•   
  •   
  •   

World Ghosn wasn’t the only one trapped in Japan, many foreign workers also want to escape

12:16  23 january  2020
12:16  23 january  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Japan pursues regional diplomacy to defuse Gulf tensions

  Japan pursues regional diplomacy to defuse Gulf tensions Japan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates should work together to de-escalate the tense situation in the Gulf, a Japanese foreign ministry official said on Monday, relaying comments by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The official said Japan's strong relationship with both the United States and Iran enabled it to play a diplomatic role in defusing heightened regional tensions following the U.S. killing of Iranian military commander General Qassem Soleimani and a retaliatory missile attack by Iran on U.S. forces in Iraq.

Carlos Ghosn , Nissan's fugitive ex-chairman, says he has not fled justice but " escaped injustice and political persecution". His hasty departure for Lebanon has once Living in Japan , it's easy to become complacent about crime - there is so little of it. Japan 's incredibly low crime rate is often attributed to a

But in Japan , he was a rarity: a foreign leader at a domestic company, who instituted equally rare layoffs and was paid handsomely compared with An economist from Japan Macro Advisors in Tokyo described his arrest this way: “Losing Mr. Ghosn from the Japanese corporate managerial scene is a

TOKYO —The great escape of former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn and his tirade against Japan's system of "hostage justice" may have grabbed the global spotlight, but there are many more foreign workers trapped in Japan who cannot find a way to leave.

a person standing in front of a building: A worker cleans up an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.© Koji Sasahara/AP A worker cleans up an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.

A new legal case brought by a 30-year-old Filipina woman is throwing more attention on one of Japan’s more disquieting secrets: many employers keep hold of the passports of foreign workers here, especially Asians in low-status jobs, and refuse to return them even if the employee wants to leave the company, lawyers and labor rights activists say.

Japan minister Koizumi to take paternity leave, aims to be role model

  Japan minister Koizumi to take paternity leave, aims to be role model Japan minister Koizumi to take paternity leave, aims to be role modelJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been trying to encourage more men to take paternity leave as part of his "Womenomics" program of bolstering women's employment. But change has been slow.

Kudo says he wants more people in Japan to know of the limbo these people exist in. How did you get involved with PRAJ? I was living in Ushiku, Ibaraki Most of them are not criminals, they just want to work in a different country. Many have applied for refugee status and face serious dangers in their

Foreign executives are rare in Japan . Following Carlos Ghosn 's downfall, they are in danger of extinction.

Subscribe to the Post Most newsletter: Today’s most popular stories on The Washington Post

Effectively the workers are trapped in low-paid jobs where they may be bullied or abused but are unable to even seek employment elsewhere because their passports are kept hostage.

“The fact that the company keeps the employees’ passports in their custody and makes them work corresponds to forced labor, which is not allowed in Japanese law,” lawyer Shoichi Ibusuki told a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan (FCCJ) on Thursday.

Coming just after Japan passed a new immigration law supposedly to attract more foreign workers and fill the gaps created by an aging domestic workforce, the case throws a harsh spotlight on the reality of employment here for many Asians.

One worker is trapped after a trench collapsed during construction in North Carolina

  One worker is trapped after a trench collapsed during construction in North Carolina One worker is trapped at a construction site in Durham, North Carolina, after a trench collapsed Wednesday morning, fire officials said. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Fire crews and first responders were called just after 11 a.m. Though six workers were initially reported as trapped, upon arrival officials learned there were four workers in the trench when it collapsed, said Chris Iannuzzi, interim chief with the Durham Fire Department.

But Japan ’s shrinking work force and rapidly aging population put pressure on Mr. Abe and his conservative supporters to accept that the nation’s As of October, there were nearly 1 .3 million foreign workers in Japan , according to the government. Many employers use the trainees as cheap

3.4 Escape from Japan . 4 Personal life. Carlos Ghosn at Nissan's Honmoku Wharf, a logistics hub about 10 km southeast of Nissan's global headquarters in Yokohama, July 2011. trucks in Japan annually.[124] In 2011 Ghosn was under scrutiny by the French government for mishandling a spying

The woman, whose name is being withheld to protect her privacy, learned Japanese at a language school from April 2017 until May 2019, before deciding she wanted to stay and work here, according to Makoto Iwahashi of labor rights group POSSE.

Picking up a flier at the immigration office in Yokohama, just outside Tokyo, she visited a local immigration law firm for advice on how to convert her visa into a working one.

The firm offered her a job as a translator. She surrendered her passport, college transcript and college diploma so the company could process her visa application, signing a form in Japanese — that she didn’t understand — giving her employer the right to keep them indefinitely, even if she quits working there.

After a month at the company, she discovered she was only being paid 100,000 yen ($910) a month, less than she needed to live on. When she asked to leave and for the return of her passport, the company responded by saying, “if it’s returned to you, then you’re going to run away,” she said.

U.S., Japan May Invest in Indonesia Islands Near South China Sea

  U.S., Japan May Invest in Indonesia Islands Near South China Sea The U.S., Japan and South Korea are keen to invest in Indonesia’s Natuna Islands as President Joko Widodo steps up efforts to rebuff Chinese claims over the resource-rich waters in the South China Sea. © Getty Images via Bloomberg Indonesia Seeks Sovereignty Over Natuna Islands At The South China Sea The countries are interested in building fisheries processing and manufacturing industries in Natuna, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan, told reporters in Jakarta on Friday. Indonesia can manage the sea dispute with China without going into a war, Pandjaitan, a former general, said.

Japan will allow more unskilled workers to enter temporarily, as companies struggle to fill positions in a country with the lowest unemployment rate among Group of Seven The Japanese government may see them as a temporary solution, but not all foreign workers will want to leave when their time is up.

Today: The trial was poised to be the most closely-watched in Japanese history — a case involving claims You never want to get an early morning phone call from New York. And what they tell me is that Carlos Ghosn , the most famous criminal defendant in Japan , has just mysteriously disappeared

I felt so worried and I just didn't know what to do,” she said in a video shown at the FCCJ. “I'm afraid what would happen to me if I don’t have those documents. My passport is my personal identity. How can I find a job or even to go back to my country if I don’t have it?”

With financial support from POSSE, the woman filed a lawsuit in Yokohama on Jan. 16 for the return of her passport and graduation documents, as well as for unpaid wages and compensation for damages.

Iwahashi and Ibusuki say they hope the case will force Japan’s government to change the law to protect vulnerable foreign workers.

The government enacted legislation in 2017 to protect the rights of foreign workers admitted under a technical intern training program, including banning employers from retaining passports, after a series of civil cases, but failed to extend the protection to other foreign workers or foreign language students.

Ibusuki said business operators in Japan “very often” keep the passports and graduation certificates of foreign workers to curb employees’ demands, silence protests against misconduct and prevent them quitting.

Trump marks U.S.-Japan security pact with call for stronger, deeper alliance

  Trump marks U.S.-Japan security pact with call for stronger, deeper alliance Trump marks U.S.-Japan security pact with call for stronger, deeper alliance"As the security environment continues to evolve and new challenges arise, it is essential that our alliance further strengthen and deepen," Trump said in a statement dated Jan. 18.

The most obvious loser remains Ghosn himself, having exchanged what appeared to be almost While the prospect of arrest is remote for most foreign business executives in Japan , Ghosn ’s On the one hand, prosecutors will want to show there was wrongdoing. At the same time, their methods

If the line Japan is spinning is that we are bringing in more foreign students than ever before to encourage cultural The truth of the matter is that foreign workers are holding things together for us in Japan — filling vacancies in You might want to look in that box before you celebrate its contents.

The practice is also common at language schools in Japan, he said, to prevent students from changing schools. Ibusuki said 30 Vietnamese students had visited his law firm only last week, complaining that their language school was withholding their passports, with another 30 in the same situation.

Iwahashi also said the problem was “very, very prevalent,” but underreported.

Japan passed a new immigration law in December 2018 that aims to attract 345,000 foreign workers over five years, but critics say the law fails to protect the rights of foreign workers or deal with questions of social inclusion.

The law was a response to Japan’s demographic decline — a slow-burning crisis caused by a low fertility rate, shrinking workforce and aging population that places a huge future burden on the economy as the tax base shrinks and the number of dependents grows. Many industries already face labor shortages, especially in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Ibusuki said he testified at a parliamentary hearing for the immigration law in late 2018, and warned that if the country wanted to attract more foreign workers it needed to protect their rights.

“But the government, as well as the parties in power, did not listen to my opinion,” he said. “Most politicians are not interested in this issue.”

There is a wider problem with workers’ rights in Japan’s highly stratified society, but foreign workers are particularly vulnerable when their passports are taken, because they don’t have the money — or the time to stay in Japan — to fight long court battles with their employers.

Ibusuki and Iwahashi said companies were well aware of that, and were taking advantage.

“They calculate how much it’s going to cost to hire a lawyer, how much it’s going to cost to get your passport issued,” said Iwahashi. “And they’re doing this intentionally and deliberately.”

The Filipina woman even struggled to get a replacement passport issued by her embassy, Iwahashi said, “In order to get it reissued, it had to be lost or stolen,” he said. “And for it to be reissued as lost or stolen, you had to get a police report.”

Eventually, after multiple visits, the embassy agreed to issue a new passport within the next few months, he said.

simon.denyer@washpost.com

Avalanche hits Japan ski resort; 1 feared dead, 7 survive .
TOKYO (AP) — An avalanche at a ski resort on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday hit a group of eight foreign skiers, likely killing at least one. The avalanche occurred when the group was skiing outside of a designated course near the Tomamu ski resort in central Hokkaido, according to the nearby Shimukappu village office. One skier who escaped from the snow called police asking for help, said village official Atsushi Tada. The avalanche occurred when the group was skiing outside of a designated course near the Tomamu ski resort in central Hokkaido, according to the nearby Shimukappu village office.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks
usr: 4
This is interesting!