(Asahi: July 19, 2015 – p. 4)
The number of workplace accidents involving foreign technical interns topped 1,000 for the first time in fiscal 2013.
The data was compiled by the Japan International Training Cooperation Organization (JITCO), which oversees organizations that receive foreign workers through the Technical Intern Training Program (TIIP).
The government has been promoting the TIIP since it was introduced in 1993. The number of work-related accidents reported under this program has grown since then.
In fiscal 1999, 58 people were reported to have sustained work-related injuries. The number jumped to 657 in fiscal 2006.
The TIIP was initially designed to allow foreign workers to stay in Japan for up to three years, with one year under the status of intern trainees and two years as interns. But revisions to the immigration act in 2010 abolished the framework of intern trainees, as they were not covered by labor-related law.
Now those who participate in the TIIP are acknowledged as interns and allowed to stay in Japan for up to three years. The change helps keep tabs on work-related accidents they suffer. In fiscal 2011, 896 people reported work-related injuries. The number grew to 994 in fiscal 2012 and came to 1,109 in fiscal 2013.
Of those who sustained work injuries in fiscal 2013, 705 were Chinese; 156, Vietnamese; 118, Indonesians; and 86, Filipinos. By prefecture, most accidents took place in Aichi at 129, followed by Mie, 71; Hiroshima, 64; Gifu, 60; Osaka, 58; Gunma and Shizuoka, 51 each; Saitama, 42; Toyama, 38; and Hokkaido and Chiba, 34 each. The accidents tended to occur in regions
that host many manufacturing facilities.
Deaths from overwork are also reported under the TIIP. In 2010, a local labor standards inspection office acknowledged that a Chinese intern at a plating factory in Ibaraki died from overwork.
No overwork deaths have been identified since the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare started compiling data with an eye on these issues in fiscal 2011. But The Asahi Shimbun has found that procedures are underway to classify the sudden death of a 27-year-old Filipino intern at a casting factory in Gifu from heart failure as an overtime death case.