Mainichi: Kofu Laundry taken to cleaners over abuses of Chinese “trainees”


Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatar
Hi Blog.  Mainichi reports yet another case of “Trainee” labor abuses, and this time the public prosecutor looks to do something about it.  Plus a brief Yomiuri article on how deep the abuses are going, alas with only a brief citation of figures, nothing about the whos, wheres, and what’s to be done about it.  Like siccing the public prosecutor on them.  Debito in Sapporo


Dry-cleaning company boss reported to prosecutors over treatment of Chinese trainees

Mainichi Shinbun April 9, 2009, courtesy of Jeff K.

KOFU — The Kofu Labor Standards Inspection Office has sent documents to public prosecutors accusing a dry-cleaning company president of violating labor and wage laws by making Chinese trainees work for pay below the minimum wage.

The office sent documents to the Kofu District Public Prosecutors Office accusing 60-year-old Masafumi Uchida, the president of a dry-cleaning company in Yamanashi Prefecture, of violating the Minimum Wage Law and Labor Standards Law.

The labor standards inspection office had been conducting an investigation after the Mainichi Shimbun reported on the treatment of the workers on Aug. 27 last year.

Uchida was reported to prosecutors over the alleged failure to pay about 11.15 million yen to six female trainees from China aged in their 20s and 30s, during the period between February 2007 and July 2008.

The office also reported a 37-year-old certified social insurance labor consultant from Chuo, Yamanashi Prefecture, to public prosecutors accusing him of assisting in the violation of both laws by providing assistance to Uchida and other related parties.

(Mainichi Japan) April 9, 2009


Japanese version with sparser details:


労基法違反:中国実習生に最低賃金未満 容疑で山梨の会社を書類送検

毎日新聞 2009年4月9日 東京朝刊




Foreign trainee abuse found at 452 entities

The Justice Ministry says it has found irregularities at a 452 companies and organizations that hosted foreign trainees last year.

The job-training system for foreign trainees from developing countries was introduced to help them acquire technical expertise and skills from Japanese organizations, but it has often been misused by unscrupulous companies and organizations as a means to get unskilled workers from developing countries who will work for extremely low wages.

Officials of the ministry said it had confirmed that the companies and organizations violated labor laws, such as by paying lower-than-minimum wages to foreign trainees. Of the total, 169 cases of entities making trainees work unpaid overtime were found and 155 cases concerned other labor law violations such as payment of illegally low wages.

(Apr. 11, 2009)

4 comments on “Mainichi: Kofu Laundry taken to cleaners over abuses of Chinese “trainees”

  • Debito, I’m missing something here. Weren’t these workers invited here specifically on the basis that they would be cheaper to employ? I can’t remember all the facts, sorry but I seem to remember that being the case. So what happened – were they getting even less than the already low salary promised? Thanks for helping clear this up.

    — Yes. Much less. Watch SOUR STRAWBERRIES and read my most recent Japan Times column.

  • I’m really glad that somebody had decided to voice the problem with the Chinese trainees. I have seen people from other countries comming as trainees in Japan, mostly in Toyota, but they were all either technical specialists, or on managerial positions.And they really studied and worked. Which makes me think that the whole visa issuing procedures on that program are very wrong. I checked the legal requirements for a trainee visa:
    “1.The technology, skills and/or knowledge that an applicant is to obtain in Japan must not be technology, skills and/or knowledge that could be obtained mostly through the repetition of simple work.
    3.It must be impossible or difficult for the applicant to obtain the desired technology, skills and/or knowledge in the country where he or she resides.”
    Now, when the applicant is with high school or even lower education, you cannot expect him/her to do some complicated work.And what can one learn working at a daikon or strawberry farm, or working at a dry cleaning, which is so unique he/she cannot learn it in their home country.
    “The accepting organization is inviting trainees at a ratio of 1/20 trainees or less, including the applicant, to each full-time employee.”
    When a company invites 10 trainees, does anyone really check if their full-time Japanese employees are more than 200?
    “In cases where an organization, other than the Government of Japan or a local government, is mediating the training, the organization concerned must not be a profit-making organization.”
    I think the brokers are anything but “non-profit organization”. Does anyone care to check them?
    If getting work and student visa is so hard, why visas for such unhappy trainees are issued so easily?I know people with 4 year degree from a famous university and excellent job offers from big companies fail to get visas,so I really wonder what’s going on? How many Japanese were jailed for forging visa applications and related documents?

  • It is nice to see that the Labor Standards Office is doing something. The two times I was denied payment from two different companies they didn’t accomplish squat. So it is nice to see that they aren’t a totally powerless part of the government.

  • OK. So the ministry found irregularities. Are they actually going to do something about it or just mention it and do nothing like countless other things?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>