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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 April 18 - 24  > JCP Dietmember calls on government to put end to employers’ unfair use of foreign ‘trainees’
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2007 April 18 - 24 [LABOR]

JCP Dietmember calls on government to put end to employers’ unfair use of foreign ‘trainees’

April 21, 2007
At a House of Representatives Labor Committee meeting on April 20, Japanese Communist Party representative Takahashi Chizuko demanded that the government put an end to employers’ unfair practice of forcing foreign “trainees” to work under harsh working conditions.

Takahashi cited a case of 16 Vietnamese women who had worked at an apparel manufacturer in Fukushima Prefecture. This company forced them to work 164 hours a month for an hourly pay of 300 yen, less than half Fukushima’s hourly minimum wage.

As a result of the company’s closure, they had no choice but to go back to Vietnam. They were unable to recover a part of their wages, including 900,000 yen per worker that the company had forcibly collected from them as “savings.”

Before coming to Japan as trainees, each of them paid more than 1.2 million yen to an agent as fees and deposits. Some of them borrowed the money using their parents’ right to use farmland as collateral.

In reply to Takahashi’s question, Immigration Bureau Director Inami Toshio, admitted that this case is illegal.

Takahashi pointed out that foreign workers working in Japan are deprived of their human rights and forced to endure harsh working conditions. “It is a serious matter that foreign trainees are used as a cheap workforce,” she stressed.

Labor Minister Yanagisawa Hakuo acknowledged that there are cases in which foreign trainee programs have been improperly used and wages were unpaid. He said, “In cooperation with the Immigration Bureau, we will take steps to ensure proper implementation of the program.” - Akahata, April 21, 2007
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