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Hope, anxiety in Japan over opening up to more foreign workers

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32 Comments
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if they can't unionize and have proper 40 hour work week working conditions then it's not going to work

10 ( +11 / -1 )

This is just a scam to keep wages low for the poor and profits high. No one benefits except the company owners.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

I think it gives us a good influence to Japan. Many of them I met are good and hard working people. They reminded me Japanese people of the past. They are warm and friendly. Do not treat them badly. Good luck to them.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Despite Serious issue that many needy Foreign Interns had become victims,

Japanese Prime Minister smirked "I cannot answer because I did not know about it".

Minister and Bureaucrats repeated "investigate afterwards" only.

Japanese Abe Government and Ruling Party and Ministry tampered with even expression of public documents,and repeated hindrance or harassment against investigation of opposition parties to conceal inconvenient facts of their problematic bills.

Japanese Abe regime feels nothing about inhumane treatment against foreign workers.

Japanese Abe Government and egoistic economy group Keidanren want only "Cheap Disposable labor".

They have no intention to treat foreign laborers as same human.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Considering the plight--and high death rate--of foreign trainees (Asahi Shimbun) I fear very much for any new foreign workers coming in.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Japan really has no idea how this influx of foreign workers will effect their lifestyles and culture. Anybody who has had to suffer through the endless garbage at their local city hall will understand. There is nothing in any other language and they only have translation services on odd days, if they have them at all. That is just the beginning of the problems. Then, the monocultural and xenophobic attitude towards foreigners has to change. Most Japanese will try to use a second language if it involves getting money, but they will not try in any other situation. There is also the issue of prejudiced business practices and the ill treatment of foreign workers. The effects these foreign workers will have on Japanese society go far beyond, “build it and they will come.”

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Total BS to talk about this as something that might happen in the future. The stampede has already begun. Certain areas in the big cities are now awash with mostly Asian go getters who heard on the grapevine that Japan was in the process of dismantling the drawbridge and decided to up stumps and relocate to the new El Dorado.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Mate I agree, you were lucky. Of all my co workers over 20 years just myself and 1 remain working in Japan. And we are on the top tier of gaijin...... White! The others are earning triple Salerys and have triple free time, in other countries. I retired at 38 so it's not a big deal for me. But I am still concerned about the plight of willing slave labourers.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

They are doing it NOT out of altruism but necessity. More so that people in the world are awake to the fact that Japan has been mooching off other peoples plates while not allowing anyone to touch its plate significantly ( I thank Trump a bit ). They are given all freedoms to do almost anything in other peoples' countries.. including becoming presidents, and use those countries laws to vigorously fight for any violations of their rights. The earlier articles picture of the acrimonious bill being passed told much more than the whole article itself.

I'm sure they will live up to their old age tradition of a flowery legislation but whose reality will be rife with barbs for foreigners, whom, as we already know, will be used and sapped of their youth and eventually spat out when deemed no longer useful. The world is full of con democracies.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Foreign nation visa issuers ought to advise these young starry-eyed workers about how they’re being (mis-)treated in this nation, the poor working conditions some have to deal with, the lack of appeals, government insensitivity, etc. If these young people go through this hell then I put part of the blame on the mother nations of these workers, knowing realities here.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Importing cheap arms with brains and hearts forced to stay abroad.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

purely its a scam

4 ( +4 / -0 )

To prevent abuse, all you have to do is allow them to freely change jobs in the labor market. That is literally all you have to do. The availabiltiy of alternatives is what prevents you from being abused.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Language Is going 2B a Major problem here, yes the employers will most likely get cheaper labor however they’re going 2 have 2 employ lingquest 2 provide a means of communication between labor & mgmt. plus all the problems this is going to cost the locale economy. It’s nice that Japan wants 2 crack open its doors further but there's more 2 it than that, Best of Luck.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

'They are doing it NOT out of altruism but necessity. More so that people in the world are awake to the fact that Japan has been mooching off other peoples plates while not allowing anyone to touch its plate significantly ( I thank Trump a bit ). They are given all freedoms to do almost anything in other peoples' countries.. including becoming presidents, and use those countries laws to vigorously fight for any violations of their rights. The earlier articles picture of the acrimonious bill being passed told much more than the whole article itself.

I'm sure they will live up to their old age tradition of a flowery legislation but whose reality will be rife with barbs for foreigners, whom, as we already know, will be used and sapped of their youth and eventually spat out when deemed no longer useful. The world is full of con democracies.'

Cogito Ergo Sum

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

BLUE collars only???. Good Japanese are commiting harakiri ???.Suicide ???.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

"Business leaders on Saturday welcomed Japan's move to accept more foreign workers." Not exactly a reassuring opening sentence. The implication here is that business leaders welcomed the move, but ordinary people who aren't business tycoons weren't fully consulted. This is the kind of policy that nourishes xenophobic, right-wing populist movements.

"Our farming industry already depends on foreign laborers. We hope that the new system will enable them to work longer." Again, this sounds worrisome to me. Basically akin to agricultural kingpins in California's Central Valley breathing a sigh of relief upon hearing that they'll be able to import Mexicans and Guatemalans en masse rather than paying higher wages to native-born U.S. workers. And there's little doubt in my mind that Japanese elites view China and Southeast Asia in a manner very similar to how U.S. elites view Mexico and Central America--as sources of cheap, easily exploitable, disposable and replaceable foreign labor.

One key difference, though, is that the influx of unskilled agricultural laborers into the United States has been matched or perhaps even offset by the influence of a huge number of skilled workers in the fields of medicine, engineering, higher education, etc. Japan can't seem to compete effectively for these kinds of skilled laborers, in part because I don't think enough will ever be done to make Japan an attractive environment for truly large numbers of foreign-born university graduates.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is not being done out of necessity. There are more than enough people over 50 and married women who are systematically denied the opportunity for full-time jobs with full benefits. Importing cheap labor is a typical corporate money grab.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Importing cheap labor is a typical corporate money grab.

I think this is a major factor.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I hope that when discrimination and other labor violations occur, and they are bound to, that these foreign workers know the resources existing for them in japan. They are few but there are some amazing Japanese people who also want to better their conditions and fight for oversight.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They should be kept on an island for a year and undergo intensive Japanese language and culture lessons. At the end they can be allowed to integrate into Japanese society. If they don’t pay tax, city tax, health and pension...on their bikes.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

This is a scam, just like illegal immigration is in the US.

But just like in the US, this will do irreparable harm to Japan’s culture. Japan is one country that has so far staved off the false promises of globalism. Japan’s mono-culture is what makes it Japan. A nation’s shared language and culture is what makes it a nation. Chip away at those and the country begins to unravel. The melting pot doesn’t work; all the ethnicities just Balkanize themselves. Just look at France.

If this continues, Japan will no longer be Japan.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Japan’s mono-culture is what makes it Japan

Ainu, Okinawans, Zainichi and others with Korean blood are all erased when comments like this appear. My students from China and Nepal and Vietnam suddenly go poof. Not to mention that a good number of us are parents of wonderful children of mixed heritage. Are they part of this miraculous mono-culture of which you speak? Japan has never been the racially or ethnically pure utopia many in the West have imagined. At least the Japanese have taught to think this way. What's your excuse?

A nation’s shared language and culture is what makes it a nation. Chip away at those and the country begins to unravel.

LOL. Japan has been unraveling on its own just fine for nearly 30 years. It won't take an increasingly diverse population to bring about its decline. In fact, it just might help arrest it. But you probably wouldn't know any of this, commenting from wherever you are.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It’s real simple, if you treat people fairly they will work earnestly and hard. Foreign workers know Japan is a very homogeneous society before they come and are prepared to learn the language and culture as fast as they can. They know they are ‘guests’ in a country and don’t need reminding. Complaints about nuisances to local peace and quiet I imagine may be largely overblown by a certain ‘angry’ type that likes to complain about everything.

 "supported by (the volunteers') good will and passion" and that there is "no guarantee we can always secure enough people" who will serve as teachers.

Unfortunately it’s a common tendency for Japan to want things for free. If they want to reap the benefits of this new workforce they will have to provide at least basic support networks and resources. That shouldn’t be too hard a concept to swallow. Give and take, it’s how things work. A few yen spent in the right places that’s all.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The increase, however, created friction in the community as some residents would throw garbage from their balconies or make noise late at night.

"Without knowledge of Japanese ways of life, foreigners would risk being treated as troublesome, so the government and local municipalities should do their part and explain to them," said Hiroki Okazaki, a member of the residents' association

Maybe Mr. Okazaki can stop by my neighborhood and explain the "Japanese ways of life" to the bosouzoku for me.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If they don’t pay tax, city tax, health and pension...on their bikes.

there are many Japanese that dont pay into the health insurance and their fair share of taxes, what about them can we send them to the same island!?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No one has commented on the real problem, the giant baby in the room if you will.... Young people are having fewer and fewer children. Japan has negative population growth the last I checked and that ain't good, folks. instead of focusing so much on spreading out the welcome mat for more foreign labour, how about enacting some real changes to attract couples to get married and have families. Practically the entire population is educated or at least have finished high school and something afterwards. Bringing in foreign workers is just a short term solution that had better not become the norm in the long run. If you have lived in Japan, and especially one of the large cities and ridden on the trains, you probably feel that Japan has too many people and that some negative population growth would be welcome, but it's completely the wrong thinking. The reason the whole country runs so well in most of the sectors is because everyone has a role to fill, everyone has a job. I sincerely hope that young people here can feel more positive about the future enough to want to carry on their family names and culture through the most serious commitment one can make which is to have their own children.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan's demographics disaster that was predicted 25-30 years from now is already happening...wow, scary. The inability to afford to have families in Japan is probably a huge contributing factor to the extremely low birth rate. Young couples area afraid to have families as they have good incomes for themselves but if the women cannot also get good paying jobs in their child bearing years they cannot afford a family. There are some good programs for kids to help the parents both work, yet they could use some improvement. They really need to get off the discriminatory bahaviour toward women and age. You need to employ and empower your own people before opening the flood gates to foreign workers as the instant answer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The facade that Japan was a democratic nation has been swept away by these laws being passed without adequate discussion.

The Japanese people are not being represented here and the half-assed rules governing the immigrants are inhumane and will lead to exploitation.

Also, how will a group of foreign laborers react when their local restaurant or bar refuses them entry?

Maybe they won’t be able to secure accommodation due to xenophobic landlords.

For many Asians Japan will become a place to avoid in the near future.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If Japan wishes to follow the globalist experiment good luck. It has not worked out so well for those for those espousing and forcing this experiment on others. Common culture, language, and values and of course laws and customs is what makes living together in a society possible. Start chipping away at these and see what happens.

As for the comments about Ainu, Okinawans, Koreans, etc these are groups which have been integrated into Japanese society. There is no point in allowing people who cannot be integrated into society in unless you want a breakdown in law and order. In that case Japan should build more prisons and detention centers. They will need them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It has not worked out so well for those for those espousing and forcing this experiment on others.

We live in the best version of our planet that has ever existed. People are safer now than ever. More people are out of poverty than ever. Crime world wide is lower than ever. People are living longer than ever. All after a period of a few hundred years of constant migration of humans from one place to another, spreading culture, language, and food around the world, making us all better for it.

Don't let the fear that the news breeds by only publishing the bad stuff poison you into thinking that the world isn't a good place right now.

Immigration has made humanity what it is.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The door got opened Anyway. Young power should not be underestimated. No need to become overly nervous about so-called Japanese style. Good people with common sense would be more than welcomed and might be given pay-rise with chance for staying longer only if you like to stay. No matter how far Canada is better for example, it wouldn't let you in such way J-Government has just started.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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