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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 April 22 - May 12  > Foreign trainees, despite having completed their training, stuck in Japan as flights have been suspended due to coronavirus
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2020 April 22 - May 12 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Foreign trainees, despite having completed their training, stuck in Japan as flights have been suspended due to coronavirus

May 5, 2020
May 5, 2020

Due to the spread of coronavirus, some foreign trainees and interns after their technical intern training period ended have been stuck in Japan because their return flights have been suspended. Many of them now need public assistance with little cash on hand.

Akahata interviewed three Vietnamese in their 20s and 30s who worked for a metal-processing company in Yamanashi Prefecture.

According to Akahata on May 5, they completed their 3-year training in early April. The homeward flight they had booked, however, was canceled. They changed their flight schedule many times, but all flights were cancelled. They had to vacate the apartment that the company had been leasing for them and now stay in a Vietnamese coworker's room.

They told the company owner that they want to work until flights to Vietnam are resumed, no matter if it is part-time, but in vain. Being in a slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the company itself can no longer afford to hire any additional workers.

Their average after-tax salary was about 150,000 yen a month, and they remitted 100,000 yen monthly to their families in Vietnam. They now live on the money that remains. They said, "We are worried because the money will run out soon."

The training period under the technical internship program ranges from one year up to five years. A certain number of trainees and interns return to their home countries every year. In 2019, more than 300,000 foreign trainees and interns were in Japan, but the Justice Ministry does not know how many foreign trainees whose training visa expired are still stuck in Japan.

The three trainees said that among their acquaintances, a dozen trainees cannot return home, and that these trainees are also having a difficult time coping with life in Japan without a job and without knowing when they can go home. The three said, "We want to return home as early as we can. If we can't, we need to work."
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