By Sagami Maki and Shibuya Eriko
About 20 manufacturers, including Ajinomoto, and retailers have drawn up a set of guidelines stipulating proper corporate procedures for utilizing the Technical Intern Training Program. The program has come under persistent criticism from overseas for “exploiting workers” by allowing excessive overtime work to become the norm. The introduction of the guidelines for the agriculture and fisheries industries as well as food-processing factories, where many foreign interns work, is intended to resolve this problem.
The guidelines were compiled by a group of Japanese companies affiliated with The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), an international group comprising consumer product manufacturers and retailers. Ajinomoto, Coca-Cola (Japan), and 20 other companies joined the initiative.
The guidelines are titled “Guidelines for the Responsible Employment of Foreign Workers as Technical Interns and Specified Skilled Workers.” The 16-point document explains how to appropriately accept foreign technical interns and items to pay attention to when recruiting and employing them. It also says brokers need to confirm the legality [of the employment] and companies must explain the hiring conditions to interns and obtain their consent before they come to Japan. (Abridged)