Afumetto Retepu, a 42-year-old Uyghur from Tokyo who hasn't been able to contact his family for three years, worries that they may have been forced to work at labor factories in China's far-western Xinjiang region.

As reports shedding light on the forced labor of Uyghurs in China continue to emerge, Uyghurs in Japan and rights advocates are urging Japanese firms to take notice of their plight and are calling for more attention to be paid to China's repressive policies toward the Muslim minority group.

“People in Japan may think that Japan has nothing to do with this problem, but it’s not true,” Retepu said. “I have no words to describe how painful it is to know that my relatives or family members of other (Uyghurs living in Japan who) we haven’t been able to reach over the past two or three years may be working there to" make a profit for Japanese companies.