TOKYO — The Japanese government on Tuesday revoked the permit of an intermediate organization that introduces foreign trainees to host companies after it failed to prevent the physical abuse of a Vietnamese man by his Japanese co-workers at a construction firm.
The organization, Okayama Sangyo Gijutsu Kyodo Kumiai in Okayama Prefecture, western Japan, was prohibited from introducing foreign trainees to companies for five years under an administrative punishment issued by the justice and labor ministries.
The 41-year-old Vietnamese man, who came to Japan in the fall of 2019, sustained serious injuries, including a broken rib, in repeated assaults by his co-workers that began a month after he joined the construction firm, Six Create in the city of Okayama, according to the man and a labor union supporting him.
When he was taken to hospital for a broken tooth following a beating, an organization worker who accompanied him falsely told a doctor that the man had fallen off his bicycle, they said.
In punishing the intermediary organization, the Immigration Services Agency of Japan said the body had failed to properly oversee the construction firm, submit a report on the matter and implement necessary steps after it was consulted by the man.
“We recognize that extremely vicious human rights violations occurred due to the failure of the supervisory group, which shows a serious problem lies in the system itself,” said Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa at a press conference in Tokyo.
The minister added that the government will work to prevent a recurrence of such incidents and intends to proceed with a review of the technical internship system.
The administrative punishment came after the government in February this year revoked for five years Six Create’s permit enabling it to accept foreign trainees.
The intermediary organization and Six Create have apologized to the man and agreed to pay him compensation.
The Organization for Technical Intern Training, a government entity overseeing the technical internship program, has filed a complaint with the Okayama prefectural police accusing the Japanese co-workers of assaulting the Vietnamese man.
It is the 33rd time that the permit for an intermediary organization has been revoked since a law clarifying the obligations and responsibilities of companies accepting trainees and intermediary bodies took effect in 2017, according to the immigration agency.
Japan established the technical internship program in 1993, aiming to transfer skills to developing countries. But it has been criticized for creating a hotbed of exploitation and accused of providing a cover for companies to import cheap labor from other Asian countries.