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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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