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Hi Blog. Here’s a handy site I just found on Facebook (GoEMON Global) that offers news and translation of interest to Debito.org. Something of note (with my comment afterwards):
OKAYAMA PREFECTURAL PUBLIC PROSECUTORS OFFICE DECIDES TO NOT CHARGE FOUR JAPANESE PEOPLE WITH THE ALLEGED ASSAULT OF A VIETNAMESE TRAINEE TWO YEARS AGO
Courtesy TT and GoEMON (https://goemon-jp.com/)
Two years ago, a 41-year-old male Vietnamese technical trainee was abused by his four Japanese coworkers while working. The act was then discreetly recorded by another Vietnamese trainee, causing a buzz within the public at that time. The result of the case was recently disclosed by the Okayama Prefectural Public Prosecutors Office.
The technical trainee filed a case to the Okayama Prefectural Public Prosecutors Office, claiming that he had been assaulted during the past two years working at the company, in which the four coworkers, all in their 30s, were referred to prosecution on suspicion of causing injuries and other charges. The Prosecutor’s Office, however, announced that the four cannot be prosecuted, due to a lack of information.
The indictments were dropped against two for injury, one for injury and violation of the Violent Acts Punishment Law, and one for violation of the Violent Acts Punishment Law.
不起訴(ふきそ): Cannot be prosecuted
GoEMON is a sharing and community connection platform in Japan. We want to build a community to help foreigners have a better life in Japan by sharing the real experiences of foreigners in Japan.
COMMENT FROM DEBITO: “A lack of information”!? [Well, in the original Japanese, it just says, “For reasons left unclear.”] Anyway, watch the video above. Yet another example (see the McGowan Case for another) of how even when you have photographic or audio evidence of abusive behavior, the laws are only as good as the people enforcing them. If public prosecutors will not do their job and prosecute, the laws specifically against violent acts mean nothing.
Consider this: How many of you out there have been in a situation where the bullying in Japan escalated from verbal to physical? Personally, I have, many times. And it’s no wonder why — as evidenced here, there’s nothing official to stop or hold abusers accountable. This is despite all the public promises of reform of Japan’s already abusive, exploitative, and deadly “Trainee” system. In a sense, this poor guy is lucky he didn’t end up laid up in the hospital or worse! Debito Arudou, PhD
PS: I got out of my bullying situations by fighting back. But that usually had mixed results — too many times in Japan the victim gets blamed for either “overreacting”, or for disrupting things by reacting at all. And it’s one reason why Japan remains a society where bullies dominate. Because who dares, wins. D.
UPDATE AUGUST 19, 2022: Other media gave more detail that the case was dropped due to a settlement. Article follows, translation mine:
ベトナム人技能実習生への暴行事件 建設会社の元従業員4人を不起訴に 岡山区検
YahooNews.co.jp, 2022.8.4(木), courtesy of LP
Translation by Debito:
Violence against a Vietnamese Trainee: Okayama Public Prosecutors decide not to prosecute four former [Japanese] employees at construction company
Yahoo News, August 4, 2022
A case sent to Okayama District Public Prosecutors, where four former [Japanese] employees at an Okayama city construction company were violent towards a Vietnamese Trainee co-worker, causing him injuries, has been dropped from prosecution.
The Vietnamese male Trainee, who had arrived in Japan in the Fall of 2019, reported that over the course of about two years, he had endured violence from Japanese co-workers at an Okayama construction company workplace, including injuries such as broken ribs.
In June 2022, Okayama Police sent the four Japanese workers to prosecutors for injurious damages. Public Prosecutors did not give a reason why they decided not to prosecute.
According to the labor union protecting the Trainee, there was an apology from the construction company and the administering agency (kanji dantai), with restitution (kessaikin) paid through private settlement. ENDS
FURTHER COMMENT FROM DEBITO: Well, if the “Trainee” feels that honor has been satisfied through apologies and restitution, so be it. And according to this article, his abusers seem to have gotten fired.
But let’s consider how this should have proceeded:
- The violence shouldn’t have gone on for two years. There should have been a way to report it to authorities at the first sign of violence, particularly to those authorities who got the “Trainees” here in the first place, and gotten him transferred him out of there immediately.
- It shouldn’t have taken the painstaking amount of effort on the part of the victim to make a video and get a labor union involved before authorities sat up and took notice. Even broken ribs wasn’t enough evidence? How many months of everyday hell and pain did this poor “Trainee” have to endure?
- The workplace should have been screened better as an acceptable workplace, and then monitored afterwards. This isn’t the first case of foreign “Trainee” or “Researcher” workplace abuse by any stretch. Abuse, according to the labor unions, is in fact the norm. According to labor union leader Torii Ippei, companies that are NOT abuse their foreign workers are “very rare” (goku mare).
This case shows just how much, despite calls for reform of the system for decades, things have NOT progressed. By now, things like this shouldn’t still be happening. But official negligence is the norm here. Again, good thing the “Trainee” had the video of the savage treatment that resulted in broken ribs and untold mental damage. But he shouldn’t have had to. Debito
Even more detail here (excerpt):
西本秀 朝日新聞 2022年5月7日
男性は2019年10月に来… rest at https://www.asahi.com/articles/ASQ5675PYQ4XPITB003.html
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5 comments on “Asahi: Okayama public prosecutors drop co-worker violence claim by Vietnamese “Trainee” despite video evidence. No wonder Japan’s violent bully culture thrives! (UPDATE: Out-of-court settlement was reached)”
It is pretty obvious that there are basically 4 sets of standard responses for prosecutors when dealing with acts of physical and non physical violence.
1. NJ on NJ crimes: Ignore it and facilitate the swift removal of all parties from Japan.
2. J on J crimes: Treat these with seriousness and follow standard guidelines.
3. NJ on J crimes: Prosecute the NJ to the fullest extent while ignoring any responsibility for the J, they after all have to continue to live in Japan and are the “special people.”
4. J on NJ crimes: Shift responsibility to the NJ as much as possible or at the least, claim lack of evidence or not enough information to proceed.
Some such variation of these rules are most likely in a training manual someplace titled: How To Handle Criminal Complaints With NJ Involved. A statistical analysis would be interesting.
Watching that video was extremely disgusting, but what I especially don‘t understand is, if the guy filming was a Vietnamese trainee too, why is he laughing? I know that people sometimes laugh when they‘re uncomfortable and don‘t know what to do, but this one really sounds like he‘s enjoying seeing his countryman being beaten. I‘m very familiar with the „I‘m a better „gaijin“ than you are“ mindset from other foreigners living in Japan, but I always assumed this was mostly a mindset of „western“ foreigners. Asian foreigners mostly use to stick together in my anecdotal experience. I‘m glad he did the right thing in the end and went public with the video, even though it wasn‘t enough to legally punish the perpetrators, which is just another example of how racist and broken the japanese „justice“ system is.
Nanjing deniers should be shown this; bully culture of “inferior” Asians alive and well.
I was immediately reminded of “City of Life and Death” when I saw this. Or “Merry Xmas Mr Lawrence”- Sgt Hara’s casual violence.
And now there is a story about trainees who get pregnant and what they have to deal with.
In Japan Today in National.
Japanese gov’t investigating mistreatment of pregnant foreign trainees
Kyodo News, Aug 21, 2022
TOKYO — The Japanese government is conducting a survey to determine whether foreign technical trainees have been forced by employers or intermediary groups to leave the country because they fell pregnant or gave birth.
The Immigration Services Agency of Japan and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare are working together on what appears to be the first survey of its kind, amid increased attention over a growing number of cases of harassment and abuse of trainees.
The survey aims to obtain responses from around 490 people on the government-sponsored technical internship program, asking respondents if they know of cases where women have been sent to their home country after becoming pregnant or having a child.
There have been cases of people being forced to sign documents agreeing to leave if they become pregnant, and of individuals abandoning newborn children for fear of dismissal and loss of working rights in Japan.
Japan introduced the program in 1993, with trainees allowed to work for up to five years at companies with the view of using skills learned in Japan to contribute to their home countries’ economies. The scheme has been criticized as providing cover for companies to import cheap labor from across Asia.
At the end of 2021, some 276,000 people were engaged in the program, with the highest proportions from Vietnam, China and Indonesia.
Japan’s law on equal opportunity employment for men and women, which also applies to the trainees, prohibits disadvantageous treatment on the basis of an individual giving birth or becoming pregnant.
Based on the survey’s results, the central government intends to improve its messaging on the issue.
According to data from the labor ministry, 637 trainees were forced to leave their jobs over pregnancy-related issues between November 2017 and December 2020. The statistics, however, are based only on those known from reports by oversight groups and other sources.
The government-run Organization for Technical Intern Training that oversees the program is thus handing out the survey to the trainees from August to October this year during regular inspections of their employers.
Trainees subject to the survey would be from seven countries — Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
Its questions include whether the technical interns have signed documents pledging to resign if they become pregnant, and if they know of any trainees who have been dismissed for that reason.
It also asks if they are aware they can take leave when pregnant and continue working after giving birth, and that they are eligible for a lump sum payment.
Various issues with the program have emerged since it was launched. Some trainees have incurred large debts in the process of entering Japan, while others were required to work an illegal number of hours and some were not paid their owed wages.
Amid increasing attention on abuses in the technical intern system, Yoshihisa Furukawa, the previous justice minister, said in July the government will launch a full-scale review of the program, separate to the survey. ENDS
It has moved to the Politics section.
Sounds like it is time for paternity tests.
Make it mandatory.
Japan is getting smaller. Now less than 126 million.
What are the women going to do?
Leave? Give kid up for adoption? Have an abortion?
Children could be stateless.