DEBITO.ORG
Arudou Debito/Dave Aldwinckle's Home Page

New ebooks by ARUDOU Debito

  • Book IN APPROPRIATE: A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan
  • Kyodo: Foreign caregiver exits put program in doubt, complete with editorial slant blaming NJ for being fickle

    Posted by arudou debito on June 22nd, 2012

    Books etc. by ARUDOU Debito (click on icon):
    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free

    Hi Blog.  The Kyodo article below, on how Indonesian and Filipina nurses and caregivers (even those who have passed the arduous qualifying exam) are leaving Japan anyway, has been featured within the comments section of another Debito.org blog entry (here).  It seems to be gathering steam there, so let me post the article here as a stand-alone, and repost below it the subsequent replies from Debito.org Readers (the really good ones start doing the math, revealing there’s something fishy going on at the administrative level, beyond just blaming the NJ caregivers for not doing what they’re told after all the GOJ bullshit they’ve put up with).

    My take on this Kyodo article is about the nasty little editorial slants and needles within.  Particularly nasty is how all otherwise qualified NJ caregivers are suddenly unworthy of emptying Japanese bedpans just because some decide they have a life outside Japan:

    Quoth one professor with a PhD in nastiness at Todai (Kiyoshi Kitamura, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s International Research Center for Medical Education): “To what extent would it be considered appropriate for the foreign caregivers’ lives to be bound by the program? We must contemplate this, along with the question of whether the Japanese people are really up for nursing care provided by foreigners.”

    Moreover, Kyodo, is this news, or editorializing?  “Yet as of June, five of them had quit and returned to Indonesia ‘for personal reasons,’ bringing great disappointment to the facilities that spent tens of millions of yen training them.”  Awww, diddums!

    Submitter DeBourca further comments: Honestly, this article is jaw dropping. Care companies are actually upset that foreigners won’t accept indentured servitude on subsistence level wages? And where’s the balance and context? When you’re up against this kind of mindset, how do you go about dealing with it? Where do you even start?

    Okay then without further ado, the Kyodo article, then the subsequent comments.  Thanks for making Debito.org a valuable resource for public critique, everyone.  Arudou Debito

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    The Japan Times Wednesday, June 20, 2012

    Foreign caregiver exits put program in doubt
    So far five Indonesians who qualified have returned home
    Kyodo
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120620f1.html

    When 35 Indonesian caregivers undergoing on-the-job training passed Japan’s qualification examination this year, it was good news for their hosting facilities, which held high hopes they would continue providing much-needed manpower.

    Yet as of June, five of them had quit and returned to Indonesia “for personal reasons,” bringing great disappointment to the facilities that spent tens of millions of yen training them.

    Many blame the government for failing to provide a clear and adequate explanation of the program when recruiting candidates under the free-trade agreement with Indonesia.

    Tatsumi Nakayama, who runs a nursing home in Mutsu, Aomori Prefecture, recalled being astonished when a female Indonesian caregiver who had been training there and passed the exam suddenly said she wanted to go back to Indonesia because she was getting married.

    The nursing home began hosting the Indonesian in 2008 as a prospective caregiver, providing on-the-job training as well as paying for her Japanese-language and test-preparation tutorials with the expectation that she would eventually contribute as a core member of its staff.

    The total cost, including her ¥180,000 monthly salary, on par with that of Japanese college graduates, came to ¥30 million over four years, according to Nakayama.

    While Nakayama said he had been told the foreign caregiver would be working for the facility once she passed the exam, the woman insisted this had not been explained to her and she took off for Indonesia last month.

    An official involved in the program, speaking on condition of anonymity, admitted the government “did not do enough” to ensure thorough understanding of the program’s requirements and the obligations it entails.

    Applicants are required to attend briefings held by the Indonesian government prior to coming to Japan, but back in 2008 they were not given any clear explanation regarding what they would be required to do after passing the exam.

    Even basic rules, including that they could only continue to work in Japan beyond the four-year training period if they passed the test, had not been mentioned, according to the government official.

    In view of the problem, the central government began in November to stipulate in briefing information kits for applicants that candidates are expected, in principle, to work in Japan for a prolonged period after passing the qualification exam.

    To improve the low pass rate of foreign applicants taking the exams, the government also decided to grant them more time when taking the tests, starting this fiscal year, and to attach hiragana or katakana for all kanji used in questions.

    Of the 104 Indonesian caregivers who came to Japan in 2008, 94 took the qualification exams for the first time in January. Among the 35 who passed, five have left Japan and three others have expressed their intention to do so.

    While many cited personal reasons, such as returning home to care for ill family members, there was also one who planned all along to return home regardless of the exam result.

    The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has indicated it plans to conduct a followup investigation but has been slow to act. It has been negative from the beginning about accepting foreign caregivers because they could affect the employment of Japanese workers.

    The ministry’s attitude has led to distrust and discontent among many in the nursing business, which is suffering from a shortage of skilled and talented caregivers.

    “With all the confusion over the latest issue, I’m worried that the countries that have concluded free-trade agreements (with Japan) will lose their eagerness to send prospective caregivers here,” one industry insider said.

    “Perhaps we need to establish a new framework to resolve the issue of securing manpower.”

    Commenting on the situation, Kiyoshi Kitamura, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s International Research Center for Medical Education, said: “To what extent would it be considered appropriate for the foreign caregivers’ lives to be bound by the program? We must contemplate this, along with the question of whether the Japanese people are really up for nursing care provided by foreigners.”

    Under the agreements concluded by Japan with Indonesia and the Philippines, nurses and caregivers from the two countries can undergo on-the-job training in Japan for several years and continue working in the country if they pass the national qualification exams within a designated period.

    But the kanji and technical terms employed are believed to pose a considerable hurdle for foreign applicants, whose pass rates remain significantly lower than Japanese applicants.

    ENDS

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    COMMENTS 

    Jim Di Griz Says:
    June 21st, 2012 at 12:27 pm   edit

    @ DeBourca #21

    Very interesting article.
    It’s the ‘this is Japan’ as veil for culture of abuse syndrome in action again.
    They spent all that money training Indonesian nurses, then gave them a (wait for it) 180,000 yen a month salary (wow!), and then complain that the Indonesians ‘didn’t understand their obligation to Japan’ by going home, instead of staying for ‘a prolonged period’.
    If they want workers to stay, the have to offer a salary and conditions that are attractive enough. Talking about ‘obligation’ is just empty words to reinforce (as the article comments) that these are non-Japanese nurses and therefore unsuitable in some way. Just excuses for lack of policy.

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    DeBourca Says:
    June 21st, 2012 at 4:19 pm   edit
    @Jim
    Thanks for the comments.What fascinates me is the mindset. Employers all over the world exploit their workers, but in Japan there still seems to be the view that the Victorian industrialists held; By providing employment, employers are providing vital services to society and individuals by keeping them “occupied”; Hell, we should be paying them!
    There is a very good article by Philip Brasor (who occasionally posts here?) on the JT about an incidence of suicide-induced “karoshi” (that term is fascinating in itself) at the Watami company. It lifts the lid on policy regarding forcing employees to work inhuman amounts of overtime. The company president basically shrugged his shoulders and blamed the employee. He didn’t even see the need to publicly address the issue; What had he done wrong?
    The questions in my previous post were not rhetorical BTW. I’m interested in trying to understand this mentality (pathology?) and why it is so accepted in Japan.
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Ds Says:
    June 21st, 2012 at 8:20 pm   edit

    Jim;

    I think you read the article wrong. The 180,000 salary was paid during their training/studying for 4 years, not the wage offered upon graduation. Plus, as the article said, this was on par with what Japanese were paid for the same job. It seems a reasonable stipend to be paid while studying. Not far under what some eikaiwa teachers/ALTs make actually.

    As for the ‘obligation’ to stay, this was poor management on the part of the Japanese trainers. The expectations needed to be written explicitly rather than implied. It’s only natural that a certain number of the caregivers (particularly women) would want to go home regardless of the result of their training and exams.

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Jim Di Griz Says:
    June 21st, 2012 at 10:49 pm   edit

    @ DeBourca #23

    Yes, you are right.
    My opinion (very short version) is this;

    Meiji-era Japan re-invented itself as a modern industrialized state, and the idea of working yourself to death for the company (and by extension, the country) was a duty to prevent Japan being colonized by the West, and to help Japan catch-up with the West. Patriotic duty. This mentality has left too large a mark on modern Japan. The collapse of Imperialist ideology saw the replacement of ‘catch-up’ with the West recast in terms such as ‘duty to rebuild the nation’ after the war. Why can’t they stop? Because ‘this is Japan!’ The headless chicken marches on…

    Western nations (on the other hand) went through the industrialization process hand-in-hand with the democratization process that the oppressed workers demanded and fought for (see; Luddites and The Tollpuddle Matyrs). Any attempt by Meiji-era Japanese workers to protest for rights at work were crushed as being ‘unpatriotic’ and ‘due to traitorous external influences’, and therefore ‘not Japanese qualities’.

    Someone wrote a good book about this that I read as an undergrad, if I remember the name, I will post it.

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    TJJ Says:
    June 21st, 2012 at 11:45 pm   edit

    “The total cost, including her ¥180,000 monthly salary, on par with that of Japanese college graduates, came to ¥30 million over four years, according to Nakayama.”

    Well, the article fails to mention that that nursing candidate probably (almost certainly) had an Indonesian nursing qualification and experience already. So to compare them to Japanese college graduates in terms of salary is … unfair.

    But the numbers are interesting. The total before tax income for the nurse would be 8,640,000 Yen over 4 years (2,160,000 per year). That leaves 21,360,000 of the total expenses, being 30,000,000 according to the article, unaccounted for. So over two thirds of the total cost goes to Japanese companies that ‘train’ etc. Business as usual in Japan.

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Scipio Says:
    June 22nd, 2012 at 9:29 am   edit

    TJJ Says:
    But the numbers are interesting. The total before tax income for the nurse would be 8,640,000 Yen over 4 years (2,160,000 per year). That leaves 21,360,000 of the total expenses, being 30,000,000 according to the article, unaccounted for. So over two thirds of the total cost goes to Japanese companies that ‘train’ etc.

    Thanks TJJ, I was doing the math and was thinking that it must be me and my bad math because the figures looked absolutely crazy.

    As others have said this mindset of the article was totally jaw dropping. ‘Those third world workers, how ungrateful they are after all we’ve done for them’.
    Crazy, totally crazy…The slant in the article borders on the childishly subjective. ‘We Japanese were not the cause of the misunderstanding and we have bent over backwards to accomodate these trainees’ (Note. Most of these trainees were qualified caregivers in their home country before they came here).

    I would like someone to interview these non-Japanese caregivers who passed the exam and have chosen to return to home home countries, and ask then for their reasons for returning. Rather than having an article of reported speech journalism in the third person, where others speak for them. Maybe the reason this hasn’t been done is that the Japanese might not like the answers.

    As a final point, let’s not forget this is the foreign caregivers, not the foreign nurses, whose exam has a much lower pass rate.

    ends

     

    23 Responses to “Kyodo: Foreign caregiver exits put program in doubt, complete with editorial slant blaming NJ for being fickle”

    1. Baudrillard Says:

      I think what they really are looking for is in fact a kind of NJ who will accept a re-branded indentured servitude; this can be the only reason why they target pooorer asian countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines, rather than fellow Kanji users Korea and China, who would pass the exam but not accept poor conditions (and have the language skills to fight or bargain for better terms).

      I have never understood the obligation pathology either. Time and time again Japanese friends have said they “would like’ to quit their job but that thier “boss may allow me to quit in a year or so.”

      WTF? The (western-imposed) law clearly says one month’s notice (although there are suitable get out clauses as well, such as “it depends on the industry etc”)

    2. giantpanda Says:

      I have heard similar stories about similar churlish behaviour on the JET program – e.g. a couple that came over together & had an unplanned pregnancy, decided to return to their home country due to not understanding Japanese & difficulties navigating the medical system, then being given the third degree, threats to deduct the costs of their flights and training from wages due to them breaching their employment contracts, etc. Japanese employers always expect that the good of the “company” will be put before any and all personal concerns.

    3. Oliver Says:

      5 nurses who quit their job? Not that many. According to two articles in the Japan Times from 2006 and 2008, there are 550,000 nurses in Japan (presumably all Japanese nationals) who quit their job are are now “residual nurses”.

      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20060913f1.html
      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/eo20080901a1.html

    4. Baudrillard Says:

      @ Giant Panda, yes it is horrible yet materful how since WW2 Japanese companies have rebranded themselves as a replacement for the nation and deserving of people”s loyalties at all costs.

      What is weird is that unlike other Asian Confucian societies, J companies have replaced families in importance. Contrast that with, say, Britain, where the State has taken over some of the family’s functions.

      Complete bollox when they call it ‘Japanese tradition” though. Its just a postmodern rip-off.
      And dodgy western companies in Japan, such as GABA, take this to extremes and use it as an excuse to force naive NJs to accept poor conditions “because its the Japanese way”. Go to ww.letsjapan.org for the whole horror story there.

      What really irks me is how they complain foreigners are “fickle” when in fact it is simple down to crap pay and conditions of course.

      You pay peanuts, you get monkeys. The good people will move onto something else when it suits them. That’s capitalism and it cuts both ways, sorry. This is partly connected to the “Flyjin” saga when some NJs in crap jobs decided it was not worth it and figured it was time to leave.

      This is so tiring and so typical of Japan. It is an obvious truth but as I always say, many are using the outdated “map” of Japan and think there is some “obligation” or “loyalty to a family feeling” which they try to exploit, which cannot replace the real truth that is what you get is what you pay for and we are all free to leave anytime. This isnt a 19th Century serfdom anymore.

      It is becoming glaringly clear that whoever put this nurses scheme together is looking for countries that will hopefully provide pseudo-serfs. They will be recruiting in the poorer parts of Africa next!

    5. Baudrillard Says:

      Oliver, thanks for that link; I stand partly corrected as even Filipinos are losing interest in Japan.

      “In the Philippines, Japan has become the least attractive country for those seeking to work in the medical and nursing fields abroad, despite the fact that Japan has a geographical advantage and the study of the Japanese language has long been popular among Filipinos.”

      America and the UK are now preferred destinations.

      I think Japan is in serious trouble if their old friends the Philippines is no longer interested.

    6. Charuzu Says:

      It amuses.

      J want NJ nurses to be unable to stay beyond their contract, yet also want them to be unable to leave before the end of their contract.

      In essence they seek robots or some of bond-labour.

      This quote “the question of whether the Japanese people are really up for nursing care provided by foreigners” is so emblematic of xenophobia in Japan.

      Even a nurse, who is under the direction of a J physician, is unacceptable because of the stain of her NJ status.

      NJ seemingly are often fit for work that is completely unseen while being performed.

      This reminds me of the workers in the Gulf region, who are deeply marginalised.

    7. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Oliver #3

      Good point about J-nurses quitting. But it’s like the Japanese (23,000 of them) who skipped the country in March and April 2011, and the Japanese who commit social security (child allowance payments/pension payments) fraud; when Japanese do it, it’s not news worthy, but when those pesky gaijin do it…, well, Japan’s just going to hell in a hand basket, isn’t it? Damned gaijin!

      @Giantpanda #2

      I can empathize with that. I remember being sent to see a research student a couple of years ago who decided to fly home to the US at short notice because his Father had been in a serious car crash. Since he was on a J-gov scholarship, I was expected to talk him out of it even as he was packing his bag, while a member of the admin office J-staff looked over my shoulder telling me ‘tell him how disruptive he is being by going home now’ and ‘tell him he has to think of his obligations’, and even ‘it’s not as if his Father died, is it?’ Sickening, but they just don’t get it.

    8. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @Debito,
      As a bit of ‘shoe on the other foot’ comparison, saw this on JP;

      http://www.japanprobe.com/2012/06/22/air-asias-hideous-make-up/

      What startled me about the segment was that the Japanese workers (and ‘news’ reporter) in a NJ company have the assumption still that if it’s not the Japanese way, then it must be wrong/inferior, combined with the ‘look what the strange gaijin boss makes them do’ kind of attitude. This is shocking because in J-companies Japanese will put up gladly with any amount of sh*t. Bit woe betide the NJ company that tries to tell a Japanese employee to do something….Where’s the Japanese work ethic here? I guess it only applies if a Japanese is actually working in a j-company. If not, no ‘ganbare’ required, just complain to the home media? These ladies made a choice to work for that NJ company (presumably because they were turned down by JAL and ANA). If they don’t like the make-up policy, they can just go home, right?

    9. dude Says:

      In France, the “language police” are trying to stop words like “le sandwich” from entering common use among French young people. It is a losing battle.

      In Japan, foreigners (and Japanese people too) are held to impossibly high standards, criticized at every turn, belittled, disrespected, underpaid… and people wonder why no one wants to work the low-end jobs in Japan… The current system is just not working. Blaming the (in this case) foreign nurses apparently makes Japanese people feel better, but does nothing to solve the staff shortage problem.

      It must be a scary time to be an older Japanese person. Foreigners are bastardizing sushi, China is getting richer, Japan is declining, Japan’s birth rate is down, the economy is down, multi-national companies are bypassing Tokyo as the gateway to Asia, debt is up, Fukushima is still radioactive, and to top it off, even the poor Asians don’t want to live in Japan anymore… the sky is falling!

      The mandarins that run Japan will keep trying the same solutions, because that is all they know. And the downward spiral continues…

    10. Pitarou Says:

      So how much did Indonesia spend on training these nurses?

    11. DeBourca Says:

      @Dude;

      Actually, I think it’s a great time to be an older Japanese person, especially a retired company/government worker (or the spouse of one). You get a big fat pension that those paying for it will never hope to get (thanks to your generation’s economic policies)plus heavily subsidised healthcare/transport/general use of public transport. The strong yen means that those trips to Hawaii and France are cheaper than ever, so you have even more to spend on six hundred dollar school satchels for your grandkids.

      It’s the younger generations I’d feel for. They are working harder than ever and they are going to living in an economy on par with Indonesia by the time they reach retirement.Well, I’d feel for them if they had a smidgen of fight in them. As such, they’re all complicit IMO.

    12. Hakosukajd Says:

      My brother-in-law, who went through a college curriculum in health care management specifically focused on senior health care, worked in the field for approximately 8 months before quiting to become a motorcycle mail man. His reasoning was the pay and hours were attrocious in addition to the lack of respect given by both his superiors and the patients. Given he is Japanese and had formal education on the subject, I cannot imagine how poorly the NJ are treated at work (let alone everything they have to deal with outside of work).

    13. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ DeBourca #11

      You are absolutely right. The old people of today in Japan are going to be the last generation to have it so good. The J-govs economic policies and the debt burden, combined with demographic issues means that it’s all down-hill from here. Todays graduates will be lucky to get a pension, they will be lucky to be employed continuously during their lifetimes.

      – Back on topic, please.

    14. Charuzu Says:

      Dude #9

      Your point:

      “In Japan, foreigners (and Japanese people too) are held to impossibly high standards, criticized at every turn, belittled, disrespected, underpaid… and people wonder why no one wants to work the low-end jobs in Japan… The current system is just not working. Blaming the (in this case) foreign nurses apparently makes Japanese people feel better, but does nothing to solve the staff shortage problem.”

      is one that I think is incorrect.

      I think that the system is working, in that the goal of the system is to import the workers but then to ensure that they will generally leave promptly after a few years.

      The goal of the system is NOT to solve the staff shortage, but to ensure that an ethnically pure long-term residence pattern is achieved.

      In other words, I believe that J place xenophobia and marginalisation as a higher priority than patient care.

      As such, they are willing to sacrifice for that higher goal, so as to achieve that higher goal.

      – Great. Thanks for the dry academic observation of something we already know. So?

    15. Tom R/ Says:

      Coming from a country where 20 million illegal aliens currently reside this seems like a non-issue. Why does the GOJ need what sounds like a test program for immigrants to fill the ranks of nursing applicants, and basically control their lives to make sure they live up the standards of the program. What is the GOJ so afraid of about immigrants working in Japan? It’s not their fault for the 30 year economic lull. It was the mistakes of the leaders who controlled Japan’s economic policies, who pride themselves on their “purity”. Furthermore, shouldn’t there be a quota of new immigrants every year let into the country? Let the market of supply and demand take over, I say. If anything, this is an example of the GOJ micro-managing, and how its damaging Japan.

    16. Joe Says:

      Let’s look closely at this part:

      “The nursing home began hosting the Indonesian in 2008 as a prospective caregiver, providing on-the-job training as well as paying for her Japanese-language and test-preparation tutorials with the expectation that she would eventually contribute as a core member of its staff.

      The total cost, including her ¥180,000 monthly salary, on par with that of Japanese college graduates, came to ¥30 million over four years, according to Nakayama.”

      The total for four years’ salary is 864 man (assuming no bonus). Which leaves 2136 man. Is this guy seriously claiming that’s what it costs to train a single careworker? Over four years, that works out at over 44 man a month.I could put my daughter through medical school for less than that. Sounds like a lot of nonsense to me.

    17. Charuzu Says:

      Debito:

      You ask:

      “– Great. Thanks for the dry academic observation of something we already know. So?”

      The article is about Indonesian and Filipino caregivers.

      Thee are both countries that have significant problems, and those problems are I believe a reason why they come here.

      With all of its profound discrimination, Japan may be better than the places whence these caregivers arrived.

      As such, regarding the “So?” which I interpret to mean, what are next steps, I think if one wished to just address the concerns of the programmes involving caregivers, one should know more about the individual Indonesians and Filipinos.

      What are their experiences, views, and thoughts on the issues?

      The J press will never do that, of course — its bias is too profound.

      But, it is hard to be more than dry and academic without the human input of those most affected — the caregivers themselves.

      Since they would directly bear the consequences of any change, and such consequences might be negative for them, they would merit some level of consultation.

      Japan’s policy succeeds because it often focuses on those least able to resist.

    18. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Joe #16

      Tax dodge? Or maybe the nursing home manager was cooking the books, and putting 2136 man yen in his back pocket….I’d be upset if I lost out on that scam!

    19. mainichi_struggle Says:

      During training these caregivers are likely provided accommodation, schooling, and administrative support. Additionally there are surely additional charges that are shouldered by the hiring party such as immigration filing fees, consultation fees, etc. I doubt that the companies and individuals affiliated with the programs are pocketing over 2000 man, but I wouldn’t doubt that they are taking an overly generous bite of the apple. It would be nice to get some transparency on the details of the operation if anyone is privy to such.

    20. Lecturer from London Says:

      I have seen this when I was a postgraduate mombusho scholar 15 years ago, and in the universities I taught at in West Japan.
      The NJ employees are considered to be at fault for their “attitude”. They are not happy being micro-managed, spoken down to, patronised and given the worst jobs. 180,000 yen looks good for a female salary in Japan, but is obviously not enough for the abuse.
      You’ll find these already qualified nurses and caregivers quickly realised they could do a lot better in Australia, America, or Europe. They also learned pretty quickly not to cause a fuss, to cite ‘family’ issues as the reason for leaving and make a quiet exit.
      A registered nurse in the UK, working through an agency that takes a commision can double that after 2 years. (http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Registered_Nurse_%28RN%29/Salary)
      Incidentally, a mid-ranking nurse in the UK earns more than I do as a foreign tenured associate professor in a Japanese University.

      – Yes, and those wages in universities just keep going down. Used to be justified as matching pay cuts being meted out to national bureaucrats. Now it’s for Tohoku reconstruction… But I digress. Point is Japan’s pay differential isn’t attractive anymore because aside from the exchange rate (good if you’ve got enough money to repatriate), it’s no longer competitive.

    21. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Debito

      ‘Lecturer’ has a point (#20). Those caregivers are criticized for not acting in a sufficiently ‘Japanese way’, yet they way they behaved was SO Japanese! They didn’t give media interviews or hold demos to explain that they were being exploited, they just quietly left. Very Japanese way to resolve a conflict; pretend it doesn’t exist and say ‘so sorry’, then walk away from the responsibility. The caregivers (like all NJ in Japan) were caught in a Catch 22 situation; if they behave in a Non-Japanese way, they are criticized. If they behave in a Japanese way, they are criticized. Interesting thing is that in either eventuality, the criticism is that it’s because they ‘are not Japanese’.
      Yet again, the NJ are trapped from the start by a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure, in a no-win scenario. It seems almost planned so that policy makers can hold their hands up, say ‘look, we did the best we could, but Japan is just too special for them, they can’t take it’, and then shrug off the responsibility. It’s typical J-politics; do anything but realistically address the issue.

    22. Flyjin Says:

      I really respect those caregivers who left by citing family reasons, real or exaggerated. It is a perfect use of tatemae and family should trump all other considerations; especially when it is a crap job in Japan where they are not made ot belong and are abused or exploited!

      Japanese managers complaining that they left need to remember that not too long ago in Japan families were seen as more important than companies, a part of their culture they seem to have ditched in recent years.

      Think of all the social ills of Japan that come from overworking and blind loyalty to the company over family. It is not natural, especially in a so called Confucian society.

    23. vintage Says:

      I would just like to add that 1 year in a JP uni, as a foreign student, costs around 700,000 yen. At least that is what my GF paid in Fukuoka.So times 4 = 2,800,000 plus a similar figure for language training = 5,600,000 for 2 full time course to run concurrently. Hang on, they were doing on the job training, so there was no courses to attend and most likely no real training just test preparation when the time came. in reality they were probably were enrolled in a cheap community language course and had the consequences of poor results explained to them. “you cannot fail, it may affect your pay” (If you have not heard this threat whilst in Japan, either you have only just arrived or their English is so bad you did not understand it, or you work for a foreign firm)

      lets just face it. They are just doing what human traffickers do, they are lying about costs, about the roles and about the treatment of the people. I say this because a vast number of places (not all) that hire foreigners are little more than that. We are just a product or a tool, and we should say thank you for being allowed to live in there concreted nature reserve everytime they demean us.

    Leave a Reply