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Japanese airports short of safety inspectors

40 Comments
By Junko Horiuchi

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40 Comments
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Pay people more. Get rid of the contracting businesses and make it a public job which would provide workers long-term job security and a future. I guarantee you these jobs would be overflowing with applicants. Just like your local shiyakushos/kenchos - can't get rid of people even if you tried.

22 ( +24 / -2 )

Hey, let’s NOT tell people of potential weaknesses in the system publicly; once resolved, sure, tell how said potential weakness was addressed, but to divulge such information before it has been sorted out? No.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The new security metal detector at Narita airport checkin is hilarious, Men have to pirouette three times and still have a manual body check to be allowed through.

To keep staff , give them an annual air ticket & hotel voucher bonus

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Speed,

Great comments.It is not like they can't afford to pay more since Japan's landing fees are one if not the highest in the world.

These job agencies are destroying Japan's middle class and I might hazard a guess that most of them feature amukadari aa well.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Unionize, raise wages, and improve working conditions. Or people will continue to leave. I have an image of Silent Running otherwise

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Is there any well paid job in Japan? Besides politicians of course. For the 3rd wealthiest country there's not a lot of wealth in the hands of workers.

24 ( +24 / -0 )

Simple answer, raise wages!!

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Simple. Pay a livable wage.

Some of these middle companies take 30% or more from the wages.

Minimum 350,000 a month to start off, for 40 hours a week. 4 weeks a year vacation as it is a highly stressful job. Annual bonuses. Correctly paid overtime a strict limit on hours.

People will want the jobs then.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Pretty dumb situation that COULD be easily resolved.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

I hate taking off my belt and shoes. Fu. I also hate having my naked body filmed and available for hacking. I now feel sorry for getting angry to these people. Hope they can get a decent wage.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Well said Speed!!!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What a joke! Its obvious why, but these guys would rather suffer shortages than take a profit cut.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

"due to low wages" Well, as others have also suggested, raise wages. And provide housing in Narita to cut commuting time.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Improve efficiency of work, use more technology rather than hiring more people paid from your taxes, even if you do not travel abroad or even fly domestically.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

The labor-intensive nature of the airport sector -- with 24-hour, seven-day operations -- 

Ok, let's get things straight, just how many 24/7 airports are there in Japan?

Out of roughly 90 there are what, 3 or 4 airports that are actually 24/7? Haneda, Central, Itami, and what Fukuoka?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

One reason why wages are kept low is that airline operators outsource recruitment to inspector companies. As competition to win airport orders is severe, bid-winning prices tend to fall, analysts said.

So they know what the problem is but... Can't the airline operators define a minimum wage for inspectors in the bid conditions? That way inspector companies would have to cut other costs (let's say, the money the top levels are going to pocket) and inspectors would have a more attractive option.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Outsource everything! Then worry about the labor shortage and quality of employees. Well, maybe not since, and I quote managment, “It’s not my responsibility.”

1 ( +2 / -1 )

One reason why wages are kept low is that airline operators outsource recruitment to inspector companies.

Outsourcing is evil. Safety should come first. Not the commissions or profits pocketed by greedy middlemen. I was once contracted to a Japanese business that outsourced its recruitment. I found out that nearly a third of the recruits' salaries were pocketed by the contractor. And yes, the turnover was really high as the impoverished, exploited workers left for higher salaries. Dumb, dumb and dumber.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Absolutely insane. Just get rid of the middleman, hire direct and throw in some incentives. Hakken will be the downfall of Japan. Make legalized human trafficking illegal.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Working in airports is going to be very tough; long hours and low pay. If Japan wants to attract millions more foreigners to Tokyo and the country in general, they need to cut out all this outsourcing to inspector companies and invest in an academy for training these members of staff. Giving unacceptably low salaries for airport staff and at the same time expecting to prevent terrorist attacks is rather ridiculous. These individuals need to be incentivised to work hard. If increasing their salaries is not on the agenda, at the very least they should be provided with housing near the airport. Give them free English lessons and subsidized training otherwise God knows what will happen during the 2020 Olympics.....

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Labor shortage? Can't imagine why. Looks like the most exciting job in the world.

Keeping the bad guys out should be a priority at the airports. As Corporal Hicks said in the movie Aliens about xenomorphs: "I now we're all in strung out shape, but stay frosty and alert. We can't afford to let one of those b#$%& in here."

Tokyo better be frosty and alert. Lots of bad people out there itching to cause a world of hurt.

Here are some ways to make up for the shortfall:

1) Get police officers in other prefectures to chip in some time at the airports, because there ain't a lot going on as far as crime in the other prefectures.

2) Get the Self-Defense Forces to chip in some time at the airports, because that North Korea thing is just about over.

3) Get retirees to chip in some time at the airports, because Japan's got a lot of them.

4) Start profiling people. Let the Japanese through quicker than others. Only frisk the suspicious looking passengers, like old ladies with canes.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

People with low wages are vulnerable to bribes and a fatigued workforce is vulnerable to overlooking the sort of threat which might cause untold mayhem. These are the sorts of weaknesses which terrorists exploit.

Airport security ought to be one of the highest paid, lowest hours of work and prestigious jobs to be had. Create stiff competition for the position and rigorous training. And while at it, make it a job suitable for women (day care provided on the premises) as women are more details oriented than men (and notice tell-tale stuff). If train cleaning staff can be reinvented to a level where workers take pride in a menial but essential task so can airport security. Especially since much more is at stake.

Make it a government controlled and subsidized effort. Eliminate the middlemen. If that makes flying more expensive, fine. I'd rather pay for better security than risk a terror attack.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

CrickyToday  05:44 pm JST

Is there any well paid job in Japan?

Blue collar trade jobs, especially those working overnite to fix roads ( i guess) ?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Stop paying agencies there commission and give that money directly to your staff, create stability, good training and good moral combined with less hours and they will come come flooding to your jobs.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The short of it, Japan is screwed unless they start thinking big picture and out of the box - both which are concepts the large majority of Japanese are unable to conceptualize let alone act upon. The country is literally going to start falling of its hinges.

Robots and third-world slave labor (i.e. "interns") is not going to shore up the declining work force. Neither is saving the best jobs for Japanese people.

I don't have a specific percentage to guess on this, but think about most of the people you know or hear about who dream of coming to Japan. I'd venture to say the majority of them are of the "Japan is so cool" weeaboos who don't bring much to the table as far as depth of professional experience.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Absolutely insane. Just get rid of the middleman

Impossible, this is the way Japanese companies save face if something goes wrong. Just blame it on somebody else.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The inspectors at Narita are some of the politest that I have encountered at airports. They are well trained, and hard to duplicate the same in U.S. Yes, they deserve a pay raise, especially when there is a labor shortage in Japan. If I were a company looking to hire good people, I would grab these inspectors.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japanese employees are nearly all trained enough and very polite. Hence all paid more or less the samei.e very low wages, except if they have specific demanded skills.

The burden of agencies is so heavy but no oyaji is going to shoot himself.

I bet the system will collapse on its own.

By the way, most jobs are getting lack of applicants because there aren't enough to staff all jobs and getting worse each year.

Demography, demography...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Minimum 350,000 a month to start off, for 40 hours a week. 4 weeks a year vacation as it is a highly stressful job. Annual bonuses. Correctly paid overtime a strict limit on hours.

Right, you actually expect relatively untrained and uneducated people to make more money a month than the customer that comes through their gate?

Too easy to just say something like this, without actually thinking about the practicality or possibility of it ever happening. You obviously know little of the job to think they actually DESERVE this much.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Narita has taken steps to address the high ratio of people leaving jobs, such as enlarging the childcare facility within the airport to enable female workers to stay at work, while contests to improve security inspection skills have been held to heighten motivation.

This stood out. Better day care facilities? Fine. But organizing stupid contests (thus, expecting employees to work even longer hours!) WITHOUT raising wages? Did the idea of paying people more for better motivation even occur to them at all?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't have a specific percentage to guess on this, but think about most of the people you know or hear about who dream of coming to Japan. I'd venture to say the majority of them are of the "Japan is so cool" weeaboos who don't bring much to the table as far as depth of professional experience.

Not in my experience. I talk to people overseas all the time who dream of coming to Japan, and I'm generally talking to professionals (at my age, and in my profession, I don't know many people who aren't professionals).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Right, you actually expect relatively untrained and uneducated people to make more money a month than the customer that comes through their gate?

350,000/month is a pretty small salary (only 4.2 million/year). I would imagine most people who can afford to travel are making at least that much.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

350,000/month is a pretty small salary (only 4.2 million/year). I would imagine most people who can afford to travel are making at least that much.

Which is more than is earned, on average than people in roughly 20 or more prefectures in Japan.

Lost of folks conveniently forget that that yearly "average" is warped by the people in Tokyo, which has, within it's 23 wards and "suburbs" well over 10% of the total population of the entire country.

Take Tokyo out of the equation, and then see what the average is, as the average in Tokyo alone is over 2/3rds HIGHER than the national average.

The folks "down south" in Kyushu and Okinawa would love to have a job that pays that much! Oh and don't forget too just exactly who is configured into that "average" wage scale number.

It's for full-time workers, and does not take into account PT or contracted, nor seasonal employees. It's not accurate.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One reason why wages are kept low is that airline operators outsource recruitment to inspector companies. 

I'm confused. Why are security personnel working for/hired by the airline companies? So who's in charge of the airport? I would have thought that inspectors would work for the airport, not the airline companies.

Anyone know why that is?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Air tickets have a Y500 - 600 "passenger security service charge" added to pay for this security. How much of that charge goes to pay salaries of security personnel? If it takes one person a couple of minutes to check a passenger, that works out to at least Y15000 per hour collected in fees. Are the airports really saying they can only afford to pay 10% of that as salaries? What are they squandering the rest on? I'd like to see some accounts showing where these fees are being spent.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

End the contract worker system. Form an airport security corp with uniform and training. Pay good wages and benefits and make people want to be part of the corps. Pay for it all by charging all the airlines for the costs and the intended ¥1000 exit charge the government wants to introduce.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Absolutely right, Speed. Decent wages, full time staff contracts, no enforced overtime - you know, treating your staff like people not as disposable drones.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I spend a lot of time being searched and having my belongings x-rayed and occasionally swabbed as I fly once every 2 months.

I can say that the checks in Japan are the least stringent whereas the States even treats oldsters and kids as potential wrong doers.

Japan would often search my bags on arrival but Heathrow customs has never inspected my bags in a hand search although I’ve flown there over 100 times

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The situation with the safety inspectors is almost identical to the English Teachers here. Crap salaries because of low bidding and a huge chunk taken by outsource recruitment companies.

monthly wages averaged 235,000 yen

Same as your average english teacher.

Funny how BOTH industries see a high turnover..

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The govt does not want to employ the directly, or full time, because they would have to pay benefits, match healthcare and pension costs, etc and offer them permanent status after 5 years. They outsource because temp agancies are not required to follow the letter of the law, can put people on sero-hour contracts and fire them at will, because and they provide jobs for retired bureaucrats from relevant govt ministries. These agencies have become behemoths since Abe came to power, and are stifling the creation of full time positions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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