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5 Feb 2020

Japan: Lawsuit highlights employer practice of confiscating foreign labourers' personal documents

On 23 January 2019, a Filipino woman sued her former employer, AdvanceConsul Certified Administrative Procedures Legal Specialists’ Office, for confiscating her personal documents, including her passport. The case draws attention to the practice among Japanese employers who take foreign workers' passports and refuse to return them even if the employee wants to leave the company. Although the Japanese government prohibits employers from confiscating the passports of technical trainees under a special intern programme, it has not passed regulation that forbids firms from taking the passports of foreign labourers in Japan under other visa schemes.