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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 November 7 - 13  > JCP Koike criticizes gov't for leaving existing problems of foreign workers unresolved
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2018 November 7 - 13 [LABOR]

JCP Koike criticizes gov't for leaving existing problems of foreign workers unresolved

November 8, 2018

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira on November 7 argued that the Japanese government will face international criticism if it accepts more workers from overseas while leaving existing problems of foreign "trainees" and "interns" unresolved.

The Abe Cabinet has recently approved a bill to revise the Immigration Control Act so that more foreigners can come to Japan to work, hoping that the bill will become law as soon as possible.

The bill will bring in more foreign workers to understaffed sectors in Japan. However, even now, many workers under the current foreign trainee and internship program experience exploitative labor practices such as excessively long working hours and unpaid wages.

Koike at an Upper House committee meeting pointed out that 70% of 5,966 business entities that the Labor Ministry inspected in regard to the use of foreign trainees last year were found to have violated labor laws.

The largest number of foreign trainees and interns are Vietnamese, amounting to 120,000. Despite this, only one Vietnamese-speaking inspector in Japan works with supervisory authorities which Vietnamese workers can file claims with or ask for advice.

Koike said, "Many business owners do not comply with labor laws, and there is no enforcement mechanism to make them abide by relevant labor laws. The acceptance of more foreign workers without solving these problems will not only worsen the current situation but also draw international criticism."

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said, "There is certainly some truth to the points you made. We will take countermeasures against what you have just pointed out."

Under the bill, Japan will suspend its reception of foreign workers after it successfully supplies a sufficient number of human resources to the sectors concerned.

Koike responded by saying, "This, in a way, amounts to worker dismissals by the state. On top of that, these laid-off workers will then be kicked out of Japan."

Past related articles:
> Gov’t should safeguard foreign workers’ human rights before opening door wider [November 6, 2018]
> Gov’t proposes bill to accept more foreign workers without addressing existing human rights violations [November 3, 2018]
> JCP meets with bar association lawyers over the issue of foreign workers in Japan [October 31, 2018]

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