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Gov't to tighten controls on foreign trainee program

20 Comments

The government has announced plans to create a special agency to oversee the foreign trainee program which has come in for criticism for exploiting foreign workers.

According to the government, the agency -- which will have legal authority -- will re-evaluate the purpose of the Technical Intern Training Program to provide interns with a wider variety of occupations as well as the possibility of extending their work period, Sankei Shimbun reported Friday.

More specifically, the training program will be extended from 3 years to 5 years. Some occupations related to nursing and care-giving will be added to the current 69 categories.

In response to increasing concerns over human rights violation, there will be more measures to protect employees, a government spokesman said.

The most common complaints include employers delaying payments, taking workers' passports, pressuring trainees to work long hours and not letting them leave their dormitories overnight, Sankei reported.

To deal with such cases, the agency will examine contracts between employers and agencies that arrange for foreign trainees to come to Japan. If violations are found, the agency will face the loss of its license.

The Japan International Training Occupation Organization will also be given more authority to supervise companies that accept trainees.

The government plans to submit a bill to create the supervisory agency to the Diet this spring.

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20 Comments
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Finally? It was a well known fact that Japanese businesses abused the system to their advantage of cheap labor. All know the system was not used training young people of the developing countries instead many had to work at sweat shops. I guess many go back to their countries having a bad image of Japan.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Held the gangmasters!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's about time. No chance of retroactive fines for the abusers, though. Pity.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So in other words, very little will be done. First off, we have yet another new government agency that will "oversee" this problem. In other words, some ex-MITI bureaucrat will get himself a nice cushy amakudari job. The number of companies that can exploit these workers will increase from previously and contracts will be extended, which will benefit the employer more than the employee.

Finally we have this:

To deal with cases of abuse, the agency will examine contracts between employers and agencies that arrange for foreign trainees to come to Japan. If violations are found, the agency will face the loss of its license.

So this new agency will examine the "contract" of a worker complaining of doing 40 hours over the extra overtime a week. But as everyone can see, the "contract" clearly states the worker shall only work a maximum of 35 hours a week. So since the "contract" is within legal guidelines it's "Nothing to see here, move along."

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Typo: Geld the Gangmasters!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Maybe I'm just cynical but creating a 'special agency' is also a way to insulate the government from criticism. If we hear more horror stories, the Minister of labour will now be able to point fingers at the agency and say 'I had no idea, but it's very regrettable that they didn't do their job properly'. I don't understand why the Ministry of Labour can't take direct responsibility for oversight of this.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

BS. The extended visas will help a lot of people who have to go through the process of renewal every year or three years, but their not going to ensure protection from forming this company any more than they have ensured protection so far without it. It'll provide a lot of lucrative amakudari jobs, though.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Been working with those "trainees" since I got my first job in japan, From what i saw, they are just a cheap workforce, I'm not gonna say that every place does the same thing with the trainees, but every place I worked and had trainees was the same, they would do the same job for 3 years, the same thing, again and again and again... also, they all worked harder and faster than all Kaishain, But the supervisors would always tell the trainees in a threatening way that if they dont do over time and work faster they would all be fired and sent back to their home country, The last two trainees used to show me their paycheck, and always asked me how much i was getting paid, They were getting paid 750JPY per hour the first year, and had to pay all the bills and taxes we pay.

Now, thats what i saw, but my opinion is: If someone has the intention to use the trainee system to make a quick buck in a foreign country, they are wrong from the begining and should not enter the trainee program, the trainee program is suposed to teach new skills that will be usefull for the foreigners that choose to take it, and now im gonna make it really clear here, I AM NOT approving what the employers do, every one should be treated with respect no matter where they are from or what they believe in, My point is the trainee program is suposed to teach new and usefull skills that the trainee will use to get a better job and get a better living standard in their home country, if you join with the intention to make a quick buck you are WRONG!

And second, the goverment should not overlook this matter, the goverment IS responsible for the well being of the locals and foreigner residents, and the government should be responsible for everything that happens, those trainees are working on Japanese territory, the Factories and work places are within Japan, and the well being of these people are the responsability of the Japanese goverment, if the goverment overllook the abuse, they are responsible for it. Not to mention that they should scrap the whole trainee program and start from scratch with laws and regulations that make the employers actually teach new skills and protect the trainees from any kind of abuse.

I told some japanese people that they should not abuse the trainees, and they told me "they get treated even worse from where they came from"; Ok, that may be true or not, but my point is, they are in Japan now, If they get abused here, thats what Japan and the japanese people really are.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Yep, the typical government response, add yet another layer of bureuacracy and bureaucrats who are as inept and ineffective as the rest. Don't expect the bureuacrat who runs the new agency to do much, if he does, he knows he may not get a cushy amakudari job once he finishes his term.

The illegal tactics perpetrated by the offenders is already illegal, and against current labor laws, why not simply enforce these laws? The bureuacracy already exists to enforce the current laws, but in Japan it is always necessary for four people to do the work of one. Any excuse to squander yet more of the taxpayer's money must not be neglected.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I expect this new agency will be as effective as the labour standards offices around the country that routinely fail to make employers comply with the law on overtime payments. After all, it's hardly likely that overseas slave labour will get better treatment than Japanese workers, is it?

These "training" programs should be required to show what skills workers can be expected to learn and how long it will take for them to acquire them. Once the workers have been trained they should be sent home. If it only takes a day or so to learn the job the "trainees" should be on their way home within a month.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They were getting paid 750JPY per hour the first year, and had to pay all the bills and taxes we pay.

What kind of company makes you pay bills?

Taxes, that's automatic, andthe company could get into bigger trouble for not witholding them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They were getting paid 750JPY per hour the first year, and had to pay all the bills and taxes we pay. actually youll find its less than that, many of the employers hold the bank books of these trainees, so on paper they look like there getting the minimum wage, but if fact there getting much less. I know of three chinese trainees that get around 70,000 yen a month and they work a lot more than 40yrs/week.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sorry but I did not read ANYTHING that leads me to believe the Japan will get serious about all the abuse this "training" heaps onto these people!

Hell all I read is now employers can abuse cheap labour for 5yrs instead of 3!!!

What should be happening is LOTs of companies being fined for abuse, money withheld/owed PAID!

And for this awful program to be SHUT DOWN!

Has anyone heard of any trainee actually learning something of use???

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yubaru, what i meant is, they get paid 750/hour but they have all the expenses you and I have, they have to buy food, pay rent, water, electricit... Im not saying that they should get everything for free, but did you read what wtfjapan posted?

". I know of three chinese trainees that get around 70,000 yen a month and they work a lot more than 40yrs/week."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They were getting paid 750JPY per hour the first year, and had to pay all the bills and taxes we pay.

Many Japanese are working for 750JPY per hour or less. Why is it an abuse? I'm sure they can quit if they don't like it.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

A trainee programme should have an organised formal training element, possibly with a qualification built in to it. It seems to me that it's the contract between the employer and the trainee that needs a review. As it is the programme is clearly just a work experience scheme open to abuse by Japan's ubiquitous middlemen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tinawatanabe, they moved here to learn a new skill, but they dont learn anything at all, The problem is not how much they get paid.... "the supervisors would always tell the trainees in a threatening way that if they dont do over time and work faster they would all be fired and sent back to their home country"

Thats a politely way to say the supervisor was screaming at the trainees to work faster, even thou they where already working faster than everyone else, every single day.

5 ( +4 / -0 )

Anything to make it look like...

the govt. actually cares anything at all will change workers have rights

Amakudari positions will be created at the taxpayer's expense, of course...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

For almost 3 years working at my current co. I started at 730¥ but now 750¥ and lots of bills to pay, 2 kids to brought up.... I still envied those trainees they paid 750¥ minimum wage....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

they moved here to learn a new skill, but they dont learn anything at all,

Igor Hideo, It's hard to believe because you can always learn something from any job. As I said there are huge number of Japanese who do simple work and do not complain. It is not only those trainees whose works are tough.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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