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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 November 14 - 20  > Gov’t proposal for legal changes will expose foreign workers to human rights violations: JCP Fujino
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2018 November 14 - 20 [LABOR]

Gov’t proposal for legal changes will expose foreign workers to human rights violations: JCP Fujino

November 14, 2018

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Fujino Yasuhumi on November 13 at a House of Representatives committee meeting said that the government proposal for the revision of the immigration control law will lead to the spread of human rights abuses against foreign workers.

On this day, Diet deliberations on a bill to revise the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act began in the House of Representatives. The bill, which the Abe administration intends to bulldoze through the current Diet session, is designed to create a new residence status of “specified skills” for the purpose of accepting more foreign workers.

JCP Fujino at the House Judicial Affairs Committee meeting pointed out that since 1990, various categories of residency status, including foreign trainee and Japanese descent status, have been created to enable foreigners to work in Japan. The JCP lawmaker said that the government, however, has been reluctant to take measures to prevent these workers from just being used as cheap labor.

Fujino referred to the fact that a number of foreign trainees ran away from their places of employment due to sweatshop labor practices. According to government data, last year alone, more than 7,000 foreign trainees got away from their employers and in the first half of this year, the number of runaway workers already exceeded 4,000.

Stressing the need to find out the actual situation of the use of foreign trainees, the JCP lawmaker demanded disclosure of data regarding interrogation carried out by immigration authorities on 2,892 foreign trainees who were caught last year after escaping from their workplaces.

In response, Justice Minister Yamashita Takashi rejected the JCP lawmaker’s demand saying, “The publication of the interrogation data would lead to the disclosure of runaway trainees’ private information.”

Fujino pointed out that in addition to motives for escaping, the data will provide other information regarding the actual situation of foreign trainees including the amount paid to brokers in trainees’ home countries, training content, monthly earnings, the amount deducted from monthly earnings, and the number of hours worked. He said that this information is vital to the discussion of the bill, adding, “The government should present data regarding interrogation of foreign trainees with adequate privacy safeguards.”

Past related articles:
> JCP Koike criticizes gov't for leaving existing problems of foreign workers unresolved [November 8, 2017]
> JCP meets with bar association lawyers over the issue of foreign workers in Japan [October 31, 2018]
> Abe gov’t new policy on foreign workers increases concern in regard to human rights violations [August 23, 2018]
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