"Record high for foreign workers being abused"

Foreign abuses reach record highs

The Asahi Shimbun reports that foreign trainee abuses in Japan has doubled in the last year. The Justice Ministry found a record 449 corporations and organizations that accepted foreign nationals under a controversial trainee and intern system had treated them unlawfully and abusively. According to the newspaper, in 2007, employers had violated labor laws in 178 cases. Companies sent trainees and interns to workplaces other than those they had reported to the ministry in 115 cases and in 98 cases, they illegally forced participants to work overtime or on holidays.

A different article from the Japan Times back in January of this year reports on the controversial program in which foreign nationals were given the opportunity to work as interns in Japanese corporations. However, the article reveals that many workers quit the program after being made to do unproductive work that was not connected to their training for free. The article claims that companies that “accept foreign interns remain largely resistant to change because many of them depend on the programs for cheap labor.”

However, it isn’t all doom and gloom for foreign nationals, as more and more Japanese companies are employing foreign workers due to their accomplishments and not because of cheap labor. Companies such as Lawson (the convenience stores) are aiming to employ more foreign nationals to work in the same situations as Japanese ones, with 10 out of the 120 new employees being of Chinese and Vietnamese origin. Lawson say this is because foreign nationals in Japan have a clearer sense of purpose than their Japanese counterparts and are more assertive with their opinions.

The Japan Times: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20070103f4.html

The Asahi Shimbun: http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200805120061.html

Gaia no Yoake (Japanese): http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/gaia/backnumber/preview080422.html

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