Kobe Shinbun on new GOJ requirements on employers to report NJ laborers

Hi Blog. Thanks to Colin for not only sending me the Japanese, but even saving me time by providing a translation! Gotta love the assumption below that unemployed NJ will turn to crime… Better keep tabs on them. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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RE THE NEW REQUIREMENTS TO REPORT NJ WORKERS TO THE GOVT
KNOWLEDGE NOT MADE WIDESPREAD, AND DANGERS OF DISCRIMINATION
Kobe Shinbun Oct 1, 2007

Translated by Colin Parrott (thanks!!)
Japanese original in previous Debito.org Blog entry.

Beginning October 1st, according to new amendments in the Employment Promotion Law, all firms employing foreign workers will be obliged to report employment conditions to labour offices. The goal of the reforms are two fold – to provide foreigner workers with job support and to help curb illegal employment. As awareness about the amendments is still relatively low, officials at the Hyogo Labour Department are eager to distribute leaflets to business groups. However, some have pointed out the danger that such reforms might invite new kinds of prejudice toward foreigners.

Until now, once a year in June, firms employing foreign workers have reported such details as residency status, nationality and number of foreign workers to the public employment security office, Hello Work, at their own discretion. According to the Labour Department, some 5000 employees at 910 firms (with 30 employees or more) in the prefecture have been targeted.

Under the new amendments, all firms employing foreigner workers will be obligated to report the names, residency status/validity, address, date of birth and so on of foreign workers to Hello Work. Those with special permanent residency will be excluded. Even including international students with part-time jobs, companies that already employ foreign workers will have up to one year to submit these details. Business owners who neglect reporting such details or try to falsify information could be faced with a fine of up to 300,000 yen.

By better understanding the current status of foreign workers and by forcing business owners to check their residency status, not only is a crack down in the number of illegal employees expected but also work environment improvements and job-placement assistance programs are also expected to benefit.

Around 500 Vietnamese live in Kobe’s Nagata ward, where most of them work at a local chemical factory. When The Japan Chemical Shoes Industrial Association reported the revisions of the law to its member companies by newsletter they were met with criticism. “Without an investigation into how many people are working where, I really don’t see what difference it will make,” said a 42-year old chemical factory manager. “Sure it’s good for decreasing illegal employment, but if we don’t first acknowledge the fact that illegal unskilled foreign labourers exist, we’re going to be left with a labour shortage.”

The manager realizes illegal Vietnamese labourers in the area will be exposed but worries that, “foreigners who lose their jobs will unnecessarily turn to crime.”

Furthermore, data gathered by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry plans to be shared with the Ministry of Justice. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations and others criticize this scheme because it, “violates foreigner’s rights to privacy.” They point out that, “there is a possibility that discriminatory treatment based on race, skin colour or ethnic origin might arise.”

The Employment Promotion Law was established with the goal of advancing blue-collar job stability and to increase the economic and social status in society of women, the elderly and the disabled. From October onwards, it will be prohibited to use age limit restrictions in the the recruitment and hiring process.

The exploitation of foreign labourers as “Cheap Manpower” has become a problem – now companies are obliged to report employment conditions.

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