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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 May 15 - 21  > JCP Motomura suggests a way to raise wages for foreign workers in SMEs
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2024 May 15 - 21 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

JCP Motomura suggests a way to raise wages for foreign workers in SMEs

May 16, 2024
Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) that accept non-Japanese workers, including foreign technical intern trainees, have been unable to provide a pay rise even if they want to, because top-tier companies do not compensate them for the increase in raw material and energy prices.

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Motomura Nobuko at a House of Representatives Judicial Affairs Committee meeting on May 15 suggested that a system be created, under which large companies at the top of a multi-layered pyramidal structure are required to pay 100% of the cost of raw material and energy price hikes to their subcontractors.

She noted that Japan has been using foreigners as cheap labor by taking advantage of the economic disparity between countries.

According to Motomura, as subcontracting unit prices have been lowered, an SME subcontractor of Toyota Motor, for example, has shifted the nationality of its workers from Japanese-Brazilians to Chinese and Vietnamese technical intern trainees in search of even cheaper labor.

Only 44.6% of SMEs in the auto and auto parts industry and 45.1% of SMEs in the construction industry, which has a large number of foreign technical intern trainees, are compensated for the steep increase in raw material and energy prices. Motomura said, “These conditions are an obstacle for SMEs to offer higher wages for technical intern trainees as well as Japanese workers,” suggesting that a mechanism be established to ensure that top-tier companies cover 100% of the inflated cost of goods for SMEs.

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio said in response, “We will continue to do our utmost within the current system,” giving no heed to her suggestion.
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