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  • “Japanese Only” at Tokyo Takadanobaba private-sector job placement agency

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on October 20th, 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.  Here’s something received from a friend:  A private-sector job placement agency which explicitly says that foreign applicants cannot register (and I have telephoned to confirm, means they will not allow foreigners to apply):

    The sign reads “Workers KK”.

    Below, “We accept applicants for day-paid jobs, walk-ins fine.  Construction, jobs within storage facilities, transport work etc.”

    And in parenthesis:  “People with foreign nationalities cannot register for our services.” 

    Address (gleaned from the general website at http://www.workers.co.jp/) for this, the Takadanobaba Branch, is:

    〒169-0075
    東京都新宿区高田馬場3-3-9山下ビル4F

    From their site:

    ■ 高田馬場支店 ■

    所在地:  〒169-0075
      東京都新宿区高田馬場3-3-9
                    山下ビル4F
    TEL: 03-3365-7701
    FAX: 03-3365-7702

    【登録スタッフ・登録のお問合せ専用TEL】

    TEL:    03-3365-7703

    登録予約可能時間 月~土 11:00~15:00
    ※登録は予約制になっております。

    ■お給料のお支払い■
    作業後当日からお支払い可能です。
    お支払い時間 16:00~19:00
    月~金(※祝・祭日除く) 

    Well, it goes without saying by now for readers of this site, but this exclusionary sign is unconstitutional and goes against international treaty.  It also goes against the Labor Standards Law (Articles 3 and 4), which does not permit discrimination of workers on the basis of nationality etc. (More on that from NUGW site here.)

    I called the number on the sign today and talked to a Mr Yoshimura, who confirmed that they do in fact refuse service to foreign workers.  That includes all their branches, yes.  When I mentioned that this is in violation of the LSL, he said that they are, as of now, considering a revision (doryoku shimasu, was how he put it).  I gave him my phone number and email address should they decide to revise their rules and their sign.  Meanwhile, another entry for the Rogues’ Gallery within a few days, and I’ll let the labor unions know.

    Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    20 Responses to ““Japanese Only” at Tokyo Takadanobaba private-sector job placement agency”

    1. scott Says:

      Did this fine, upstanding gentleman give reasons as to why foreign nationals could not register with his illustrious recruiting agency? And if you, Debito, or any other non-Japanese looking Japanese national went along, would you be refused, as well, but in a more tatemae way, such as a – “Mmmm..we are very sorry but the vacancy has just been filled”?

    2. STP Says:

      Labor Standard Law states

      Article 3

      An employer shall not engage in discriminatory treatment with respect to wages, working hours or other working conditions by the reason of the nationality, creed or social status of any worker.

      Article 4

      An employer shall not engage in discriminatory treatment of a woman as compared with a man with respec to wages by reason of the worker being a woman.

      Both articles are based on the premise that there is an already established Employer and a worker. This isn’t the case. This is a case where this company is “recruiting” so they have the right to set their own guidelines as they see fit just like a certain company “recruiting” and setting guidelines such as “must have a college degree”.

      I think it’s probably worthwhile to ask why they put that restriction on there for it may be simple as this company does not have a staff that are capable of assuring that these foreigners have valid work visas. Or maybe their short staffed themselves and hence don’t have the time to check on their Japanese language ability? Or maybe the fact that both this company and the companies they represent just don’t want to be in a situation where end up recruiting illegal immigrants?

      – Think harder. Maybe you’ll come up with a justification that satisfies all three corners of the triangle: The Constitution, the CERD, and the Labor Standards Law. But I doubt it.

      Call them yourself and ask.

    3. Level3 Says:

      The only legitimate “no foreigners” rule I can think of for a job is something involving facilities handling national security info.

      I seriously doubt these jobs fall within that field, unless maybe they’re doing subcontracting for the JSDF?.

    4. Drew Says:

      “Or maybe their short staffed themselves and hence don’t have the time to check on their Japanese language ability?”

      I drive by this building almost every day. Most of the jobs that they are recruiting for involve about as much Japanese language ability as “stand here and wave this flashing orange stick so people won’t drive into the construction zone”. Anybody who could hold a brief conversation with the receptionist and fill in their job application form in Japanese would have more than enough ability for most of these jobs.

    5. Martin Says:

      “Or maybe their short staffed themselves and hence don’t have the time to check on their Japanese language ability?”

      Hum, I’ve got a MA degree from a Jap. University and wrote my thesis in Japanese OR/AND got JLPT1; here’s the diploma.

      “I think it’s probably worthwhile to ask why they put that restriction on there for it may be simple as this company does not have a staff that are capable of assuring that these foreigners have valid work visas.”
      “Or maybe the fact that both this company and the companies they represent just don’t want to be in a situation where end up recruiting illegal immigrants?”

      I’ve got a valid working visa, here it is in my passport.

      “I think it’s probably”
      Did you really think?

    6. Shrikant Atre Says:

      I have visited many job placement companies in Japan and despite my Japanese language fluency, I have been told by the placement agencies that “its ultimately the employer/s who wish / decide about a foreign worker’s employment…. and so we cant confirm to you about so and so job, though we will try for you….” etc.

      This also means that the placement agency alone can not be blamed for what their end clients want.

      One can also see the various JOBS listed on career sites and many of the advertisements mention preference to language level as NATIVE level (indirectly meaning a foreigner is out of the whole process).

      If you are in a network of IT SI companies who send their “Manpower Requirements” to these placement agencies, such violations can be seen abundant. But who will ask them whether what they are doing is right or wrong. After all, its the Japanese culture to prefer Native Japanese over the foreigners.

      So I think despite laws and efforts by foreigner forums, the discrimination for jobs will continue.

    7. Doug Says:

      It’s what Debito has been saying all along. It starts with establishments such as restaurants or bars and has now moved to job agencies. What next?Hospitals, schools? This case does indeed add weight to the cause that Debito has been fighting for all these years. The company must be aware of the labor laws that they are violating.

      When is Japan going to wake up and do something about this????

    8. Johnny Says:

      Who knows what their reasoning is? Probably ‘those foreigners taking our jobs’ mentality.

      Will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    9. Tod Says:

      I can only speculate, but perhaps they are not prepared or not willing to sponsor foreigners for a working visa. It is a lot of work and is often not an easy process. Of course that does not excuse them from rejecting applicants with valid existing work visas. However, even in that case, those visas will eventually expire, so back to the same issue.

      Regardless of the reasons, the present blanket rejection is just wrong.

    10. Steppenwolf Says:

      I may be mistaken but the jobs posted are for generally 3K labor type positions. Are foreigners not precluded from their work visas from such jobs? I know that does not take into consideration naturalized or permanent resident types but they tend to be a much smaller group who generally have professional level skills and wouldn’t go for such jobs in the first place.

      – Not necessarily precluded. The Trainee, Practical Trainee, Research, and Nikkei Visas were all created for precisely the purpose of bringing in people for unskilled labor. Just not overtly. Hundreds of thousands of people have been brought in under these visas already.

    11. randomcommenter Says:

      This is hypothetical, but then again a lot of this conversation is hypothetical, so:

      Noting that there is no English, and that instead of choosing the more conventional 外国人 they chose 外国籍, which emphasizes the prospective worker’s passport over the prospective worker’s background, I’m guessing that it’s not actually directed at visibly foreign foreigners, but at Zainichi Koreans. So I doubt the working visa is the issue.

    12. meatleg Says:

      No foreignness in the business, yet they don’t use a proper Japanese name. Indicating that while they won’t help foreign people find a job, they will use the “foreign names for businesses are cool and respectable so it is a good marketing move” mentality. Use foreign appeal, but don’t deal with foreigners.
      Irritating.

    13. STP Says:

      “– Think harder. Maybe you’ll come up with a justification that satisfies all three corners of the triangle: The Constitution, the CERD, and the Labor Standards Law. But I doubt it.”

      Sorry. I don’t think it violates any of the above.

      The penalties for recruiting foreigners with invalid visa carries a fine of up to 3 million yen and/or 3 years imprisonment.

      And of course, student visas have limits in regards to maximum hours per day and this all changes according to what type of student you are (full time university students/ Senmon Gakko/ Shugaku, etc.) But the problem you run into is that he/she may already be employed and has maxed out on his/her work hours already and that the company has no way of checking.

      Then of course, you run into work visa but this is also specified in your gaikokujintorokusho. But I don’t think 日雇い (Day work) fits into that category. So as much as “Martin” in the above is qualified, under the current law, he cannot work for “Construction, jobs within storage facilities, transport work etc” unless he’s a permanent resident, spouse of a Japanese citizen/permanent resident, or Teijusha

      http://homepage3.nifty.com/takehara/nyukokuq&a.htm

    14. Giant Panda Says:

      You are barking up the wrong tree with the labor standards law. These people are not yet employed, so it does not apply.
      However, if this is a job placement agency (as in a temp service) they have to obtain a dispatch license and would be covered under the Worker Dispatch Law. If they are a recruiting company, they have to obtain an “employment placement business license” under the Employment Security Law. Not sure about Worker Dispatch Law, but under the conditions of the employment placement business license they are required to accept all comers that come within the range of professions they place.
      Suggest #1 get their license business number (by law, it must be displayed in the office)
      #2 make a call to the Labor Standards Bureau to make a complaint, quoting said license number.

    15. Joe Jones Says:

      Actually, Debito, STP’s explanation does satisfy all three corners of the triangle. The Constitution and CERD are only binding against the Japanese government, and the Labor Standards Law would only apply (to my knowledge) against an employer, not a placement agent.

      But regardless of legality, this is still a stupid and bigoted policy. Nationality is easy to verify with photo ID. A passport or alien card would verify a person’s ability to work in Japan. The agency should be free to refuse foreign nationals with a restricted or non-existent work permit, but not to categorically refuse foreign nationals with an unrestricted ability to work.

    16. Giant Panda Says:

      From their website, it seems that they are engaged in both worker dispatch (hakengyo) and recruiting (shokugyo shokai jigyou), and have licenses for both these businesses.

      Worker Dispatch is regulated under the Worker Dispatch Law http://www.jil.go.jp/english/laborinfo/library/documents/llj_law6.pdf

      Recruiting business is regulated under the Employment Security Law
      http://www.jil.go.jp/english/laborinfo/library/documents/llj_law10.pdf

      At least under the license conditions for the recruiting business, the office is required to accept applications from all comers, as long as they come within the field of professions that the office handles. You can confirm this with the local Labor Bureau http://www.roudoukyoku.go.jp/, and lodge a complaint by quoting the company name and license number (which is listed on their website).

    17. AWK Says:

      >After all, its the Japanese culture to prefer Native Japanese over the foreigners.

      I would say, this is the world`s culture to prefer their own Natives.

      Real story: Very good friend of mine is black. He registered with many placement companies and HALLO WORK too. He was looking very hard to get a job. It was long about 3 or 4 years ago. He told me, that these companies along with HW sent him for interview where job has already been taken or he showed up and interviewers told him straight away: ” We thought you were white, sorry there is no job for you”. I felt very sorry for him. By the way, his Japanese is almost native level. He works now very hard, everyday 14-16h incl. Sat. and at the same time awaiting his Japanese Citizenship. Will this change something? Well…we are always foreigners here, passport is just “red” book.

    18. norik Says:

      I say,just open any TownPage or some recruitment magazine in any city and start dialing. In Nagoya 2 years ago I was looking for part-time too, and called some of these agencies, and was refused immediately:”Sorry, we work only with Japanese nationals”. One of my Chinese colleagues mentioned the same in Osaka…I don’t use such placement companies anymore. By the way, really , most of the companies who stated that they hire people with “native level Japanese” never ever bothered to check mine. Yet I had my resume checked by native Japanese, professors in Japanese.

    19. Behan Says:

      Racism just seems to get accepted here. Very few Japanese people seem interested in doing anything about it.

    20. Shrikant Atre Says:

      See News in Daily Yomiuri Online now !
      http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_JAPAN_FIRING_FOREIGNERS_ASOL-?SITE=YOMIURI&SECTION=HOSTED_ASIA&TEMPLATE=ap_national.html

      Foreigners laid off in Japanese downturn

      By JOSEPH COLEMAN
      Associated Press Writer
      AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

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