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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 October 31 - November 6  > Gov’t proposes bill to accept more foreign workers without addressing existing human rights violations
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2018 October 31 - November 6 [LABOR]

Gov’t proposes bill to accept more foreign workers without addressing existing human rights violations

November 3, 2018

The Abe Cabinet on November 2 submitted to the House of Representatives a bill to amend the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. The bill is aimed at creating a new residency status in a bid to accept more foreign workers.

The government argues that the law revision is necessary to deal with serious labor shortages and seeks to enact the bill in the current Diet session. The ruling block attaches a top priority to the bill’s passage and intends to start Diet discussions on the bill on November 8.

The bill is designed to set up a “specified skills” residency status for foreign workers. However, the bill only provides a bare outline description of the status. Important details, such as the types of industries that these workers can enter and the maximum number of workers to be accepted, will be decided by Cabinet and ministerial ordinances.

The proposed “specified skills” status has two types: No.1 and No.2. Workers with the No.1 resident status can stay in Japan for up to five years and are not allowed to take their families along. Those who are recognized as having higher skills than No.1 status workers can have the No.2 status. They can stay in Japan with an indefinite term with their families. Both types of workers are prohibited from changing jobs freely.

Japanese Communist Party Policy Commission Chair Kasai Akira on the same day said to the press that the bill is unacceptable as it will give the government a free hand in deciding which industries “specified skills” foreign workers can go into, how many workers will have the new resident status, and other core items of consideration.

Kasai also said that even now, those who are staying in Japan under the foreign trainee program often have to endure illegal labor practices and human rights violations. He stressed that it is unforgivable for the government to accept more foreign workers without addressing these existing problems.

Past related articles:
> Abe gov’t new policy on foreign workers increases concern in regard to human rights violations [August 23, 2018]
> Revised foreign trainee program falls short of getting rid of human rights abuses [November 1, 2017]
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