Japan Times/Kyodo: Decrease in NJ “Trainees”


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Hi Blog.  With layoffs numbering these in the tens of thousands in Japanese companies, germane to Debito.org is how this is affecting NJ in Japan.  Here are some stats regarding backdoor imported labor in Japan.  (The headline of “rare” is a bit exaggerated, but indeed indicative of a trend.)

A reliable source estimated to me that 40% of all Brazilian workers will leave Japan in short order.  While not usually “Trainees” (they are “Returnees” on less-restrictive “teijuusha” visas), that’s still a hell of a way to go (that means over 100,000 people), and it may lead to the first drop in NJ in Japan in more than four decades.  No stats on that yet, but when we see them, we’ll post them.

One more thing:  I saw in the Diet debates yesterday that JCP leader Shii noted how in the ten years since 1997, profits in total for companies had significantly gone up while total wages paid out to workers had gone down (don’t have exact figures; didn’t have a pencil  handy).  So now that times have gone sour, I wonder just how many of these layoffs are a convenient means to continue to keep corporate profits stable?  The overarching need to prove a business’s health through profits (and the pressure to one-up oneself by posting record profits in the past) gives all the wrong incentives, from a labor standpoint.  But that’s speculation on my part; we’ll leave it to those who know more about the subject to comment.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Foreign trainees at Japan firms growing rare
Japan Times/Kyodo News

The economic crisis is taking a toll on foreign trainees in Japan.

Preliminary data compiled by the Japan International Training Cooperation Organization show that the number of companies’ applications for permitting foreigners into Japan as trainees or technical interns last October fell 18.8 percent from a year earlier to 4,753.

The figure for November stood at 4,692, down 25.5 percent from a year before. The organization, jointly founded by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and four other ministries, said Japanese firms are becoming reluctant to accept new foreign trainees in the face of the deteriorating economy.

The organization said an increasing number of foreign trainees have been seeking advice, saying they may be forced to return to their countries before their terms expire.

Although many foreign trainees are hired at low wages, the recent data suggest that companies, particularly small ones, are now in bad shape and aren’t even hiring these low-wage workers, officials with the organization said.

By country, the number of new trainees from China fell 27.6 percent in November. Trainees from Indonesia were down 26.0 percent and those from the Philippines were down 41.0 percent.

The number of people entering Japan to become trainees had been increasing since the foreign trainee system started in 1993, topping 100,000 in 2007.

The Japan Times: Monday, Feb. 2, 2009

2 comments on “Japan Times/Kyodo: Decrease in NJ “Trainees”

  • While it’s sad that someone is losing their job the reality is that with profits being the motivating factor what would companies do?

    Well, if they were getting the same work/yen out of their “trainees” that they were getting out of their regular employees they would be stupid to get rid of them wouldn’t they? After all if they wanted to keep or increase profits they would keep the foreign trainees. If they didn’t and there was an economic advantage in terms of work/yen another company would hire up the trainees at the lower wage and show increased profits potentially driving their competitors out of business.

    While the trainee program brings much needed labor in at lower prices the reality is that there is an economic incentive to keep those lower paid workers (much like the H1B visas in the USA where companies like Intel and Microsoft file for hundreds of thousands of H1B visas when only a fraction are available for skilled low cost foreign workers while laying off thousands of skilled US workers) to improve their profit margin and keep their stock price up IF AND ONLY IF they produce more work/yen than the local higher cost labor supply. And if reports are correct they obviously aren’t getting the same work/yen out of those trainees and in hard economic times it only makes sense that they should be the first to be let go.

  • I think you’re fishing for a controversy that doesn’t exist.Companies aren’t cutting to keep profits up, they are cutting to survive.Sadly, it’s always the low-paid/contract worker that gets the boot first.


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