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Nursing firm withheld funds from Filipino workers

Kyodo

A Japanese nursing care service provider that obliged Filipino employees to absolve the company of any responsibility for their deaths also illegally withheld some of their monthly salaries, sources said.

Juju Corp. appears to have set aside the cash as reserves in case loans extended to help the employees come to Japan and for other purposes became uncollectible.

The labor ministry ordered Juju, based in Higashiosaka, Osaka Prefecture, to return the money because such reserves break the Labor Standards Law, which prohibits forced savings, the sources said Sunday.

A former employee meanwhile plans to file a civil complaint against the company later this month seeking compensation for alleged harsh working conditions and fraud perpetrated by forcing the repayment of ambiguous “loans” from the company that fail to specify exactly how much they owe.

The company declined to comment.

Juju requires Filipino job applicants to sign statements absolving the company of any responsibility should they die in Japan.

The statement, written in both Japanese and English, says ” . . . in case of loss of life of the undersigned through natural circumstances while in Japan, I release, waive and forever discharge Juju Corp., its officers, directors, representatives or employees from any action for sums of money or other obligations arising.”

Filipino employees have also complained about harsh working conditions at Juju. Another document showed the company had assigned one employee to night duty 13 times in a single month.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has opened an investigation into why the company had the employees sign such statements and is looking into its working conditions as well.

Juju runs 13 facilities in Osaka and Nara. It started hiring Filipino women around 2009.