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Japan: Government accused of trivialising abuses against foreign labour

The government is being accused of intentionally misrepresenting data so as to hide abuses committed against foreign labourers working under the Technical Intern Trainee Programme (TITP). The government had interviewed over 2,000 ‘trainees’ who had absconded from their assigned workplace, and claimed that 87 percent had fled because they ‘wanted more pay’. The government also claimed that there was only a small fraction of cases where the employer had abused the ‘trainee’. Upon closer questioning by opposition politicians, it came to light that as much as 70 percent of the absconded ‘trainees’ had been forced to work long hours for pay under the minimum wage - a very different picture from what the government had painted. Though the government has subsequently allowed members of parliament to view the raw data, they have refused to release the survey. The government is moving ahead with plans to dramatically increase the intake of foreign labour, despite criticism that abuses will increase.