The Justice Ministry on Friday revised rules to enforce a law enacted to improve the technical training program for foreign nationals in order to ensure they receive appropriate treatment and protections.
The revisions are a follow up to a bill passed by the Diet last November to address reports of labor abuses and exploitation by the participating companies.
Under the revised rules, made public the same day, companies that submit plans to accept foreign candidates for the Technical Intern Training Program must now indicate in writing that they will provide adequate compensation to the trainees.
The bill passed last November included measures to improve labor standards in the state-sponsored TITP. As part of these reforms, the law stipulates that companies must obtain permission from the government to employ foreign trainees.
On Tuesday, the government decided at a Cabinet meeting to have the approval system start in November.
The acts of fraud and exploitation committed by the TITP’s corporate participants have attracted negative media attention for years. Some of the bad practices include paying wages below the legal minimum and making payroll deductions under the pretext of housing or food expenses.
The Justice Ministry set rules to provide greater oversight of companies that accept foreign trainees, a process that will be managed by chambers of commerce or agricultural cooperatives that serve as contacts between the trainees and their corporate sponsors.
Under the new rules, the organizations need to monitor the trainees’ treatment through regular interviews as well as conduct checks on their living conditions.