Disadvantages and Risks in Japan’s Technical Intern Training Program

Disadvantages and Risks in Japan’s Technical Intern Training Program





Japan’s Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) has attracted hundreds of thousands of workers over the past ten years, primarily from other Asian countries. In 2017, the top five sending countries for TITP trainees were Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand. Past research and reporting have indicated the presence of many intermediaries that a trainee must engage with in order to secure a position in the TITP program, and that trainees are often subjected to a combination of high recruitment fees resulting in debt and a lack of transparency regarding working and living conditions. In general, as has been widely documented by others, the process of international labor recruitment via the use of third-party intermediaries can heighten migrant worker vulnerability to forced labor and human trafficking. Stakeholders focusing on mega-sporting events, in particular, have noted that the increased attention on Japan leading up to and during the 2020 Olympics presents an opportunity to highlight the role that TITP trainees play in the Japanese labor economy and to reflect on the widely reported experiences of exploitation for foreign workers associated with the program.

From 2019 to our company had the opportunity to hear testimonies of some Filipino trainees in the TITP program who had complaints and doesn’t have idea about a local migrant advocacy organization. The respondents were primarily men employed at small and medium enterprises, and all had reported experiencing some degree of exploitation and also physical abuse during their time in the TITP program. This news labor violations among Filipino trainees was an eye-opener to provide an in-depth look at the experiences of trainees self-reporting problems in the program, as well as an analysis of potential vulnerability to specific indicators of forced labor. The news herein is offered as a contribution to the understanding of the nature of exploitation in the TITP program where it occurs; and to help inform targeted interventions by government, business, and civil society in seeking to remedy exploitation experienced by trainees and prevent further abuse.

On the next blog, I will enumerate pointers of kinds of abuse in the TITP program.


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