This article first appeared
at Yahoo news
Japan needs foreign workers, but will they come? [probably not]
Faced with a dwindling population and severe labor shortage, Japan aims to attract more foreign workers, [sometimes I think this is just political empty rhetoric since Japan has been suggesting this for the past ten years and nothing has changed] but a rapidly depreciating yen and lack of rights stand in the way.
“Japan needs to compete for foreign workers against other developed Asian nations – the weakening yen [cynicism: Yen went from ¥100 to ¥120 in about three weeks] won’t make the country any more attractive” said Cesar V. Santoyo, a former priest who worked with migrants in Hong Kong before founding SOLS, a non-profit organization that retrains Filipino women living in Japan as English teaching assistants.
The yen has been in a downward spiral since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [then these almost criminal Japanese reprobates announce a vote which cost the Japanese taxpayer billions of ¥en] introduced a series of fiscal and monetary stimulus measures to spur the economy in 2013. The U.S. dollar is near a seven-year high against the yen, up around 40 percent since Abe took office in December 2012.
Read more: New repair manual needed for Japan’s broken economy
A weaker yen makes yen-based wages less attractive to workers that plan to make remittances to family members back home.
Only while we need them
Two large publicly-financed construction projects – the ongoing reconstruction of the northeast region hit by the 2011 earthquake and the construction of venues for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – have brought the issue into focus. Japan’s construction industry faces a shortfall of 230,000 workers [so bring foreign workers in for construction projects when many Japanese people are opposed to this enormous waste of money to build an Olympic stadium to host the 2020 Olympics?] in 2015, government statistics show.
Japan’s ageing population and low birth rates [youth in Japan are not even interested in sex anymore being distracted by computer games and the problems and financial costs] further underscore the need for labor. The population shrank for the third straight year in 2013, according to the Internal Affairs Ministry, and is projected to shrink by a third by 2060, increasing the need to import caretakers for children and the elderly, especially if housewives – traditionally caretakers in Japan – are expected to join the workforce. [Japanese families cannot survive economically unless the mother or wife works; then many mothers work as pre-school “teachers” in Japan’s hoikuen industry taking care of other Japanese children while their own children go to a different hoikuen to be taken care of by another mother?]
Read more: Betting on social change in Japan [Social change? In Japan? That will never happen.]
But voters [voting is for passive Japanese who think their politicians will actually make any efforts at advancing significant social change] find immigration unpalatable. Just 12 percent of respondents in the most recent government survey feel there should be more foreign workers. [the deeply seated prejudices and discrimination Japanese have against foreigners is not easily recognized until one lives here for a significant period of time]
As a result, Abe’s ruling party insists there is “no immigration policy,” just a plan to “expand the utilization of foreign talent,” in its manifesto for this Sunday’s national elections. [these fucking recent elections the Japanese government announced cost the Japanese taxpayer billions of ¥en]
“The government and voters have a hard time accepting temporary foreign workers, let alone permanent immigrants,” said Eriko Suzuki, associate professor at Kokushikan University.
“But the population decline cannot not be reversed without immigrants,” he said.
To attract more workers, the government seeks to reform and expand the central pillar of its guest worker policy: the Technical Intern Training Program – an initiative that provides technical skills training to youth and adult workers [a phenomenon known as “power harassment” makes working conditions almost unbearable for new employees] from developing countries for a specific period.
But the system is so widely abused by Japanese employers that the U.S. Department of State condemned it as “forced labor” in its annual “Trafficking in Persons” report. [Japan has the highest rate of porn production of any country in the world and roughly 1,500 persons go missing in Japan because of human trafficking related to the sex industry]
“It’s a charade calling them interns – Japanese employers are just exploiting them as cheap labor,” said Shoichi Ibusuki, a leading labor rights lawyer who has represented interns in court. [the Japanese system is EXTREMELY exploitative]
Still, the government is tightening oversight of the system and is taking tentative steps to introduce broader work permits, he said. [notice the word “tentative”; the Japanese have been saying tentative for the past fucking 20 years]
Read more: Japan’s brokerages seize opportunity as death tax set to rise [now the Japanese government will be going after 90 percent of estate in death taxes]
Interns are paid around 100,000 yen, or around $838, more than half of which is deducted for living expenses, according to Ibusuki. They are often forced to work long hours, sometimes more than 100 hours of overtime, cannot change jobs and must leave Japan if they quit. [foreign workers are basically treated like shit and then when the Yakuza gets involved like they did in the cleanup at Fukushima in sourcing these foreign employees then some really fucking serious problems begin]
Many interns quit when they learn they’re being paid half of what Japanese interns would earn.
In 2013, just over 50,000 “trainees”, mostly from China and Vietnam, were working in Japan, 2,822 of which were reported missing to the government agency that oversees the program.
Will supply meet the demand?
While experts [experts? Who the fuck might they be?] say there is a supply of migrants across Asia, the question is whether the kind of skilled workers Japan wants will choose the country over other equally developed nations, such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Kiyoto Tanno, professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University, doesn’t think so: “Japanese wages are no longer attractive for those with at least a high school education.”
Still, Japan remains more attractive than some places.
“Unemployment remains high in the Philippines [sex and the hostess industry] – and Japan is still a better place to work than the Middle East,” [Maybe. Qatar has many Philippine people working there and they looked like they had some good jobs and smiled a lot when I was there] said Rosario Hodoyama, a Filipina who’s lived in Japan since 1986. Her niece works in Saudi Arabia.