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Supporters of foreign workers call for same pay, permanent residence

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I applaud these people for the efforts! Sadly the politicians are never going to give PR status to blue collar workers here, at least not yet!

12 ( +18 / -6 )

Useful idiots right out of the globalist play book. Don't fall for it Japan.

-33 ( +8 / -41 )

This has to be a very few people that actually think this in Japan. Fake news.

-32 ( +6 / -38 )

The best solution would be if they refused to come unless they were granted these rights at the outset. I doubt if many Chinese go home singing the praises of Japan. The whole system turns on keeping prospective workers in the dark about the horrible conditions they'll face.

China, among others, is also not without blame:

A 38-year-old Chinese man also shared his experience of working as a technical intern trainee at a farm in Tochigi Prefecture. "I did 150 hours of overwork a month, and it was equivalent to an unpaid work. I doubt newcomers to Japan would really be protected," he said.

These stories have been coming out for years yet China still allows their people to come here and get exploited. Let Japan deal with it's own shrinking pop.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why not give them honorary citizenship and have them move into your neighborhood?

The person that said this is playing a role and now that they have said their line they will oppose this concept.

-20 ( +3 / -23 )

Same pay I can agree with, but permanent residency is pushing it a little too far.

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

Same pay!!! Ha! The first university I worked for created a new level LOWER than lowest official instructor level (below joshu or jyokyo or koshi) just for "foreigner language teachers" so they could legally get away with paying far less than any other employee at the school. If universities that get government money and are audited regulatory by the government can so easily get away with this, what about all the lesser companies with far less oversight.

23 ( +24 / -1 )

Calling for "same pay" will make it a level playing field and Japanese companies would surely hire local people first.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Useful idiots right out of the globalist play book. Don't fall for it Japan.

Interesting, just who is going to be the person that helps to build that next "new" car or house? Some 90 year old oyaji wearing diapers?

22 ( +25 / -3 )

Useful idiots right out of the globalist play book. Don't fall for it Japan.

So, what's your solution then?

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Calling for "same pay" will make it a level playing field and Japanese companies would surely hire local people first.

There aren't any local people to do the 3K jobs, that's why these indentured servants are being imported.

Supporters of foreign workers in Japan on Wednesday called for the need to create a permanent resident visa for such people

No mention of that in the article. Ibusuki and Torii have been fighting for foreign workers' human rights for years, more power to them.

18 ( +22 / -4 )

Useful idiots right out of the globalist play book. Don't fall for it Japan.

So, what's your solution then?

People like that never have solutions.

Interesting, just who is going to be the person that helps to build that next "new" car or house? Some 90 year old oyaji wearing diapers?

How about those making the above comments?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

How about those making the above comments?

No thank you, it's easier to "type" than actually "think". Not to mention that they would probably screw things up anyway!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Here is an interesting article by asahi- talking about the exploitation of foreigners and the complete ambivalence of the authorities.

Misled and then fired, 20 Filipino trainees forced to leave Japan

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201811190051.html

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Interesting, just who is going to be the person that helps to build that next "new" car or house? Some 90 year old oyaji wearing diapers?

Japan has a wormforce but alot of them are clogged up in government paper pusher jobs that are useless. Cut those and you got more workers. But let's be honest here. The whole reason Japan corps want to import workers is because they want to exploit them. They work a hell of a lot longer for less pay than the self entitled Japanese neet. But you can't go around giving permanent residence visa Willy nilly. You need to earn it. Took me about 12 year till I got mine.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

No thank you, it's easier to "type" than actually "think". Not to mention that they would probably screw things up anyway!

Good point! I stand corrected!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

How about those making the above comments?

I suspect those people here that are constantly against human rights and even some measure of equality don't even live in Japan. Or, they already have a job working for the government in "IT and cyber.. ahem.. securities".

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Modern immigration policies in the Japan and the West are aimed primarily at bringing in cheap labor than can undercut local workers. So good luck with that.

People should be paid equally. But that principle undermines the mass immigration rationale.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Why don't they go back to their countries ?

-19 ( +3 / -22 )

I am all for equal pay.

Basically don't allow asking nationality during screening and clearly have them post the same hourly rate on ALL recruitment brochures.

The unseen hand of market will do the rest.

As for permanent residency that is going too far. Maintain the same obligations and the one who sees an opportunity will file for it.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Modern immigration policies in the Japan and the West are aimed primarily at bringing in cheap labor than can undercut local workers. So good luck with that.

People should be paid equally. But that principle undermines the mass immigration rationale.

Is it always necessarily about cheap labor? Sometimes its about trying to deal with genuine labor shortages in important fields. And these foreign workers get paid going market rates for their skills.

In the Australian experience its the case that low end workers get taken advantage of. They are seen as cheap labor and get ripped of constantly - think factory workers, process workers, farm hands etc.

But there is the other group of highly skilled foreign workers which get paid a fortune, especially in the medical field.

Its more complex than cheap labor.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Sometimes its about trying to deal with genuine labor shortages in important fields. And these foreign workers get paid going market rates for their skills.

So why is that going rate different to their Japanese counterparts doing the same work?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Apologists for the ruling LDP's plans of exploitation of migrant workers, and the infinite ways opportunists game any blunt 'laws' claiming to protect human rights, would do well to read up on the Kafala system used by wealthy Middle East countries.

If there is little willingness to protect even fundamental human rights, there is even less willingness to provide opportunities for a meaningful life beyond short-term, animal survival.

Such planned xploitation is a sure-fire recipe for the next Kato-Akihabara random killing, or Sagamihara murders ... only next time, it will be blamed on foreigners ... for being foreign.

For my take on how this plays out in Japan Inc., see comments under Paul's experience in the Middle East ... https://www.quora.com/Are-Arab-countries-better-in-protecting-human-rights-than-Israel/answer/Paul-Claudiu-Stoian

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Permanent residency after 5 years of demonstrating that they are good law abiding people should be fair.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Permanent residency after 5 years of demonstrating that they are good law abiding people should be fair.

But no voting rights until they become Japanese citizens.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

K3PO - Calling for "same pay" will make it a level playing field and Japanese companies would surely hire local people first.

Miss the point much? The reason they are hiring internationals is because there aren’t enough locals to fill the job vacancies.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Mother nations should clearly give guidance of what to expect when they look to work here. You can blame this government here all you want but the truth is the countries where these usually young workers come from should care about what’s happening to their children. Abandoned young ones.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If these temporary visitors do the same job and at the same quality, then should they receive the same pay. That is fair and reasonable and no company should be expected to do otherwise. That's how business works.

PR? No, just no. This is a program for technical interns only

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The fact that the LDP never ran on these ideas is also problematic. This is the trouble with having a near-permanent monopoly on power. They can just enact legislation that has little to no buy-in, foregoing public discussion. Of course, we know why they don't want too much debate--the conservative wingnuts who form a good portion of their coalition and voting bloc would go wild. But it goes beyond that, we all know the overwhelming majority of Japanese have no interest in welcoming large numbers of foreigners. And why should they given decades of fearmongering and nihonjinron/other-ing nonsense.

I'd like to see foreign workers get treated better on and off the job. I wish integration were even on the agenda, let alone realistic. But judging by what's on offer so far, there is no reason for optimism. These are wack-a-mole, shortsighted attempts to deal with a shrinking pool of labor and are thus doomed to fail. Simply b/c the architects are solely focused on how Japan can benefit from such efforts. Those actually doing the work, paying taxes, are the equivalent of livestock.

As ab.saochoco@gmail.com puts it above: "Why don't they go back to their countries?"

Do the work, no complaints or there's the door.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I also have a feeling this will come back to bite Japan in the butt. These workers are manipulated into living and working in poor conditions they see few Japanese in surrounding society living in. Look around the world, when you create a special category to let low-wage earners in for labor exploitation purposes, by the 2nd and 3rd generation you end up with poverty issues and some radically discontented individuals and groups. If you're going to let in immigrants, you should do it fair and square, or not at all.

But there is the other group of highly skilled foreign workers which get paid a fortune, especially in the medical field.

Its more complex than cheap labor.

This is not the category of foreign labor currently under debate, this article is about the blue-collar labor visa "Category 1" and the current bill to increase them under new regulations. The carrot of possible mobility between categories and eventual permanent residence is being held out to category 1 but judging by the resistance to increasing wages, its purpose has not changed.

I guess the reason is the native working population is shrinking but no one wants the economy to shrink to fit it, so industries are clamoring for labor they can pay with peanuts. This is a short-sighted stop-gap solution to a long-term population problem the roots of which are not being addressed and which will only continue to worsen exponentially in the coming years.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@Matt Hartwell

Is it always necessarily about cheap labor?

My post says "primarily" not "always." Mass immigration goes hand in hand with wage suppression, which is key to the inequality and hence holding back growth in economies where consumption account for 60 to 70 percent of GDP .

The classic symptom of a "labour shortage" is rapid wage rises. And this just ain't happening. Yours is a flawed narrative.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

the participants also called for scrapping the existing government-sponsored job training program, under which many foreign interns are believed to have been exploited

The word "believed" is not necessary here: many foreign interns HAVE been exploited, that's a fact. They are still being exploited right now and the government does nothing.

At the very least the minimum wage should be paid for all work, with all overtime paid at a higher rate. Employers that fail to do this should be permanently banned from taking part in these "training" schemes. They should also be banned from using agency labour.

Of course, the government will do none of this as these employers are their supporters. Some of the money they save in unpaid wages ends up as donations to the LDP.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Same pay? Maybe, but I highly doubt it. PR? No way. You have to earn it like everyone else.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Same pay, sure, must be enforced.. that way companies will rather hire locals and Japanese residents win and might actually be encouraged to work with pay rise., simple best worker wins vs cheapest.

PR - NO, earn it, just like the rest of us did, just cause you wipe someone arse at nursing home or work at factory entitles you to no special privileges., in fact to less since your tax share is smaller most likely.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Commonsense from both a human rights and economic perspective. Doing so would help avoid the development of an economic underclass that would eventually be seen as taking jobs from locals and putting downward pressure on wages. The human rights bit I'd hope is obvious.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What is it with Japan and slave labour?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I want to be involved in this discussion at , where ever place it is in Tokyo. I have 30 years working experience in Japan. May I know , which party should I contact to get involved personally ???.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

come, work, get paid ( which amounts to amazing pay back home) and go back home... there is absolutely no need for you to drag your family and cousins over...

want better life? make your own country's government to provide one for you or get quality education and immigrate legally, thru the long process and become a fruit full citizen of the new country. The process is there to prove how much you want to be a resident.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The Justice Ministry was found to have released faulty survey results on foreign trainees who quit their jobs, wrongfully stating that 87 percent of them left "in pursuit of better payment" when in fact, 67 percent of the respondents replied they left due to "low wages."

So, if they left due to low wages, where did they go? There are only three alternatives: (1) unemployment and no wages; (2) other employment at the same wage; (3) other employment at a higher wage. If you are here on trainee status and you quit, you are then here illegally. If you quit because of low wages but then take another job at the same wage, you have gained nothing.

I would think that anyone who quits because of low wages is hoping for something better even if you do not list that as your primary reason for quitting.

I can, of course, see the point of quitting a nasty job at a low wage to get a more pleasant job at the same wage but that's not what the question asks.

The difference seems like semantic hair splitting.

The one thing that is certain is that the trainee system is largely a scam (there are a few good jobs but not many) and has been a scam since it was started.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

My post says "primarily" not "always." 

Sorry about that. Stand corrected.

The classic symptom of a "labour shortage" is rapid wage rises. And this just ain't happening. Yours is a flawed narrative.

Is it not happening because Japanese companies are widely accessing cheap labor or are there other issues at play? like a refusal by the LDP to legislate higher minimum wages in favor of "asking politely" to what is a highly dominant Japan Inc business lobby?

I think Japans minimum wage needs to increase to encourage greater workforce participation by Japanese and to push consumption and growth rates Japan Inc is, by in large, rolling in profits and its pretty clear to me that not enough is being passed onto the Japanese workforce. The best way to effectively target that is through legislation, rather being pleasant about it.

Conservatives on the other hand point to Singapore as a country with generally no minimum wage legislation (some caveats to that in recent times) that does consistently well in terms of growth. I point to the fact Australia has a high minimum wage by global standards and currently enjoys 3.4% GDP growth, about 10 times that of Japan which is almost in recession again if not in it. So it seems to me there is no fixed conclusion to be drawn.

Given the very poor situation in Japan maybe its time they make a radical move, in one direction or another. There is not enough dynamism and competition to big Japan Inc to go the no minimum wage route in my view, so I think they need to push up wages via legislation.

I realise this is kinda off track to the article but I think its very relevant.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Confused as to why some people blame the countries, I assume governments, of the immigrant workers. One of the greatest, perpetual issues we face is the incessant falsehoods spread about how 'wonderful' Japan is. That is not to say that some wonderful things don't exist, but it's ignoring, and denying the negative aspects that causes basic ignorance of what actually happens in Japan. If the media insist on focusing on Samurai, Geiko, high-tech blah, and ignore inequality, then the immigrants can't be blamed for not having known the realities of said unequal pay.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan does not appreciate nor do the Japanese empathize with foreign workers.

"I did 150 hours of overwork a month, and it was equivalent to an unpaid work. I doubt newcomers to Japan would really be protected," he said"

And he is right!

Therr aren’t sufficient legal means to protect foreigners.

The Japanese government intends to extend its exploitative system to include many thousands more.

The iceberg will get larger and larger...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Supporters of foreign workers in Japan on Wednesday called for the need to create a permanent resident visa for such people and ensure them the same payment as Japanese workers

Not necessarily, depends on the industry/sector. Personally, I've always liked oz industry-specific 'award' system; you can't handle a saturated market or a sector where you desperately need workers the same way. Minimum wage, easy/not to hire foreign workers etc should always be industry-specific and reassessed every couple of years (i.e. 'let the market decide').

To give you an idea, in some cases, foreign workers' minimum pay rate is (at least, 'was') much higher than locals'; encourages companies to hire local first (unless they're happy to 'overpay' foreign staff). It's been working incredibly well in australia.

Re PR/not, I think a 'temporary' permanent visa first is a good idea. And family reunification should be limited; don't think a migrant should be allowed to bring/sponsor too many family members, but that's just me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So, if they left due to low wages, where did they go? There are only three alternatives: (1) unemployment and no wages; (2) other employment at the same wage; (3) other employment at a higher wage.

You missed out 'return home' for starters. Probably some others too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

bullfighter: "So, if they left due to low wages, where did they go? There are only three alternatives: (1) unemployment and no wages; (2) other employment at the same wage; (3) other employment at a higher wage. If you are here on trainee status and you quit, you are then here illegally. If you quit because of low wages but then take another job at the same wage, you have gained nothing."

1) That's where the government uses its modern slavery business -- including sex slavery STILL (since Japan is the biggest trafficker in Asia) -- to keep slaves in the system. Grant them "trainee" status, exploit them, then if they refuse to take it, quit, and want to raise a fuss, deport them. They certainly do not crack down on companies that use illegal laborors (ie. the construction racket) who DON'T make a fuss.

You seem to be making a case for the exploiters here, which isn't really a big surprise given your posting history. And it's no surprise, either, that in its trafficking and abuse, and defense of it, the government uses euphemism to white-wash the situation.

"The one thing that is certain is that the trainee system is largely a scam (there are a few good jobs but not many) and has been a scam since it was started."

Ah, okay... you DO say that much. Good on you.

Good on the people fighting for the rights of others!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Foreign trainees fleeing over low pay

The Yomiuri Shimbun

About 70 percent of 2,870 foreign technical intern trainees who deserted workplaces where they received professional training cited low wages as the reason, according to a Justice Ministry survey.

More than half of respondents said they received monthly wages of ¥100,000 (about $815) or less from their workplaces.http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0005355892

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Demanding foreign workers to have the same pay as native workers is condemning them to stay unemployed or seek employment in the black market. A foreign person with little understanding of the language, and little experience cannot possibly be as productive as a native worker. Your pay is determined by your labor productivity. People need to understand this very basic economic principle. The ability to work for less money is the only weapon low skilled foreign workers have that allows them to grow in the labor market to a position in which they can make more money. If you take away that weapon from them, you are condemning them to stay poor forever.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Wrong again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do the hustleNov. 22  07:30 am JST

Same pay I can agree with, but permanent residency is pushing it a little too 

Well, then these there foreigners have no incentive to learn Japanese, be friendly with their neighbors, integrate, and ALL their money gets sent back to their home country. Little benefit to Japan. And as for other posters whining about how long it took to get their PR status, yeah it took me TEN years which was insane. My Filipino wife took 9 months to get her US green card. Other countries are similar. But conservatives have so much fear, and even foreign conservatives fear the OTHER immigrants, which I find laughable. And one other poster whined about the spokesman having a foreigner live next to him and then he would change his mind. Had no idea that we were SO awful! Though my HOUSE is the nicest and best maintained in my cho.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

IloveCoffee

The ability to work for less money is the only weapon low skilled foreign workers have that allows them to grow in the labor market to a position in which they can make more money.

Huh? That clearly never happens and they have left because of it. Here's the link again from above: http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0005355892

"""About 70 percent (67.2%) of 2,870 foreign technical intern trainees who deserted workplaces where they received professional training cited low wages as the reason, according to a Justice Ministry survey."""

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@sf2k

I was not talking about foreign trainees. The issue with the case you are giving me is obviously the fact that these people are not allowed to switch jobs and compete freely on the labor market. Having no alternative to your one work is obviously going to make you less valuable to your employer.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How could those supporters be shortsighted enough for proposing equal pay for those incoming foreign workers when we, us both foreign and Jwomen workers don't even receive equal pay for equal work? To be honest, I do understand the reason why the men receive a higher rate than us women. But gone were the days when the bread winner was the male. There are female breadwinners like me and it quite hurts to see someone from the opposite gender doing exactly the same work as yours and receiving a higher rate just because they are male. But kudos to a small congregation of factories who have the same rate for both men and women.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Look at the other stats in the page link

0 ( +0 / -0 )

expat, great article. I like how they humanize those being mistreated--color photos, names, the particular restrictions, abuse and obstacles they faced. I'm encouraged by this bit towards the end:

As a result, it was developing a bad reputation in other Asian countries. As China, Taiwan and South Korea also face aging populations, they too will need more and more foreign workers in the years ahead.

It's almost like Japan doesn't realize the world is increasingly connected by these things called phones, or that by the time they improve conditions on the ground this place might not be so attractive to prospective im/migrants.

And trinklets, I doubt anyone calling for equal pay for immigrants would turn around and say 'but women should still be paid less.' How about everyone, man, woman, foreign or domestic employee, gets the same pay for the same work? You know, build common cause, stand together against the greedy men preying on all you?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That was NO training program but a cheap labour recuriting program! Unwanted jobs but lesser pay for miserable people!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@jc, I do think so, too. But my point is why would that group heckle for those who are still about to come and not for those who are already here as immigrants and more so for those native Jwomen folks. Must be a matter of twisted priorities. Or that they're doing so for at the end they'll be able to extort more from the coming ones. Just skeptical here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

trainee aint the same as full time worker, try googling the words meaning.. why would they receive same pay is beyond me

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The government plans to require companies hiring foreign nationals with planned new work visas to shoulder costs for their return home if the individuals cannot pay their own way, officials said.

The move comes in response to concerns that the introduction of the new work visas will boost the number of illegal foreign residents in Japan and worsen the country’s security situation.

Revisions to the immigration control law are now under deliberation in the Diet with the goal of introducing the new visas in April next year. The move is meant to open the country to more foreign workers to alleviate labor shortages.

The government estimates that up to 345,000 foreign workers will come to Japan under the new system over five years.

Under the system, companies hiring foreign workers with the new visas will be required to conclude contracts with them to guarantee the same or higher levels of pay compared with their Japanese counterparts, among other details.

The government plans to issue an ordinance that will encourage such companies to set aside a certain amount of money to pay for the cost of sending foreign workers back home after the expiration of their contracts if they are unable to pay for the journey themselves.

The number of illegal foreign residents in the country stood at 69,346 as of July 1.

To address security concerns, the government also plans to exclude countries which refuse to take back their own citizens deported from Japan from the list of nations eligible for the new visas.

The government plans to enact the immigration law revisions during the current Diet session, which is set to end on Dec. 10.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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