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Japan – To expand controversial work permits program to stay for up to five years

Japan is considering expanding a controversial programme that now offers workers from China and elsewhere permits to work for up to three years, as the world’s fastest-aging nation scrambles to plug gaps in a rapidly shrinking workforce.  Capture d’écran 2014-04-01 à 08.32.28

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party on Tuesday submitted a proposal to let workers to stay for up to five years, relax hiring rules for employers and boost the number of jobs open to them.

“We will strengthen the governance of the program,” LDP lawmaker Yasuhisa Shiozaki, who authored the proposal, told reporters. “We are aware of the concerns and we allowed people who had objections to voice their objections.”

Shiozaki said the LDP wanted to see harsher penalties for Japanese companies that abused foreign workers and would use external inspectors and local governments to monitor compliance.

The program, started in 1993, sponsors around 150,000 workers, mostly Chinese, for jobs in areas such as the garment industry and farms.

In theory, the foreign workers come to Japan as trainees to acquire technical expertise, but lawyers and labor activists say many face abuse, from illegally low wages to the confiscation of their passports.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Japan moves to expand controversial foreign worker scheme | Reuters.

 

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