Nippon Keidanren's Report on Migrant Workers

14 November 2003

Tadayoshi KUSANO
General Secretary

  1. The Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) issued today an interim report on the issue of migrant workers. The report discusses a wider scope of the matters covering not only labour issues but also education, housing and social security of such workers and their families.

  2. In particular, the report discusses possibilities: to identify business fields in which is expected labour shortage in future; to specify countries from which workers are coming and the number of workers through bilateral agreements; and to conduct a labour market pilot study. In addition, it proposes to limit period of "Training Programs" and "Technical Intern Training Programs" and numbers of trainees, promote adequate personnel management, improve workers' protection systems, and facilitate active uses of pilot cases with a view to preparing for a full-scale reception of foreign workers.

  3. Rengo urges that highest priorities should be given to reverting employment situation, taking necessary measures to cope with declining birth rate, and improving employment conditions, including through job-sharing, in order to facilitate employment of women, youth and the aged.
    Rengo opposes to relaxing reception of unskilled migrant workers mainly for the purpose of cost cut-down. It should be avoided to expand the business fields in which foreigners should be able to work and to extend the their employment periods, without taking any adequate action to improve poor working conditions of foreign workers in Japan and to overcome high unemployment rate of the youth and aged. Such labour market deregulation will only facilitate bipolarisation of workers and increase burden on local governments.

  4. A question of migrant workers should be treated prudently, as it possibly brings about a fundamental change to the Japanese society, including enterprises, industries, local communities and the people at large, with a special attention to possible impacts on workers themselves, their families and sending countries.
    Rengo will continue treating this question on the basis of the national consensus and the harmonisation with domestic employment. Reception of migrant workers should be limited to business fields requiring professional knowledge, technology and proficiency. Measures should also be taken, as a matter of urgency, to enforce disclosure of brokers and employers involved in illegal activities and give penalties in a strict sense.