Facing labor shortfall, some Japanese firms turn to refugees

By Sara Hussein

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If it takes years to be approved and even then only a handful are accepted each year, is this even a viable source of manpower

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Oh I get it, the companies want to capitalize on their desperation knowing they'll take any job at any pay level

11 ( +18 / -7 )

Can't wait to take those juicy, monotone labour positions from these diligent, hardworking Japanese people. I guess they will live another day, haha.

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

So much wrong with this article, mainly the woman that fled Myanmar but wants to return?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Japan has an unemployment rate of just 2.4 percent, the lowest in 25 years.

Because people have given up finding real jobs with health insurance, pension and stability. You can say hello to them at your local conbini.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Who wants to work for 813 yen per hour ? Even in New Zealand the minimum wage of $16 works out to around 1,200 yen per hour with no pension tax to pay or health insurance and with food half the price of Japan.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

If you google base wage rates for G8 Japan is near the bottom inflation will never happen unless people actually have money to spend. This idea of trickle down has never worked. Companies hiring refugees that's 12 candidates this year. I'm not an economic mastermind but there are for me some pretty clear problems with the current policy.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Yet another article that doesn’t make a clear distinction between those who have refugee status and those whose applications for that status are pending.

“global marketers who can sell their goods abroad, especially wherever they are coming from”

The place where they were in so much danger that they had to flee, even leaving their families behind?

8 ( +8 / -0 )


"We need your work, and your novel ideas that Japanese people don't come up with,"

Than this:

Dairyu was offering a starting salary of 813 yen an hour,

It would seem the 'novel ideas that Japanese don't come up with' are doing crappy work for ridiculously low salaries.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Can Japan do anything right wrt to labour issues...........

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Good for them, certainly they need to do more to give opportunities to foreigners.

But this needs to be balanced against rampant immigration, and restricting refugees isn't always a bad thing as we have seen nightmare scenarios across Europe.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Businesses aren’t charities. It is natural to pay minimum wage to a refugee, essentially a developmentally stunted employee as they can’t speak the language or know its customs and likely uneducated to proper standards.

Once they assimilate completely, their salary can be renegotiated but to expect high wages from the start is a neurotic delusion that won’t happen in a thousand years.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

"My friends say it's incredible I have this position," she says with a smile. "It doesn't seem that Uniqlo has a plan to open an outlet in Myanmar yet, but if that happens, I would very much like to go back and work there."

Thought she escaped there in 2008 running for her life? Why would she want to go back?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Thought she escaped there in 2008 running for her life? Why would she want to go back?

That I can understand. If the reason for her seeking asylum has changed, that could be the reason. Myanmar, after all, has undergone some rather dramatic changes in a governmental way since 2008. If she fled because she was a supporter of Su Kyi, she could be seeing a different situation.

The question, of course, is that if things have changed, does she still have a refugee visa, or is it a work visa, or after 10 years is she on permanent residency?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

As I have said before, Japan really needs to start look at how it attracts "desirable" immigrants before they simply have to open the flood gates to anyone that will as a last ditch effort.

By desirable I don't mean already well off, or even a university education, Japan needs workers as well, by desirable I mean those prepared to come here, invest here, keep their money here, learn the language, how to fit in with the local culture, and in some cases leave the bits that don't fit at the door.

Low wages are a real problem, even for local Japanese people, how anyone could survive on an ¥800p/h conbini job anywhere near Tokyo I just don't know..

As for her Visa, I think unless she is over a earning threshold (probably unlikely at Uniqlo), a manager or married to a local its going to be very pretty tough to turn that into a permanent residency.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Perhaps they are running out of Japanese people to exploit for low paying labor?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

There is no guarantee that refugees can come up wth novel ideas. They just want to hire refugees to cut labor costs.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

And Japanese are so strict with rules... we are looking for ideas that are unexpected and not predictable,"

ideas like forced unpaid overtime?

if I was an aslyym seeker from somewhere like Mali for example where you can expect 80cents a day for working, Japan is a cash cow. Work one hour get 8 days pay. But once your country is safe again you should go back and rebuild it with the knowledge you gained living here.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Good luck with finding the right person out of a pool of 10 to 20 refugees!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Up to 3 years to gain a visa without japan? I know only 3 ways to support yourself in the worlds 3rd largest economy without working or native language skills.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

“Dairyu was offering a starting salary of 813 yen an hour, around the government's recommended minimum wage, along with accommodation and three weeks of holiday.”

From the wording of this I would assume that accommodation to be free. In that case, although not great, it’s not such an unlivable wage.

For comparison, this link shows the minimum wages for all prefectures, the lowest being 737 yen/hr. And many Japanese are working at or near those wages.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Thought she escaped there in 2008 running for her life? Why would she want to go back?

Perhaps because the situation has changed from what it was a decade or two ago when ASSK was still in prison and the military junta ruled the country .

Not so different from say old time regugees from the Eastern Bloc or Vietnam or Lebanon going back on company assignment after rising through the ranks in the western countries that granted them asylum way back. I think thats what she meant ....going back as UNIQLO employee to help with setting up the brand in Myanmar? Makes sense to me.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The 2 refugees who were given asylum last year are really going to help solve the problem...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Muslims make good emplyees and enrich the society they join.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

The minimum wage here is a joke. These asylum seekers are just being exploited.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Economic exploitation is great.

No other country will blame Japan lol

Once the pool of foreign is too big, Japan culture will collapse because they'll want health, retirement and family schemes...

Foresee and see are two different things.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I hope human rights' lawyers are there to help the people with the contracts, because I can just imagine they're akin to police confessions -- which they are unable to understand -- and a smiling person saying, "Sign here, please". If they are following the rule of law then this is FINALLY a step in the right direction in addressing shortage issues.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

More Countries should follow the same "procedures" as Japan. Thereby these Foreign Countries would be developed rather than going into the dumps!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

a starting salary of 813 yen an hour, around the government's recommended minimum wage, along with accommodation and three weeks of holiday.

This should be doubled so the company would first try to hire locally rather than exploit foreigners. That way foreigners hired have more options. Also, minimum wage for what? It's not a living wage

1 ( +2 / -1 )

All asylum seekers and refugees have jobs and they are working in hospitality, manufacturing and construction industry. They have to work for to support themselves and their families back home. They did not report it to Government agencies about where they are working.

To get the job at Company, the job seeker has to pay broker money, at least one month salary to the middleman mostly that person was their countryman and was already working at the Company. The middleman job broker charge fifty to ten thousand Yen for even arubito job at restaurant.

Some of overstay aliens turned asylum seekers are working as a shop assistant at Electronic Appliance shops in Akihabara for many decades. Also, these kinds of peoples are working in an auto parts manufactures for more than two decades.

I have friends from South East Asia and South Asia countries. They were overstaying aliens and living in Japan for five years to ten years and working in auto parts factories and Pachinko in Nagoya. Later, they applied for asylum because some of their countrymen are applying for asylum to stay in Japan. Most asylum seekers are not genuine asylum seekers and they are opportunist economy refugees.

Perhaps, Miss Sara Hussein was trying to promote more overstay aliens to seek asylum in Japan. Many asylum seekers were coming from Muslim countries. The Japanese Government should not encourage Japanese Company to sort out their labor shortage by employing asylum seekers because it will encourage overstay aliens to apply asylum for to stay and work in Japan. They are economic refugees and not genuine refugees. There are some peoples who are doing as brokers and taking money from the person who wants to apply asylum in Japan. The brokers will write a fictional story and taught them and filling Application for Recognition of Refugee Status for peoples who seeking asylum in Japan. It’s a breaking immigration law.

The Japanese Government should open Employment Agency in nominating countries and import contract skilled labors. If the Japanese Government has imported skilled labors via local employment Agency and then there can be involving human trafficking

1 ( +1 / -0 )

opportunist economy refugees

what does that even mean if they were employed for more than 5 years and the company keep hiring under the table? Who is the opportunist here?

Don't blame people when the immigration system is broken that even companies work around it

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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