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Allowing foreign trainees to switch jobs stirs debate in rural Japan

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Allowing foreign trainees to switch jobs stirs debate in rural Japan

Why does it stir debate?

Isn't the right to change employers according to all Japanese citizens?

It’s time to everyone the same regardless of nationality. By not doing so means Japan will become a place to be avoided…

-3 ( +32 / -35 )

It's Ok for normal Japanese people to switch job but not those cheap labor trainee? In the past there's a position where people can stick with his/her master for live, it's called slave.

No wonder so many trainee are running away.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Japan-immigration/Japan-can-t-locate-12-000-foreign-workers-in-troubled-intern-program

.

Just yesterday, we have news where Vietnamese workers are not receiving salary for two months. Those people can't change job, even after two months without pay?

https://japantoday.com/category/national/88-Vietnamese-hired-by-Japan-confectionery-maker-left-idle-without-pay

-17 ( +32 / -49 )

Yeah, it's a double edge sword. How dare these workers change jobs when they're left in limbo for two months and without wages?

Workers are unable to change jobs unless they work for a whole year. That's a trap. A trap similar to the E2 visas Korea offer to their ESL teachers. They can't quit and find a new job unless they finish a year contract. And the amount of abuses they face for being unable to change jobs is crazy. Same for the foreign "trainees" workers in Japan.

20 ( +28 / -8 )

"Isn't the right to change employers according to all Japanese citizens?"

Foreigners on temporary work visas are not citizens. They've been allotted visas specifically to fill positions that Japanese can't such as "native English" teacher. "Trainee" jobs are meant to address labor shortages in areas of need.

It’s time to everyone the same regardless of nationality. By not doing so means Japan will become a place to be avoided…

There are endless lines throughout Asia to file for those visas...endless

Also, it looks as though permanent residency will now be available after only 2 years

9 ( +31 / -22 )

Pay your workers properly

Dont treat them like slaves

They will stay

42 ( +45 / -3 )

Giving them the option to transfer will encourage them to improve their Japanese language ability. Win, win.

26 ( +26 / -0 )

Also, it looks as though permanent residency will now be available after only 2 years

There's high skilled visa, there's Specified Skilled Worker. Those people working in labor are with specified skilled worker not high skilled visa. High skilled visa who can apply for permanent residency after living in Japan after two years. Not specified skilled worker and even trainee.

In fact those time during trainee, can't account for living in Japan for permanent resident application. Of course JGovt already thought about this.

-23 ( +6 / -29 )

THE relaxation has caused concern among regional firms struggling with personnel shortages that they could lose staff to companies in urban areas.

Yesterday : A large number of foreign trainees are subject to wage theft.

Workers held in limbo.Company execs unpunished.

Today: Many companies want to keep foreign trainees in conditions of indentured servitude and resist change to the system.

It is contrary to the fiction of the free market as if that counts for anything.

One described it as a "drug" that has "fostered a society unable to extricate itself from low wages."

The neo-feudal Japanese economy in a nutshell.

-5 ( +25 / -30 )

It is contrary to the fiction of the free market as if that counts for anything.

Japan where free market really depends on free labor, laborers that don't get or get less pay.

-22 ( +7 / -29 )

Just yesterday, we have news where Vietnamese workers are not receiving salary for two months. Those people can't change job, even after two months without pay?

Those workers were not working. The building of the factories they were to work in were delayed.

The company plans to offer compensation for loss of earnings from around early July to the 88 Vietnamese workers,

In the end, they got paid...not for working, but for being inconvenienced

-3 ( +14 / -17 )

No wonder so many trainee are running away.

Yes, they're using the training programs as a way to get their feet in the door...then taking off to do work illegally, under the table

4 ( +18 / -14 )

I don't want to be mean to Kyin Thein, but what kind of training does that marine product processing even require? I worked in different food processing plants when I was younger and I believe such work can be taught by 2 weeks training. Or a month max.

And remember, we are talking about a technical intern TRAINING program.

So what will the rest of the 23 months of training consist of?

Any company who tries to keep these workers for more than a year should be required to prove that the workers are still trained after one year passed.

But it would be even better to abolish the whole one year requirement altogether.

Also, we all read those ridiculuous news where some government or company raises the wages by 2 yen and such nonsense. So pay rises in this context is just a loophole for these companies.

Not to mention this language:

such as through pay rises

So what else then? Such as what else? This is too vague. And it's potentially vague for a reason, so that the japanese abuse can continue forever.

Typical japanese attitude.

-2 ( +13 / -15 )

High skilled visa who can apply for permanent residency after living in Japan after two years. Not specified skilled worker and even trainee.

So, Japan has identified those jobs which will have been rendered obsolete by mass automation or AI and have taken the prudent decision not to exacerbate the strain on the public coffers by taking in more and more unemployment insurance and welfare recipients...to go along with their growing retirement burden

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

Just one year seems a bit short, but companies might be a bit "nicer" if they know they might lose a good worker after 1 year. And I guess they won't be as nice to a slacker.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

@Geeter Mckluskie

Those workers were not working. The building of the factories they were to work in were delayed.

Companies always have excuse where their business don't work properly but that's not on the worker, that's on their execs! Workers need to pay regardless what happened, remember if companies doing good and profitable those worker will get only flat payment same as previous months!

.

However company excuse, those worker need to pay their own bills, they need to send money to their family, pay for their family daily meals, pay their children school.

Do you think, company excuses are enough? Workers should get their pay, no matter what as long they are employee of those company.

-11 ( +14 / -25 )

In the end, they got paid...not for working, but for being inconvenienced

Will they still get paid if those confectionary is not famous enough?

There's so many cases where those worker don't get received proper pay but the company small enough to be recognize publicly.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/11/16/national/vietnamese-trainees-overtime-pay/

-18 ( +7 / -25 )

Companies always have excuse where their business don't work properly but that's not on the worker, that's on their execs! Workers need to pay regardless what happened

The fact is those workers...weren't working and not getting paid for it as your post implied. There was a delay in the building of factories...and the workers will indeed get paid "regardless"

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

@almakukac

I don't want to be mean to Kyin Thein, but what kind of training does that marine product processing even require? I worked in different food processing plants when I was younger and I believe such work can be taught by 2 weeks training. Or a month max.

And remember, we are talking about a technical intern TRAINING program.

Yes, it can be taught by 2 weeks, even people that participate already has experience with similar industries before they arrived in Japan.

That's "training program" which already exist in Japan since 90s, just a name that can be used so they can pay those people lower than normal minimum wage. Since they are in training so it's legal to pay them less.

https://whyy.org/articles/japan-to-ok-divisive-bill-allowing-more-foreign-workers/

.

-15 ( +6 / -21 )

@Geeter Mckluskie

The fact is those workers...weren't working and not getting paid for it as your post implied. There was a delay in the building of factories...and the workers will indeed get paid "regardless"

When worker late for work, those worker will face for termination. However, when company give late payment, there's no consequences? At least accrue interest for two months?

.

I don't know whether you know about this but adult really need salary to pay their own bills.

-10 ( +12 / -22 )

There's so many cases where those worker don't get received proper pay but the company small enough to be recognize publicly.

Those black companies should be exposed and penalised accordingly. And those workers should not only be compensated by rewarded for having to endure unwarranted hardship.

Currently, there are 328,000 trainees throughout Japan. NGO watchdogs are keeping a close eye on this situation. That there are so few that you had to go back two years to dig up an article shows that this abuse is the outlier...rather than the norm

4 ( +16 / -12 )

 NGO watchdogs are keeping a close eye on this situation. 

There's law to avoid this situation in the first place, where's JGovt?

-14 ( +9 / -23 )

@Geeter Mckluskie

Foreigners on temporary work visas are not citizens. They've been allotted visas specifically to fill positions that Japanese can't

Japanese can work at marine product processing firms, can’t they?

In the end, [the Vietnamese workers] got paid...not for working, but for being inconvenienced

No, they got paid because the illegal activity of Chateraise was reported to authorities. The educated management at Chateraise initially chose not to pay those workers.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

"I don't know whether you know about this but adult really need salary to pay their own bills."

Those trainees were provided room and board in dormitories

-2 ( +14 / -16 )

The propensity for abuse in foreign labour programs is consistent throughout the world.

https://amnesty.ca/human-rights-news/canada-foreign-worker-programs/

Canada Foreign-Worker Programs a ‘Breeding Ground’ for Contemporary Forms of Slavery: UN Special Rapporteur

The best idea would be to get rid of the "trainee" ruse and just hire people as labourers in areas of need and have a government watchdog monitoring system that is also overseen by NGOs. A bad idea would be to let non citizens come to Japan under the condition that they will fill areas of need...then neglect to fill those areas of need by working elsewhere.

7 ( +16 / -9 )

@Geeter Mckluskie

Those trainees were provided room and board in dormitories

So according to you it's fine not to pay someone salary as long they are live in dormitory?

Interesting way of thinking.

.

Those Vietnamese worker need to pay debt to handle their agent fees and administration fees to get into Japan, where they should get money to pay those debt if their salary not being paid?

https://www.nippon.com/en/japan-data/h01411/

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Japan-immigration/About-80-of-Vietnamese-Cambodian-trainees-in-Japan-owe-debt

.

Also how their family back in Vietnam supposed to live and eat?

-6 ( +15 / -21 )

Yes. If your business is surviving only by forcing low-paid foreign workers to keep working for you, your business probably needs to adapt.

> Individuals with knowledge of the system say its limits on workers changing jobs have had a negative effect on the economy. One described it as a "drug" that has "fostered a society unable to extricate itself from low wages."

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Kyin Thein, a 27-year-old woman from Myanmar who came to Japan in 2022, works at the firm as a trainee. Political instability in her home country forced her to seek employment abroad to support her family.

She said she is now used to the work and finds it fun, describing the people around her as kind and helpful.

Like to be a fly on the wall when she's speaking frankly with her fellow foreign trainees on the subject.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

It's Ok for normal Japanese people to switch job but not those cheap labor trainee? 

Yes it is, because that’s their own country. This is the same for all countries over the world.

Foreigners have specific visas, and unless having the citizenship or being a permanent resident, foreigners need to work accordingly.

8 ( +18 / -10 )

Japanese can work at marine product processing firms, can’t they?

"Trainee" jobs are meant to address labor shortages in areas of need."

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

So according to you it's fine not to pay someone salary as long they are live in dormitory?

Interesting way of thinking.

Those workers ARE getting paid. In the meantime they were provided with food and board.

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

Those Vietnamese worker need to pay debt to handle their agent fees and administration fees to get into Japan, where they should get money to pay those debt if their salary not being paid?

Those agencies who had arranged to have those whom they represent enter Japan sooner than was necessary will also have to incur a delay in their payments as well. They also bare some responsibility.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

FREEDOM is a scary word for many.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Japan seeks to ensure foreign workers will stay on longer in a bid to address an acute labor shortage in a rapidly greying society.

Cookie cutter paragraph again.

The reality is there is no "acute labor shortage" in Japan. If these rural companies raised the wages to, say, ¥2000/hr and above ($12.50) Japanese locals waiting on the sidelines would rush to fill any vacancies.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

There's law to avoid this situation in the first place, where's JGovt?

Not everywhere and all at once, which would be next to impossible. However, if you were to agree to a huge increase in taxes perhaps they could be. One place they are is in the diet...enacting the "law to avoid this situation in the first place".

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

There is no secret keeping good employees, including foreigners. First, the golden law, treat others as you would like to be treated, foreigners are human beings who deserve the same respect as national ones. Work contract must be fair, up to 40 hours a week, up to 5 days a week, up to 2 hours of overtime a day, the essence is to garante a minimum monthly salary to bear the costs and allow some savings (most people come to Japan to save money). Some companies provide good meals at fair prices, at least a decent place to eat, to rest is important. Foreigner employees will stick to good conditions places, where they can work to live, not live to work. Gaijin people have the same expectations of being respected as human beings as local ones and their loyalty must be earned by initiative of companies interested to develop human resources for long term relationship.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

The time will come and soon when Foreign workers will NO LONGER need to seek employment abroad as their nations economies improve, then what will you do Japan?

-6 ( +11 / -17 )

Pay your workers properly. Dont treat them like slaves. They will stay.

Slaves, aren't you a little exaggerating?

How are they payed less than normal workers?

1 ( +12 / -11 )

So for 1 year they can be worked as slaves and who judges language skills? Most of these people do that ether money to take the test let alone study kanji that is required for it.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Treating the workers well is win-win -- they'll have a good experience, and they're more likely to stick around, meaning no need to keep sourcing new people.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

@didou

Yes it is, because that’s their own country. 

Yes that's right it's their country but it doesn't mean they can do whatever they want to enslave foreigner by forcing those foreign trainee to work in same company even with lower pay and horrible work condition. Without any chance to move to other companies.

Makoto Shimizu put in a good statement for this.

There is no secret keeping good employees, including foreigners. First, the golden law, treat others as you would like to be treated, foreigners are human beings who deserve the same respect as national ones

This is the same for all countries over the world.

Foreigners have specific visas, and unless having the citizenship or being a permanent resident, foreigners need to work accordingly.

You don't know anything about trainee visa don't you, people with trainee people are not allowed to switch job, even with same industry to another company. It has been like this from 90s.

This practice of course being exploited by many black companies that even average Japanese try to avoid. 

So next time you enjoy your cake, bento, vegetables and fruit, you might want to remember that those things were made by underpaid Vietnamese worker.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

The reality is there is no "acute labor shortage" in Japan. If these rural companies raised the wages to, say, ¥2000/hr and above ($12.50) Japanese locals waiting on the sidelines would rush to fill any vacancies.

Perhaps the cost of confectionery products being much cheaper in Japan than it is in other countries means that the minimum wage of other countries doesn't apply.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Kiyoto Tanno, a professor in labor sociology at Tokyo Metropolitan University, said that the "ability to choose your place of employment is a worker's right, meaning controls on changing jobs must be removed."

Oh dear! Now Mr Tanno is saying that workers' rights have been violated for Japanese in Japan. Maybe he should not shout that too loudly. There have been informal controls on changing jobs for Japanese for decades. It too helped keep salaries down by having all the companies agree not to employ people, except at the bottom, for changing jobs. Japan is reaping the sorrows of giving companies too much power and freedom for most of the last century as, with a low-wage economy, it cannot escape so many doldrums.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Slaves, aren't you a little exaggerating?

How are they payed less than normal workers?

https://globalvoices.org/2023/11/16/widespread-labour-standards-violations-among-japanese-businesses-with-so-called-technical-interns/

I have watched videos where "interns" have not been permitted to leave the farms that they are living and working on for months at a time. Also read multiple articles about forced abortions.

Threats of violence, incarceration, violence, exploitation, deception, abuse of power, in many ways these people are modern day slaves.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

The time will come and soon when Foreign workers will NO LONGER need to seek employment abroad as their nations economies improve, then what will you do Japan?

All forecast point to 50% of current jobs being made obsolete by AI or mass-automation within the next 2 decades. Those foreign workers will NO LONGER be needed

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Given that most Japanese companies treat their Japanese workers like pieces of.......... it is hardly a surprise they want to treat overseas workers the same way. But it is not unusual, many countries world wide treat foreign workers the same....if not worse. The 2 that come to mind are the UK and USA, the majority of those workers have no rights what so ever.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Allowing foreign trainees to switch jobs stirs debate

you mean people want to learn different skills and positions, maybe improve their worth?

or go to a higher paying job?

the horror!!!!

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

you mean people want to learn different skills and positions, maybe improve their worth?

or go to a higher paying job?

No, people want to get their foot in the door with a trainee program designed to address labour shortages, only to flee those programs to get a different job...thus reneging on their agreement.

Japanese people aslo want to "improve their worth" by gaining access to higher paying positions in which they can develop their "human capital"

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

offering them 943 yen an hour 

This is an unacceptable wage. No doubt they are working six days a week, eight hours a day.

It shouldn't matter if this is a considerably higher wage than what they could in earn in their home country.

They deserve more.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Trapping people in a job they don’t want to be in spells disaster.

Workers moving to Tokyo isn’t unique to foreign workers and it doesn’t mean everyone will up and leave for Tokyo given the chance.

I know technical trainees who have come back to their town in Miyagi Pref, because they loved their life there so much. Sometimes it isn’t about the pay, but the connection and life you make during the stay.

Also, if housing is subsidized, you might end up saving more in the country as opposed to Tokyo.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Workers need to pay regardless what happened, remember if companies doing good and profitable those worker will get only flat payment same as previous months!

Just to note, that's the nature of the labor contract, as opposed to say a service contract. The obligation on the employee is to work rather than produce results. It's true this means they don't directly get more when times are good, but they are also buffered when times are bad. You still get paid as an agent even if you made zero sales, as long as you worked.

Note also the obligation is to actually work, not just be prepared to work.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The reality is there is no "acute labor shortage" in Japan. If these rural companies raised the wages to, say, ¥2000/hr and above ($12.50) Japanese locals waiting on the sidelines would rush to fill any vacancies.

That's the real solution..

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

When I first came to Japan a work visa required a job sponsor so it was normal that you would work for the contracted period then if you were unhappy you would find another sponsor and change jobs when the contract ended.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Perhaps the cost of confectionery products being much cheaper in Japan than it is in other countries means that the minimum wage of other countries doesn't apply.

Gosh!

What an erroneous example!

Although conflating the size of a pack of chocolates with the price in Japan might be more sensible.

Either which way, it’s all small and expensive…

My opinion is to have them eat cake…

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

My opinion is to have them eat cake…

If that cake takes ¥1500 to make, will you pay empolyees ¥2000 and hour to make it?

If so you won't be eating any cake...

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

If that cake takes ¥1500 to make, will you pay empolyees ¥2000 and hour to make it

It depends on how much you sell the cake for, and how many can be made in an hour.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

It depends on how much you sell the cake for, and how many can be made in an hour.

Exactly!

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Exactly!

Not really.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

sakurasukiToday  11:13 am JST

Yes that's right it's their country but it doesn't mean they can do whatever they want to enslave foreigner by forcing those foreign trainee to work in same company even with lower pay and horrible work condition. Without any chance to move to other companies.

You don't know anything about trainee visa don't you, people with trainee people are not allowed to switch job, even with same industry to another company. It has been like this from 90s

Some companies do abuse the system or workers, no doubt. But beyond the cases reported in the news which might make you believe this is the majority, how many companies do really abuse them. We never talk about the companies who really do take care of their trainees.

A close relative of mine has been helping in issuing visas for those trainees and did follow them. So I have a direct background from involved people and not the media articles. Those trainees get a higher wage than Japanese for the same job they do. Working conditions are not different for them. Some are not happy with their job or employers, like for the locals. Never heard directly of any « slavery »

It has been a problem for many not being able to change jobs, but this was the initial deal with that visa.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Those trainees get a higher wage than Japanese for the same job they do.

If true, that's outrageous. Foreign workers in training should absolutely NOT be getting paid more than Japanese staff. This needs to be changed.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@didou

those trainees get a higher wage than Japanese for the same job they do. Working conditions are not different for them. Some are not happy with their job or employers, like for the locals. Never heard directly of any « slavery »

Are you sure those are trainee? Are you sure those money goes to their monthly salary? Because there are so many parties being involved, each parties want their share for every successful placement of those trainee.

So those money just don't go to trainees directly.

.

Also recently Japan open new visa category that being called Specified Skilled worker, which people mixed with trainee. They can earn little bit compared with trainee

Some are not happy with their job or employers, like for the locals. Never heard directly of any « slavery »*

Of course you are not covering all cases for trainee, some might end up happy. Some others are nightmare, change job? Can't do. Going back home, still have unpaid debt, passport still being hold by company.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/01/7d056dd0f1df-vietnamese-trainee-in-japan-demands-apology-for-2-years-of-abuse.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMxIx1z6Xn4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPcaIL8PFJ4

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I'll never understand how anyone can survive on less than 1000 yen per hour in Japan, let alone save money.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

 provided their Japanese language and professional skills meet certain requirements.

This has now suddenly become a requirement for all jobs everywhere within Japan (except for English Teachers).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This has now suddenly become a requirement for all jobs everywhere within Japan 

This is the same regarding English in North America for all but manual labour jobs

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I'll never understand how anyone can survive on less than 1000 yen per hour in Japan, let alone save money.

Considering the fact that you can rent a one room studio apartment for as low as $200 a month and feed yourself for around $300 a month...It's not that hard to understand

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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