Recently, the dismal state of human rights in Japan where exploitation of foreign labour committed behind the signboard of “apprenticeship system for foreign workers” is widely prevalent has evoked public criticism from international society.
Decline in manpower caused by a falling birth rate and aging population has come up as a serious social issue in Japan.
Japanese government established a system called “apprenticeship system for foreign workers” with the sinister intention of making the best use of foreign workers within the country as a step to cope with the decline in manpower. This has been advertised as an “international contribution” aimed at cooperation on an international scale whereby relevant enterprises receive foreign workers to conduct appropriate practical apprenticeship and talent training, enabling the transfer of technology to their countries of birth.
Foreign apprentices were lured into working in Japan by the flamboyant words pleasant to the ear. Since 2011, the number of such foreign apprenticeship showed upward trend annually reaching more than 410,000 today. However, what increases as well is the cases in which not a few apprentices are taking flight from their workplaces.
Foreign workers get fired unfairly receiving neither medical checkup nor recompense even though they are forced overtime work exceeding a hundred hours every month and driven to dangerous work with no safety precautions. Such violation of human rights has become a commonplace in Japan.
Serious issues of human rights and discrimination against foreigners are happening one after another in Japan. All these are the consequences of inhumane evil politics pursued by the Japanese government which poses itself to be “an advanced nation of human rights” despite the fact that it has been entangled with its serious internal issues of vice and depravity.
National chauvinism of Japan incurs a worldwide censure. So much so that Japan ranked the last in implementing the Ban on Discrimination of Foreign Nationals Policy according to the Integration of Immigrants Policy Index which is made public by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Japan accepted the UN Charter in December 1956 and signed the International Covenants on Human Rights in the late 1970s. This makes abundantly clear that Japan has an international legal obligation to abolish national chauvinism. Nevertheless, Japan is in gross violation of it.
Analysts attribute ever-worsening national chauvinism in Japan to the following: The policy of institutional national chauvinism forms the main current in the policies pursued by the reactionary ruling quarters of Japan. Japan is in constant friction with its neighbours and the Japanese politicians openly instigate racial discrimination. Last but not least, Japan lacks legislation pertaining to the issues of racism, national discrimination and chauvinism.
Japan is well-advised to lend an ear to the voices of international society and feel a sense of heavy responsibility in accepting the actual circumstances where a latter-day racism, racial discrimination and expulsion of foreigners are rampant and to take an immediate step to address it.
Cha Hye Gyong
Researcher of the Institute for Studies of Japan
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DPRK