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Japan sets up panel to review foreign trainee program

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How do they appoint these panels? Who appoints them? Who pays for them? What are they expected to recommend by those who appoint them? These seem like basic journalistic questions, yet the press just seem to let it all go like there is nothing to consider.

foreign human resources

What an ugly description. It seems to say something about the attitude right from the outset.

-3 ( +20 / -23 )

Akihiko Tanaka, president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency

The programme shouldn't be seen as alms, but acknowledge that workers may want to continue in Japan and make a life here. It's a win/win in terms of growing participants, the companies hiring them, and society.

Anything less is cynical exploitation aimed at competing at the bottom feeder end of the value chain.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Here's an idea: Work on chiseling away the feelings of superiority many Japanese seem to have when put in a position of power over people from other Asian countries.

-13 ( +14 / -27 )

At study sessions held by the justice minister earlier this year, participating experts said there was a lack of information shared to both trainees and employers prior to the start of the internships, which has led to a discrepancy between wages and skills.

Among other issues discussed included trainees incurring large debts to enter Japan, working illegal hours and not receiving wages.

Employers know well they only need to pay less compared for these cheap labor.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Japan-immigration/Foreign-workers-in-Japan-earn-only-70-of-average-pay

Not only that they force them to work extra hours without pay, to increase their profit margin while taking advantage is not easy for them to change job due their trainee visa restriction.

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

Also it's in official report that can be considered as human traficking.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/07/20/national/us-state-department-japan-human-trafficking/

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

Foreign Trainees should only be limited to those hired by Japanese Multi-Nationals overseas and sent here to Japan for additional training before being returned to their hiring location to continue their employment.

That approach would resolve the exploitation issue, that currently plagues the "foreign trainee program".

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Less racism more respect would be a start!

5 ( +13 / -8 )

Japanese companies never learn from the past.

-15 ( +8 / -23 )

Japanese companies treat their own indigenous workers as throwaway “human resources” so foreigners are going to be treated even worse.

Do we need a panel of ‘experts’ to realise that laws in Japan need to be made to protect the vulnerable?

-6 ( +11 / -17 )

Another of these useless panel that they love so much.

It will work slowly,and ending to “urge” or recommend some action and as usual little to nothing will change.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

Japanese companies treat their own Japanese staff like disposable garbage so I wonder how they will treat foreign 'HR resources?'

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

It's pretty simple: The Japanese employers must be required to issue - or arrange to issue - globally recognized job-skill certifications to the "interns" after their program ends.

The workers can then use the certification to apply for skilled job positions almost anywhere in the world. Guess what, folks, this is how job skills are transferred. It's obvious but the Japanese don't seem to get it. This is really the only way for the "intern" program to become legit.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Hope they may sure this is not a discussion panel but a thorough process for getting an effective program up that doesn’t let black companies destroy so many dreams….wait a minute….as long as there is a corrupt official somewhere there will always be a way….

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Just rename it as the "Japan imported labor scheme for jobs Japanese do not want to do for the salary paid".

Be honest and upfront and uphold the contract requirements on both sides.

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

No matter what they find, very little, if any, will come out of it. Japan is progressive in some areas but this isn't one of them. The panel will come up with recommendations which won't truly be taken seriously much less implemented, then the scandal will die down and it will be no different than before and the next scandal will happen. Wash, rinse and repeat.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Among other issues discussed included trainees incurring large debts to enter Japan, working illegal hours and not receiving wages.

These are the big three issues. Employers should cover transportation costs in and out. I'm not sure how health insurance works, but employers should pay premiums if that is required.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The programme shouldn't be seen as alms, but acknowledge that workers may want to continue in Japan and make a life here

Before you make comments about someone or something, you really should educate yourself as to who or what you are talking about

I see you dont know about JICA, as their program is not about training people to work and live in Japan. The JICA program accepts trainees from foreign countries, typically 3rd world, and teaches them skills they can learn and then go back home and teach others.

JICA also sends people all over the world to have Japanese train and educate people in under developed countries as well.

JICA's trainees are NOT a part of the problem, and this guy IS one person who should be on the board!

The Japan International Cooperation Agency is a governmental agency that delivers the bulk of Official Development Assistance for the government of Japan. It is chartered with assisting economic and social growth in developing countries, and the promotion of international cooperation

https://www.jica.go.jp/english/index.html

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

It's pretty simple: The Japanese employers must be required to issue - or arrange to issue - globally recognized job-skill certifications to the "interns" after their program ends.

Please share some examples of the certifications you refer to.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's a good first move for reform although the timetable seems a little bit long and slow.

A simple solution may be to abolish the traineeship altogether and put prospective foreign workers under the category of 特定技能 or "special skills" at the entry level. By doing so, legal adjustment would be minimal.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Please share some examples of the certifications you refer to.

Welding: IIW welder: international certification

http://iiwelding.org/qualification-certification

Plumbing: CFD

https://www.aspe.org/education-credentialing/cpd/

Pouring Concrete

https://www.theict.org.uk/Certification.asp

Permaculture

https://ce.uhcc.hawaii.edu/search/publicCourseSearchDetails.do?method=load&courseId=4585243

and so on.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Before you make comments about someone or something, you really should educate yourself as to who or what you are talking about

I've had multiple interactions with JICA overseas. The skills transfer in this scheme is too often negligible with the sourcing of regionally cost-competitive labour the primary aim.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

...members are expected to meet once a month and compile a midterm report around next spring before submitting a final report around the fall of 2023. Relevant government ministries and agencies will then revise the actual program.

Ah, the famous speed & efficiency of J- bureaucracy in action...so there may be a few tatemae tweaks to the program by 2024 if everything goes "smoothly". Comedy.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Do you really need 3years to "train" on how to pick fruits, plant vegetables and feed livestock? Can they not learn how to become machine operators, welders, painters and laborers on their own countries?

Lets call spade a spade, this is imported cheap labor for some SouthEast Asians willing to leave family behind and come to Japan even with ridiculous placement fees. And with the value of the YEN nowadays, their earnings are not so different back home living with their families.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

"resulted in mounting criticism at home and abroad for the decades-old program, with claims that it is a cover for companies to import cheap labor rather than a program to transfer skills to developing countries."

That is exactly what it is at least in the minds of most employers, anyone who thinks otherwise is out of touch with reality.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Pay Japanese a decent wage and we don’t need these people to get money and send it out of our country depleting our economy.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

A panel of 15 Japanese men between 80 and 105 years old

0 ( +6 / -6 )

The longer a post stays up that is in any way remotely critical of any tiny aspect of Japan the more negative votes it gets, yet no one is prepared to make the case that, say, in my case, that journalists routinely investigate panels or that "foreign human resources" is a fair-minded description.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Where will these (now unemployed?) Japanese people come from?

Pay Japanese a decent wage and we don’t need these people to get money and send it out of our country depleting our economy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How do they appoint these panels? Who appoints them?

According to a Japanese media outlet, 15 people, including lawyers recommended by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, executives of economic organizations, mayors of local governments, and researchers on immigration policy, were selected as members of the panel of experts. Regarding Akihiko Tanaka, president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), who was appointed chairman, the Immigration Services Agency of Japan, which serves as the secretariat, said, "We have selected a person who has specialized knowledge in a wide range of fields."

Judging from this report, it appears that the Immigration Services Agency of Japan chooses and appoints the "panel of experts" though it might be more accurate to describe the experts as stakeholders. Noticeably absent are labour unions and NGOs who are often left to deal with the fallout of the broken system. Also, I assume by "executives of economic organizations" they mean the Chairman of Keidanren and other similar "economic organizations".

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Thank you, Bruce Chatwin, for your interesting research. It actually creates as many questions as answers. Certainly, we are entitled to ask whether the panel is really as objective and unbiased as it should be. To what extent are they expected to challenge the Immigration Services Agency policy? How much are they there to sugar-coat and merely make a few uncontroversial suggestions. How are they remunerated? I don't mean you should find out, of course, only that the media should. And they should do this for every panel appointed for any purpose. Thanks again.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@Bruce Chatwin so it's cronyism basically and a kind of racket.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

They will probably change the law, but it won't make any difference because they won't enforce it. The law will be tatemae to make it look as if Japan is doing something to rectify the situation whereas Japan does not care about the trainee's conditions.

The employers already frequently break existing laws with impunity. What makes anyone think they will obey new laws which will not be enforced.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

A panel of 15 Japanese men between 80 and 105 years old"

Spot on mate.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Excellent, this program must be improved for better conditions of the trained and to help Japan...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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