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article imageAlarming Death Rate of Foreign Trainees Reported in Japan

By Leo Reyes     Jun 24, 2009 in Business
A Japanese lawyer representing a group of trainee-workers in cases of alleged abuse by some Japanese companies, reported an alarming death rate among foreign trainees due mainly to overwork and and other forms of labor exploitation.
At least 16 foreign trainees died in Japan during the last 12 months due to health conditions that may be traced to overwork and possible labor exploitation.
Japanese companies have been ‘hiring’ foreign trainees mostly from Asian countries including China, Indonesia and the Philippines, obviously to avoid paying high cost of labor in their effort to save on business and production costs.
Japan has not opened up the country for migration despite its lowest population birth rate in the region. This situation resulted in the shortage of labor especially in the manufacturing sector.
Because of the strict immigration rule, some Japanese companies hire foreign trainees under its training assistance program allowing them to work in their companies on low wages and long hours.
Yahoo news reports:
As concern has grown about abuses under the scheme, a government body announced this month that a record 34 workers from Asia, mainly Chinese nationals, had died in Japan in the financial year to March.
The Japan International Training Cooperation Organization, which oversees the nation's training programmes, said 16 trainees had died of heart and brain conditions, five were killed in work accidents and one had committed suicide
Lawyer Shoichi Ibusuki, a member of a legal group that has represented trainee workers in cases of alleged abuse, said that "such a high rate of fatal heart and brain disease among trainees is just abnormal".
There are at present about 177,000 foreign workers-trainees under the current Japan foreign training assistance program. These trainees work in assembly lines in the manufacturing sector and other labor intensive companies in the country.
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