Among foreign migrant workers who travel to Japan in quest of a better life, a common narrative stands out — minimal wages, occupational instability, language barriers and an itinerant lifestyle. This is what many factory employees from everywhere from Peru to the Philippines learn to expect.

But add to this isolation mental instability, with no one around to depend on — as was suspected in the case of accused murderer Vayron Jonathan Nakada Ludena — and the situation becomes dire.

Nakada's case provides a window into the problems faced by foreign workers in Japan and the management of temporary employment agencies and government support, if any, for those who find themselves in dire straits.