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Japan immigration

Fear of deportation weighs on pregnant foreign workers in Japan

Unaware of legal rights, some desperate trainees abandon their newborns

A baby in Vietnam: Many Vietnamese technical interns in Japan are not aware that they are protected under Japanese labor law to have babies here.   © Reuters

FUKUOKA, Japan -- There have been disturbing reports in Japan of foreign technical interns abandoning their newborns to avoid deportation. Many of them are unaware they are protected under Japanese labor law, which prohibits the dismissal of employees due to childbirth or pregnancy.

Last November, a 21-year-old Vietnamese trainee was arrested for leaving the bodies of her baby twins in a cardboard box after giving birth in her dormitory in the town of Ashikita, Kumamoto Prefecture. "I thought I would be forced to return to Vietnam if the company found out I was pregnant," police quoted her saying.

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