Vietnamese interns denounce illegal unpaid overtime at Japanese company


A group of Vietnamese technical trainees whose former employer failed to pay a total of 27 million yen ($194,000) for overtime held a press conference on Wednesday to expose the illegal long hours they have been working forced to work and ask for the money to be returned.

Koshimizu Hifukukogyo in Seiyo in the western prefecture of Ehime, where women between the ages of 20 and 40 were employed, said on Nov. 7 that she would file for bankruptcy after initially saying she would gradually pay each of them between 2 .2 and 2.6 million yen, including late payment compensation.

Vietnamese technical trainee Doan Thi Thu Nga (L) speaks during a press conference in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture on November 16, 2022. (Kyodo)

According to the technical trainees’ work records, it was common for them to work more than 100 overtime hours each month, an illegally high amount.

Their difficult working conditions led them in August to approach a non-profit organization supporting Vietnamese in Japan. All 11 left the company on Nov. 4 and are expected to start new jobs at a textile company in Gifu Prefecture, central Japan.

Speaking at the press conference, Doan Thi Thu Nga, 32, said she was ‘sad that we are being treated unfairly’ and added that ‘no matter what, I want them to pay us “. Jiho Yoshimizu, an NPO supporter, said he “will continue to work for their human rights to be protected”.

Koshimizu Hifukukogyo had been contracted by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to manufacture medical gowns during the coronavirus pandemic. His lawyer says the company has total liabilities of around 60 million yen.

Japan created the Technical Internship Program in 1993 to transfer knowledge and skills to developing countries, but the program has been criticized as offering companies a cover to import cheap labor from across the country. Asia.

By the end of June, about 328,000 people were residing in Japan as technical trainees, according to the Immigration Services Agency.

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Japanese government prohibits intermediary organization from introducing foreign trainees


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