National

Foreign trainees tell Diet hearing about poor work environments in Japan

JIJI

At a joint hearing conducted by major opposition parties Thursday, foreign trainees in Japan complained of low wages, long working hours, violence and power harassment at their workplaces.

A Chinese woman who arrived in Japan in 2015 and worked at a paper mill in Shizuoka Prefecture said she had developed depression after experiencing discrimination and bullying at her workplace.

She said she tried to commit suicide when her request for a transfer was rejected.

Another trainee who attended was a Vietnamese man who came to Japan in 2015, to gain skills in handling reinforcing rods and creating molds for concrete at construction sites.

He claimed his job at a construction company in Fukushima Prefecture mostly involved decontamination work after the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The man said he’d wanted to learn expert skills but that never happened, adding that he’d also realized his hopes would never be fulfilled three years after his arrival in the country.

The joint hearing was held after the government last week submitted a draft revision to the immigration control law, to accept more foreign workers in order to ease labor shortages.

Among the participating politicians were Akira Nagatsuma, acting leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), and Kazuhiro Haraguchi, Diet affairs head of the Democratic Party for the People.

In an statement drawn up Thursday, the CDPJ said the proposed revision may “further deepen and prolong problems arising from the technical intern training program.”

The government is aiming for the revision to be passed during the current Diet session, which is set to end in December.

The CDPJ said it cannot accept the government’s position as the revision will create a source of significant difficulty in the country’s future.

At a press conference, JCP leader Kazuo Shii said his party will endeavor to get the bill scrapped through Diet debates.