Finally, a quarter-century into the horrible government-sponsored NJ “Trainee” program, the GOJ is now releasing actual hard statistics about the people it is killing. And you can see why it took so long–the numbers are shameful enough to warrant a cover-up: Between 2014 and 2017, 22 NJ died (almost all due to workplace accidents, but at least one was probably being worked to death). This is more than twice the on-job fatality rate for J workers. There were also 475 cases of serious accidents to NJ “Trainees”, and, as activists point out below, this figure is probably understated.
A contrarian might argue that NJ are just accident-prone. But as the article describes below, working conditions are simply awful, not to mention generally illegal. And as as Debito.org has pointed out repeatedly over the decades, “the program is rife with abuse: exploitation under sweatshop conditions, restrictions on movement, unsafe workplaces, uncompensated work and work-site injuries, bullying and violence, physical and mental abuse, sexual harassment, death from overwork and suicide — even slavery and murder. Things have not improved in recent years. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry announced that about 70 percent of some 5,200 companies that accepted trainees in 2015 violated laws, and in 2016 a record 4,004 employers engaged in illegal activities. The program is so rotten that even the United Nations demanded Japan scrap it.” (From Japan Times, Jan. 3, 2018, Item 4)
Anyway, let’s celebrate that we have some official statistics at last, for without them, it’s easy to see why this program can keep going for a quarter-century with little political traction to improve it.