Agencies that dispatch non-Japanese as interns under the government's foreign trainee program, as well as a government-commissioned foundation that supervises and instructs them, put corporate profits first and are not fulfilling their oversight responsibilities, lawyers familiar with the program say.

The program has long been notorious. Foreigners, mostly from Asian countries such as China, Vietnam and Indonesia, are "subjected to conditions of forced labor, sometimes through the government's" industrial training and technical internship program in Japan, the U.S. State Department said in June in its annual Trafficking in Persons Report.

There have been numerous reports of trainees toiling under harsh conditions for miserable wages after coming to Japan with high hopes for a program that was set up to provide them with professional skills over a three-year period.