Japanese Government to Impose Heavy Penalties on Employers Responsible for Undocumented Foreign Interns

It cannot be denied that the Land of the Rising Sun is currently experiencing a chronic labor shortage as a result of low birth rate and a decline in onward migration. One of the social issues that Japan has to deal with is its aging population and lack of a strong labor force especially in the fourteen identified sectors such as but not limited to the food and service industry, nursing, construction as well as agriculture.


Photo credit to: https://mainichi.jp/

In this regard, the Japanese government enacted a law early this year to relax the immigration rules in the country which used to be very stringent and difficult to comply with. The government seeks to open doors of opportunities for foreign nationals who are seeking for employment in Japan in order to address their current problems on labor crunch.


However, despite its need for more foreign workers, the government aims to make sure that these international sojourners in Japan are properly accounted for especially with regard to foreign technical interns. While the influx of foreign workers and interns can help alleviate the labor shortage in the country, it does not mean that the Japanese government will go lax on missing trainees who flee the premises of their work places or the establishments that they are connected with due to abusive working conditions and ill treatment.


The said foreign interns are not permitted to switch to other jobs in Japan. As such, they become undocumented workers in the country after they quit from the internship program. In order to avoid this unfortunate situation, the Japanese government will be imposing heavy penalties against employers and companies that abuse their foreign interns in view of illegal activities such as non payment of proper salary or wages.


According to Justice Minister Masako Mori, “We’ll steadily enforce the measures to decrease the number of those who go missing at any cost.” The employers or supervisory establishments that are responsible for the disappearance of these foreign trainees may be banned by the government from accepting new interns.


Reference: Tougher penalties introduced for employers over foreign intern disappearances


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