On August 16, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare reported that 3,695 businesses were found to be violating labor laws governing foreign trainees under the Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) last year. The number surpassed that of the previous year by 718, an increase for two consecutive years and a record high since the ministry began the survey in 2003. Violations related to labor laws include illegal overtime and nonpayment of wages.
The labor bureaus and labor standards inspection offices [placed in each prefecture under the ministry] inspected and provided guidance to 5,173 businesses across the country, 1.3 times more than that the previous year. Of these 5,173 businesses inspected, violations were found at over 70% of them. The two most common violations were worktime irregularities such as illegal overtime (1,169 cases) and safety standard violations such as operating machinery without proper safety measures (1,076 cases).
Public prosecutors received 46 of the cases—1.8 times more than the previous year and also a record high since 2003—because employers repeatedly ignored guidance from the authorities, or because accidents resulting in the death of the trainee occurred. This included the ministry’s report to a prosecutor regarding a wrongful death case in which an employer had a trainee operate a forklift without the required license.