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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 November 7 - 13  > Foreign trainees testify about harsh working conditions to opposition party Dietmembers
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2018 November 7 - 13 TOP3 [LABOR]

Foreign trainees testify about harsh working conditions to opposition party Dietmembers

November 9, 2018

Foreign trainees on November 8 at a hearing jointly held by Dietmembers of six opposition parties related how they had been forced to work under harsh working conditions.

The Japanese Communist Party and five other opposition parties held this hearing in the Diet building in Tokyo as the Abe government is proposing a bill to amend the Immigration Control Act in a bid to increase the foreign workforce. Emphasizing that the government should address existing human rights violations surrounding foreign workers, especially those under the Technical Intern Training Program, the opposition party lawmakers invited foreign trainees to the Diet hearing in order to hear their stories.

The hearing was attended by 15 foreign trainees from China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Mongolia as well as members of civil groups which provide support and run shelters for foreign trainees. The 15 trainees fled from exploitative employers and obtained protection from these support groups.

One of the 15 trainees, a Chinese woman in her 50s said that at a sewing factory, she had to work from 8 a.m. to midnight and received only 300 yen per hour for overtime. She said that she asked the company to pay 4.27 million yen in unpaid overtime and that the company filed for bankruptcy just to dodge the responsibility of paying back wages and then one month later resumed its business.

A Chinese man in his 20s said that two years ago while working at a cardboard box factory he had three fingers cut off by accident. However, he went on to say, he was urged by his employer to quit the job and go home because of the injury. The worker refused and was then told to pay for living expenses and medical fees on his own. The Chinese worker received support from a shelter and recovered his health and wellbeing.

A staff member of a shelter said that three Vietnamese trainees were unexpectedly ordered to do decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture, although their employer had said nothing about the hazardous work beforehand and the three workers did not receive legally-required training. The person added that the three Vietnamese were paid only 5,600 yen a day despite the fact that Japanese decontamination workers usually receive at least 16,000 yen.

Past related articles:
> Gov’t should safeguard foreign workers’ human rights before opening door wider [November 6, 2018]
> Gov’t proposes bill to accept more foreign workers without addressing existing human rights violations [November 3, 2018]
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