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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 March 27 - April 2  > Another 43 deaths of foreign trainees detected in new report
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2019 March 27 - April 2 [LABOR]

Another 43 deaths of foreign trainees detected in new report

March 30, 2019
A Justice Ministry project team investigating cases of disappearances and deaths among foreign trainees on March 29 released a report which indicates that 43 foreign trainees died between 2012 and 2017. With the release of this report, the number of deaths of foreign trainees during the same period of time reached a total of 171.

The PT report pointed out that the 43 deaths were undetected because of a lack of a system to get a full picture of deaths of foreign trainees. As a major reason for this, the PT cited that regional immigration bureaus omitted to report these cases and that the central bureau failed to check carefully if a local bureau’s report was accurate.

Regarding investigations of 5,218 foreign trainees who had run away from their workplaces, the PT report recognized that companies where 759 trainees ran away had allegedly committed illegal acts or wrongdoings, such as the violation of the minimum wage law. On the other hand, the report stopped short of judging the illegality of companies where about 2,300 foreign trainees went missing.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Nihi Sohei commented on the Justice Ministry report and said that the minimum wage violation and other lawless activities which have been found so far are just the tip of the iceberg. He pointed out that in addition to companies which refused to cooperate with the PT probe, firms which were unreachable due to bankruptcy or other reasons should also be suspected of conducting serious human rights abuses against foreign trainees.

Nihi criticized the project team for neglecting to look into sending organizations which impose a huge amount of fees on foreign trainees to come to Japan. He stressed that the PT report falls short of attempting to solve structural problems related to the hiring of the foreign trainees and in the internship program itself. Due to financial burdens imposed by their domestic brokers, foreign trainees are unable to voice their complaints about low wages and sweatshop-like working conditions, Nihi said.

Nihi demanded that the government stop implementing the new system which will expand the acceptance of foreign workers in April and instead work hard to eliminate illegal acts under the foreign trainee program.

Past related articles:
> 174 foreign trainees died in eight years [ December 8, 2018]
> 85% of runaway Vietnamese trainees conned out of unfair commissions to come to Japan [December 7, 2018]
> 67% of ‘runaway’ foreign trainees paid less than Japan’s minimum wage [December 4, 2018]

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