Inquiries with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) on Oct. 30 revealed that over 5,800 foreigners who came to Japan to acquire skills under the Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) went missing in 2015, the highest number on record. Around half of those who went missing are Chinese. According to statistics collected since the TITP system started, the total number of foreign trainees who went missing in the five years from 2011 has exceeded 10,000, and most of them are presumed to be staying illegally in Japan.
According to the MOJ, 5,803 TITP trainees went missing in 2015, an increase of about 1,000 over the 4,847 recorded in 2014. Missing trainees numbered only 1,534 in 2011. The number has risen each year.
By country, 3,116 trainees from China went missing last year, the largest number among all countries, followed by Vietnam (1,750) and Myanmar (336). Missing Chinese trainees also numbered 3,065 in 2014, exceeding 3,000 two years in a row. The total number of missing TITP trainees in the five years from 2011 is 10,580.
In light of this situation, the government submitted legal amendments to the TITP system to the Diet, which consisted of the following measures: strengthen supervision of companies and organizations taking in trainees; expand the eligible occupations to the nursing care sector; and extend the authorized period of stay. The legal revisions were approved by the House of Representatives plenary session on Oct. 25 and are expected to be enacted in the current Diet session. (Slightly abridged)