26.5% of female foreign technical interns harassed over pregnancy

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A Vietnamese technical intern trainee watches a video produced by the Osaka Prefectural Police in Kashiwara City, Osaka Prefecture, in October.

According to the first-ever survey conducted by the Immigration Services Agency of Japan, more than a quarter of female technical interns in Japan have been the target of inappropriate remarks about pregnancy and childbirth, such as being told they will lose their jobs if they become pregnant. It’s becoming Japan.

The agency said the statements came from Japanese companies that employ women, officials from regulatory agencies overseeing the program, and organizations that send trainees from the interns’ home countries.

The agency has sent letters to supervising organizations and companies that accept foreign trainees, asking them to refrain from such remarks and actions.

It also said it would notify the home governments of the trainees and demand that the organizations under its jurisdiction that send them take strict action.

Since August, the agency has been investigating whether foreign technical intern trainees have been treated inappropriately regarding pregnancy and childbirth.

Responses were received from 650 female trainees from seven countries, including Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

A total of 172 people, or 26.5% of the total, answered that they had been told that they would have to quit their traineeship and return to their home countries if they became pregnant.

Among the violators, trainee dispatching organizations accounted for the highest percentage at 73.8%, followed by supervising organizations at 14.9%. He was 11.3% of companies hiring trainees.

In addition, 5.2% of the female interns said they had signed a document with their employers and related organizations stating that they had to quit their jobs if they became pregnant.

Less than 60% were told by supervisory bodies or other bodies that negative treatment for such reasons is prohibited.

As of the end of June, about 320,000 foreign technical interns are working in Japan.

The government has received complaints from some trainees that they were encouraged to quit their jobs due to pregnancy or childbirth. Some cases have even gone to court.

A Filipino trainee who worked at an orphanage in Fukuoka Prefecture sued the facility operator in October for damages, alleging that she was pressured to quit her job and return to Japan because of her pregnancy. rice field.

In 2020, in Kumamoto Prefecture, a former Vietnamese trainee was indicted for abandoning the bodies of newborn twins. The Fukuoka High Court concluded that she did so in an attempt to cover up her situation so that she could continue working as a trainee.

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