Cheap and Dispensable: Foreign Labor in Japan via the Technical Intern Training Program

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Piyada Chonlaworn

Abstract

Japan’s decline in population and increase in life expectancy has pushed the country to increasingly depend on foreign labor in the form of unskilled workers hired through the Technical Intern Training Program (TITP). In 2020, these trainees occupied about 20% of Japan’s foreign workforce, the second highest demographic after permanent residents. This article examines the program’s myriad issues, which include: law violations, workplace abuse, illegal recruitment abroad, and denial of reproductive rights. Referencing in-depth interviews and questionnaire surveys of trainees from Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand working in the manufacturing sector, this article reveals the problems and pressures trainees face in Japan, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article finds that, although trainee rights are technically protected by law, trainees face many difficulties involving their work, finances, and daily communication.

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บทความวิจัย

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