JT and Nikkei: Japan to offer longer stays for “Trainees”, but with contract lengths that void qualifying for Permanent Residency


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Hi Blog. As is within character since the early 1990s, Japan wants NJ workers to make up for labor shortages in Japan’s workforce, but remains unwilling to allow NJ migrant workers to become immigrants: to access the benefits of their labors and years of investment in Japan’s economy and society by allowing them to live in Japan.

No, once again, Japan would rather leach off the best years of NJs’ productive lives and then send them home. Except now GOJ policy explicitly wants them to stick around and be exploited ever longer (without their families, and with a built-in contract cut-off before they can qualify for Permanent Residency), again under the guise of the deadlyTraineeslave-wage labor program. Witness the JT article below. Dr. Debito Arudou


Japan looks to offer longer stays for technical interns, with caveats it hopes will limit immigration debate
The Japan Times, April 12, 2018 (excerpt). Courtesy of lots of people.
Full article at https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/04/12/national/sidestepping-wider-immigration-debate-japan-eyes-longer-stays-technical-interns/

Japan is weighing the creation of a new status of residence that would allow technical interns from abroad to stay longer in the country, as part of efforts to tackle severe labor shortages, sources said Wednesday.

But interns’ families would not be allowed to enter Japan — a provision meant to prevent the creation of the new status from leading to discussions on the sensitive issue of immigration, the sources said.

The status would allow those who have completed a five-year technical intern training program and meet certain requirements to stay and work for up to five additional years, the sources said. […]

With the technical intern training program intended to transfer skills abroad, interns currently must return to their home countries after a five-year stay. The new residency status would allow interns to stay in Japan to work for a maximum of five more years. The government plans to set requirements to obtain the status, including industry-specific ones, the sources said.

But according to a Nikkei business daily report [see below], trainees will still have to return to their home after their programs end, and then apply for the new residence status that would allow them to work again in Japan for a further five years.

This is apparently aimed at keeping trainees and interns from gaining eligibility to apply for permanent residency, for which one of the prerequisites is to be living in Japan for 10 years or more.

Those who have already completed the trainee program and returned to their home countries can also apply for the new status of residence, the report said.

The report also said that trainees with the new work permit would be able to gain highly-skilled professional status if they pass an examination, which would enable them to bring their families to Japan and to renew their visas.

The new work permit would be given to those working in nursing, agriculture and construction — sectors where labor shortages are most severely felt, the sources said.

Labor shortages are already severe, especially in the service sector. In 2017, there were 150 job openings for every 100 workers — the largest gap in over four decades.

The number of foreign workers has been on the rise in recent years, hitting an all-time high of approximately 1.28 million as of last October. Of that total, the number of technical interns stood at around 250,000, according to government data.

The technical intern program, which was formally created in 1990 for the purpose of transferring skills in the industrial, agricultural and fisheries sectors to developing economies, has become an essential part of Japan’s labor force amid the nation’s demographic woes.

Abe has officially declared that his administration will never adopt “an immigration policy” to make up for the continuing acute labor shortage, despite a rapidly thinning workforce.

The program was designed to support foreign nationals in their acquisition of technical skills, but has been criticized as a cover to exploit cheap labor from abroad. Many cases have been reported of trainees being subjected to illegally long work hours and physical abuse from employers.

In March, it was revealed that a Vietnamese man who came to Japan under the program was allegedly forced to take part in decontamination work in areas hit by the 2011 nuclear disaster. The Justice Ministry has begun investigating the case.

To eliminate violations by companies employing vocational trainees, a new law came into effect in November obliging employers to secure accreditation for their training programs. Under the law, employers found to have physically abused the trainees are subject to imprisonment of up to 10 years or a fine of up to ¥3 million. Other moves, such as denying compensation claims or confiscating passports, are regarded as violation of the Labor Standards Law and are also subject to punishment.


外国人、技能実習後も5年就労可能に 本格拡大にカジ
日本経済新聞 2018/4/11, courtesy of JM













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11 comments on “JT and Nikkei: Japan to offer longer stays for “Trainees”, but with contract lengths that void qualifying for Permanent Residency

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    I think you mean “Nikkei” instead of “Sankei”?

    A stark contrast in the headlines(between JT[English] and Nikkei[Japanese]) shows how each media outlet holds the issue differently.

    — Oops! Thanks for the correction.

  • I get so sick of being seen as just some exploitable and disposable resource to this country. I pity those who come in a much more precarious situation than I and get treated like this…

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    All of these schemes will fail, they always do in Japan, because the Japanese operate them on such an abusive and exclusionary basis.
    Remember the plan to attract ‘elite NJ’? Failed.
    Remember the plan to attract nurses? Failed.

    This is just a group of septuagenarian J-suits doubling down on the same failed policies. Let’s not get worried and take them seriously.

    • Jim Di Griz says:

      P.S. I especially ‘love’ the fact that in order to get this 5 year visa, you have to have japanese language proficiency!
      Who is going to bother learning japanese for a one-time five year work opportunity when japanese has no use in the rest of the world?

  • Seems the game is up and not many people want to work in Japan…

    Japan’s new working visa sees only 219 holders in first 6 months
    November 14, 2019 (Mainichi Japan)

    TOKYO (Kyodo) — A new skilled worker visa introduced by Japan in April to bring in more foreign labor has only been acquired by 219 foreigners as of the end of September, the country’s immigration agency said Wednesday, falling far short of the target for the program’s first year.

    While the numbers represent a more than 10-fold increase from the 20 visa holders recorded by June, they fall short of the maximum 47,550 foreigners expected to acquire the visa by March 2020.

    The subdued response has been attributed to the limited test sites outside of Japan, and the narrow range of sectors for tests conducted thus far, both of which the Justice Ministry is working on expanding.

    As of the end of October, tests have only been held in six countries outside of Japan, such as the Philippines and Indonesia, for six sectors, including nursing care and food service.

    In order to qualify for the Specified Skilled Worker visa, an applicant must pass a skills exams and Japanese language test or have gone through Japan’s technical intern program for at least three years.

    According to the Immigration Services Agency, 176 of the 219 foreigners with the new resident status used the latter method to acquire the new visa, which was introduced as part of Japan’s efforts to cope with a chronic labor shortage due to its rapidly graying population and declining birthrate.

    By country, Vietnam accounted for the most foreigners holding the visa at 93. They were followed by Indonesia at 33, the Philippines at 27, and Thailand at 23.

    Out of the 14 sectors eligible for working rights under the visa, food and beverage manufacturing had the most visa holders at 49, followed by industrial machinery production at 43, molding at 42, and farming at 31.

    The Specified Skilled Worker No. 1 resident status allows foreigners to work in 14 sectors for up to five years in total.

    Proficient workers in the construction and shipbuilding fields can further extend their stay by earning the No. 2 status, which allows holders to bring in family members and has no limit on the number of times they can renew their visas. ENDS

    • LOL! “While the numbers represent a more than 10-fold increase from the 20 visa holders recorded by June, they fall short of the maximum 47,550 foreigners expected to acquire the visa by March 2020.”

      • I love that the excuse isn’t that this is a bad scheme presenting an unattractive choice, but rather is blamed on ‘not having enough overseas test centers’.
        Yeah, right.


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