TOKYO -- A new law has come into force in Japan, targeting on-the-job trainees and designed to prevent human right abuses, including unlawfully insisting that trainees work excessive hours. The government hopes the law will ensure the smooth operation of Japan's on-the-job training system for foreign trainees, at a time when foreign workers are expected to help ease the country's prolonged labor crunch.
A newly setup monitoring body will screen businesses seeking to accept foreign trainees, and authorize their training plans. In addition, the law sets out penalties for workplaces committing human rights abuses against such trainees, including the use of violence and threats.
Training can now be provided for up to five years for each trainee, extended from the previous limit of three years. Also, elderly care has been added to the list of available job sectors.
The Organization for Technical Intern Training, which was set up earlier this year, will be in charge of overall supervision of the program. Businesses will have to have their training plans for each trainee authorized by the OTIT before accepting the trainees.
Businesses are able to accept foreign trainees either directly or through designated organizations such as local chambers of commerce and cooperatives. To be designated, an organization has to be screened by the OTIT and then obtain permission from relevant authorities.
According to the Justice Ministry, 292 organizations have been awarded permission as of Wednesday, of which five are nursing care services. These organization will soon start the process of authorizing training plans submitted by businesses on behalf of the OTIT.