Worker, 14, loses part of thumb


A 14-year-old Brazilian boy worked at a press-working factory in Miyoshi, Aichi Prefecture, and lost part of his right thumb in an accident there, a local labor office announced Thursday.

The office has filed a complaint with prosecutors against a temporary manpower company and the owner of the factory, both based in the prefecture, as well as their executives. The Labor Standards Law prohibits hiring juveniles under 15 years old.

The labor office is also investigating whether more Brazilian children are working in the city of Toyota and other areas as the number of the Brazilians under 15 registered as students is less than the number registered as residents.

The manpower company told the boy to say he was 16 and sent him to work at the factory in Miyoshi from December 2003 to April this year, according to the labor office.

The two companies are also believed to have made the boy work overtime.

The factory allegedly failed to check the safety of its equipment, resulting in the loss of a part of the boy’s right thumb, while using one of its machines on April 27.

The incident came to light after the boy, who feared he might not receive workers accident insurance, consulted with a labor office.

The boy came to Japan with his parents when he was 10. He quit a Brazilian school in Toyota in July 2003 because he could not pay tuition. Instead of going to a Japanese junior high school, he did a number of jobs, including working on a construction site.