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
  • Mainichi: Female NJ Trainee Visa workers underpaid by Yamanashi company, beaten, attempted deportation

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on September 5th, 2008

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「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 Japan
    Hi Blog. Pretty nasty situation here. But it’s not the first time I’ve heard of something like this going on.  Examples here and here.  Kudos to Zentoitsu again for offering a shelter and a means to get this reported. Debito in Hamamatsu

    Foreign trainees injured in row with dry-cleaning firm over measly pay

    (Mainichi Japan) August 27, 2008, courtesy lots of people.

    KOFU — Six Chinese female trainees at a dry-cleaning company in Yamanashi Prefecture got into a row with the company when they complained that they were being paid under the minimum wage, and three of them suffered injuries including a broken bone, it has been learned.

    Trouble reportedly erupted when the company, located in Showa, Yamanashi Prefecture, tried to force the six to return to China after they complained about their wages. The three injured workers are considering filing a criminal complaint over their injuries.

    The workers also plan to register a complaint against the company with a labor standards inspection office, accusing it of violating the Labor Standard Law by failing to pay them the difference between their wages and the minimum wage.

    The trainees said that they came to Japan in December 2005 under a program for foreign trainees and apprentices. After a period of training they started working as trainees. Their working hours were between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and their monthly wage was reportedly 50,000 yen a month. On weekdays, they often worked overtime until midnight, and frequently worked weekends. However, their overtime pay was only 350 yen per hour. This spring, the overtime wage was raised to 450 yen per hour.

    A company representative speaking to the Mainichi admitted the amount of overtime pay, but said, “We paid a monthly wage of 118,000 yen.” The amount of overtime pay was much lower than the prefecture’s minimum overtime pay, which works out at about 831 yen per hour.

    The six workers submitted a written request for their wages to be revised on Aug. 20. The company’s president, Masafumi Uchida, promised that he would reply two days later. However, at about 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 22, the president joined about 10 people including company employees and tried to force the six workers, who were sleeping in a company dormitory, to get into a minibus he had prepared to take them to Narita Airport.

    The trainees resisted, and plans to take them to the airport were abandoned, but one of the trainees was left with a broken leg after jumping out of a window on the second floor of the dormitory. Two others suffered bruises and scratches during the row.

    The three injured workers were later taken into the custody of the Zentoitsu Workers Union, which supports foreign trainees and apprentices. The remaining three were taken to Narita Airport by company officials and returned home.

    Uchida visited the union on Monday and offered an apology.

    “If they were Japanese I wouldn’t have done it (tried to force them to leave). I was asked for a high amount of unpaid cash and thought I couldn’t negotiate. I’m sorry for their injuries.”

    A Justice Ministry official said there was a possibility the company could be punished.

    “The failure to pay wages, the human rights violations and other actions constitute illicit behavior, and there is a possibility that this warrants banning the firm from accepting trainees for three years,” the official said.

    (Mainichi Japan) August 27, 2008

    ENDS

    9 Responses to “Mainichi: Female NJ Trainee Visa workers underpaid by Yamanashi company, beaten, attempted deportation”

    1. jim Says:

      the president of this company really needs to be locked up..since he used his foreign workers like cheap slave labor..but the fact is that the GOJ turns a blind eye to this so called training system since the also support cheap foreign labor as an immigration loophole..

    2. anonymous Says:

      “If they were Japanese I wouldn’t have done it”. Until when will foreigners in Japan will have to put up with this?, this ‘uchi-soto’ mindset of the japanese people really pisses me off.

    3. Bryan Says:

      Hey Debito,

      It turns out the link you provided was removed from the mainichi website. Possible cover-up? who knows but the Japanese version still remains.
      I am trying to find an english version of the story but currently can’t find anything

      –Probably not a cover-up. Links disappear from J newspaper archives pretty quickly. That’s why the Japan Times has the best website of all the newspapers.

    4. E.P. Lowe Says:

      Some observations.

      “the president joined about 10 people including company employees and tried to force the six
      workers, who were sleeping in a company dormitory, to get into a minibus he had prepared to take them to Narita Airport.”

      If someone tries to force people into a minibus, then that’s attempted kidnapping.

      “The trainees resisted, and plans to take them to the airport were abandoned, but one of the trainees was left with a broken leg after jumping out of a window on the second floor of the dormitory. Two others suffered bruises and scratches during the row.”

      It’s unclear what caused the trainee to jump out of the window, but of the two who suffered bruises and scratches during the incident – that’s clearly battery.

      It’s also interesting that these illegal actions are described as a “row”.

      “The three injured workers were later taken into the custody of the Zentoitsu Workers Union, which supports foreign trainees and apprentices. The remaining three were taken to Narita Airport by company officials and returned home.”

      The remaining three were taken? Kidnapped more like.

      These people have also assumed the responsibilities of customs officials and deported people from the country. Not a crime though I think.

      So, we’ve got:

      Attempted kidnapping.
      Actual kidnapping.
      Battery (and probably Assault too)

      And what do we have from the ‘Justice’ Ministry:

      “A Justice Ministry official said there was a possibility the company could be punished.”

      Pathetic.

    5. PnetQ Says:

      The URL of this article in the Mainichi Daily News site seems to have been chaged. You can access it by the following URL now.

      http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/national/archive/news/2008/08/27/20080827p2a00m0na005000c.html

      You can also access the same page by clicking on [EN] in the Japanese article page in the Mainichi site which can be accessed from another entry just below this one.

    6. Grant Mahood Says:

      quote: A Justice Ministry official said there was a possibility the company could be punished.

      “The failure to pay wages, the human rights violations and other actions constitute illicit behavior, and there is a possibility that this warrants banning the firm from accepting trainees for three years,” the official said.

      This really treats us to a view of how Justice Ministry officials actually think in the tangle of their minds. After reading a laundry list of inhumane and despicable practices the company is accused of employing against its trainees, the ministry official digs deep for what he must imagine to be the ultimate threat of the burning brand of Justice, Zeus’s thunderbolt: the company MAY have to wait for three years to get more trainees. That really says it all.

      I want to know more about the wages discrepancy. The trainees claim to have only received 50,000 yen a month, but the company representative claims that they were paid more than twice that amount. Is there truth in both statements? Is there a “company store” setup where the trainees get a salary of 118,000 yen per month on paper, but after the company deducts training costs, housing, meals, and so on, they end up with about 50,000? More details, Mainichi, please.

      And what on earth was Uchida thinking he would do with a busload of kicking and screaming kidnapped trainees once he arrived at the airport with them? Was he actually counting on airport security to bundle them off to the departure gate for him? Did he think that his 10 staff members could strong arm them onto the plane with no questions asked by airport authorities? He had two days to plan his “response” to their requests for a salary review, and this beating and kidnapping plan was it. The truly awful thing is that it almost worked! He did manage to get rid of three of them this way. If he had managed to get all six to the airport chances are that none of this would ever have come to light. How did his staff manage to get the three on the plane? More details, Mainichi, please.

      It really staggers the imagination that the worst punishment that the Justice Ministry has in mind, if all the accusations prove to be true, is a three-year ban from the trainee program.

    7. Doug Norman Says:

      The following quote speaks volumes:

      “If they were Japanese I wouldn’t have done it (tried to force them to leave). I was asked for a high amount of unpaid cash and thought I couldn’t negotiate. I’m sorry for their injuries.”

      A Justice Ministry official said there was a possibility the company could be punished.

      Translation – Basically the foreign workers are like animals used for brute force labor. If they were human (Japanese) this would not have occured. The Justice Ministry offical said there is a “possibility” the company would be punished. I think we all know if the workers were Japanese (human) the company would be punished (not possibly punished)

      This has to be one of the most disturbing posts I have seen on this blog (Debito) or any other human rights site.

    8. Jake Says:

      This has to be one of the most disturbing posts I have seen on this blog (Debito) or any other human rights site.

      Indeed. I really hope groups like Amnesty or the unions really get on the Justice Ministry’s case. A slap on the wrist (for God’s sake, it’s not even that) is just not acceptable here.

    9. adamw Says:

      does anyone know if anything has happened on this or has it just petered out??

    Leave a Reply