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2012 February 15 - 21 [LABOR]

8 Vietnamese trainees win back pay

February 16, 2012
Eight Vietnamese trainees working at a sewing factory in Fukushima Prefecture on February 14 won a Fukushima District Court judgment ordering the company to pay 33 million yen to them in back pay for unpaid wages.

Presently, 35 cases involving foreign trainees under the state system are being contested in courts across Japan, and this is the first ruling holding the employer responsible.

The judge said that it is clear that the company intended to use the plaintiffs as cheap labor, actually making them work for long hours without paying them wages as stipulated in the Labor Standards Law.

The eight workers came to Japan in 2006, and some were forced to work more than 130 hours a month. Out of their basic wages of 60,000-70,000 yen a month, 20,000-30,000 yen was deducted allegedly as “savings.” They said that their passports were taken from them and were kept in the employer’s custody.
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