When director Akio Fujimoto's "Along the Sea" reaches theaters nationwide next spring, he hopes the plight of Vietnamese temporary workers depicted in the film will show the exploitative reality their like face in Japan at times.

A co-production with a Vietnamese film company, the movie follows three young women from Vietnam who arrive in Japan to work as technical interns. The trio flees harsh employment conditions and is forced to confront new challenges as undocumented workers in a small coastal town.

While the plot is fictional, the women's situations are all too real in Japan, where in recent years the government-sponsored technical intern program has come under fire from critics for being little more than a cover for companies to import cheap labor.