ruling parties coercively revised in the Diet the Immigration Act at the end of
last year. The government will begin to invite foreigners this April massively who
have a new visa status to pursue ‘specific skills’. The government maintains
these workers are not ‘immigrants’, while the policy will eventually lead to
disputes on immigration. As the law represents a historic turn, nation-wide
debates are necessary to reach consensus.
WORKERS ARE HUMANS WITH DIGNITY, NOT WORKFORCE
for First Year of Revised Immigration Act
to government sources, the number of foreign workers in total will count 345
thousand in five years ahead in the 14 industry fields. Workers with a new visa
will enter the country from April 1, 2019, to learn ‘specific skills’.
of October, 2017, the number of foreign workers in Japan counts, reportedly, 1.28
million. The figure represents the number of workers registered in the labor
insurance schemes, and in reality, the total may exceeds 1.5 million.
breakdown of which is:
% of foreign workers here have a visa status of specialists and experts, 21%
are those who are on-the-job training programs, 23% of them are those working
with a student’s visa, and 36% of foreigners are permanent residents, spouses,
and Japanese descendants.
300 thousand foreign students stay here and 83% of them are employed as
workers. Many countries in the world have regulations to halt students to work,
but here in Japan
foreign students stay to work.
with an objective to work (specialist and experts) represent 19% of the total
entries, which means the rest are considered as ‘bogus’ workers. Who has made
them phony workers? – it is the Japanese society, which needs workforce but being
reluctant to accept immigrants.
government has not welcomed unskilled workers from abroad until today. Foreign
on-the-job trainees and students-workers have drastically increased lately amid
shortage of workers. They have entered the country practically in the illegitimate
manner. Thus, illicit brokers have involved actively and illegal labor
practices have prevailed.
annual report of 2007 from the US Department of States on human-trafficking says;
the Japanese on-the-job training programs for foreigners constitute a human
the controversial on-the-job programs, which practically have been a reception
desk, labor rules on the minimum wage have not been met. Malpractices were
disclosed recently during the parliamentary debates: unpaid jobs on overtime shifts
and holidays and extraordinarily harsh working and living conditions that have led
to deaths and suicides. These realities reflect fresh in our mind. The newly
legalized system bases on the current on-the-job training schemes.
Equal and Fair Society
Japanese authorities used to send many fellow countrymen abroad early last
century on account of over-population. They demanded members of the League of Nations, emphasizing to follow its rule which speculated
‘to treat people equally and fairly without any discrimination in legal and
practical terms, disregarding race and nationality.
emigrants, while it has taken twisted measures to take care of foreigners living
here. The government today says it relies on ‘a plan which is not an immigrant
policy, but one to invite a number of foreign workers’ to secure workforce in
the midst of population decrease.
the new law is in effect, more foreigners will come to work. The fundamental
rule is to accept them as ‘humans with dignity not as mere labor force’.
Nation-wide debates are necessary to build up a society where people can live in