study_j/caution_scam.html

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

blvtzpk, “Paid overtime? Where I come from, when you work overtime you’re paid.”

The “over” in this case refers only to working over the number of hours permitted by the student visa, not to over the number of hours at which overtime pay starts. There’s no indication, as far as I’ve seen, that the students were not paid for the hours they worked.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Thanks for the link @Zichi. I wonder how many desperate students actually read it before they came.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sadly I think GW and paradoxbox have hit the nail on the head. There are levels of revolving doors here, and gullible students here often get minced in the process.

When two of our young women students were caught entering a certain 'bar' in town, they were arrested and flown back to their home country. They had just arrived, and had attended a mandatory (and Immigration office stipulated) warning lecture during the morning at college about how many hours and what kind of work was and what was not permitted. It was obvious to some that they had come over with the secret promise of how things work here behind the scenes. That bar must have performed years of such activity. I was astounded that it was the students who took the rap, and the college was severely reprimanded, but no condemnation or even mention was ever made of the shady owners of said bar.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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