Sunday, March 14, 2010

Gust workers story in Japan.

Hundred years ago young poor girls from rural areas were brought to the urban side and forced in to hard and cheap labour by company owners of Japan.. Japanese people call those girls jokou aisi or Girls sad Stories. That system was continued by urban companies even up to 30-40 year ago. That structure has now changed to the use of foreign labor after the Japanese government set up Industrial Training and Technical Internship Program in 1993 as a way to contribute internationally. “Now we are saying “foreign trainee’s sad stories” said Ichiro Takahara heads the Fukui office of the Advocacy Network for Foreign Trainees.
Takahara has been involved in the foreign trainees issue in Fukui Prefecture since 1999. He was helped about 300 foreign trainees. Also, he has helped 50 trainees to escape from factories and receive outstanding salaries in last ten years. He has so far helped 17 trainees escape this year.
He has helped five Chinese female trainees to escape by the end of October from Tode Bussan, fabric factory in Toyama. Those Chinese female trainees came to Japan three years ago to receive training and work to fabric factory. They told their stories over lunch recently.

“Yummy …..Yummy…. good food. This is first time we have come out for food to a restaurant during last three years, we never even tried to taste Chinese food in restaurants” said Zaimei.” They were happy but there sad faced told their sad story.
Zaimei was 27 years old girl and she came with another four girls to Japan three years ago on 16th November 2006. At the sewing fabric-company those girls received 25,000 yen (US$ 285) payment for their hard labor over 12 hours of work per day.
All of them escaped from the company on 28th October 2009 and went to local labor office to make a complaint against to company and demand their balance salary.
Japanese companies have been known to be lax on rights of foreign workers. They treat to foreign labors like a third class citizens. Some of Japanese ompanies force to foreign labors to work over time and pay less than what is required by law. Female workers also fear sexual assault.

“We need to work 12 hours every day from 9 mornings to night 9. After work we feel so tired and so much pain in our legs. During the working time we can not sit. Only 70 minutes are given to sit during the lunch time. We need to work hard more than Japanese labors. The Japanese usually do overseer jobs. Every day we need to do a minimum 4 hours of over time but our company didn’t pay all of over time money for last three years. They also cut half of our salary for accommodate,” said Zaimi.
Japanese large scale companies have also started to move aboard in search of inexpensive labour and have opened factories in Korea and China since 1970. More and more large companies are shifting overseas.
At the same time small and middle scale business owners have demanded inexpensive labour in Japan. Adhering to the request the government allowed foreign labours to comes and work in Japan as trainees.
Even though Japanese companies treated them not like a trainees. Most of companies treated trainee’s as hard labour workers.
Training period was about one year during which period companies paid minimum wage.

“Before I came to Japan I haven’t knowledge Japanese company like this. Japanese workers and we are doing same work but salary’s so different. It is not fair” said Jiang Fang, 27 years old girl. She came Japan to make money for a better education for her child who was eight years old daughter.
When she was seeking advice from Chinese company Japan had high technology as senior staff very kind of to junior staff. Also, Chinese company charge from her about 7,000 US$ to send her to Japan with promises of free dormitory.
“Few days after I came Japan I feel that promises was totally different and senior officers were totally not kind for us. Some time they try assault us. We couldn’t complain against the officers. When we complained against to them they send us back home. That is why we decided to escape from that company and make a complaint at labour office,” said Fang.
“Most of company owners think foreign trainees like cats and dogs.” said Takahara.
Pictures & Story @ Buddhika Weerasinghe

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