Vietnamese flock to Japan foreign trainee program as total tops 26,000

JIJI

The number of Vietnamese in Japan’s Technical Intern Training Program for foreign nationals stood at 26,437 in January-June this year — the largest group — according to a recent Immigration Bureau survey.

Trainees from China were the second most by nation, with 16,863. They were followed by Indonesia at 4,558, Thailand at 2,160 and the Philippines with 2,043.

The training program for people from developing nations will be drastically reformed next month, with the training period extended from three years to five and a program watchdog established to check whether Japanese companies are in compliance with appropriate pay offers.

Foreign trainees work in sectors such as manufacturing, including at machinery makers, construction firms and food processing companies, a Japan International Training Cooperation Organization official said. The organization connects foreign trainees with Japanese companies.

The official also attributed robust demand for foreign interns to preparations in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The official said interns also come from Cambodia and Myanmar and that they often build on their careers in their home countries after finishing the training program, including by working at local units of Japanese firms.

Despite the demand for labor in the manufacturing and other blue-collar industries, the number of interns in the research and medical fields, for professional jobs sought by the government, failed to make it into the triple digits.