One in four foreign interns told to quit if pregnant: survey

According to a survey by the Immigration Services Agency, a quarter of female technical interns in Japan were told they would be dismissed if they became pregnant.

The findings, released December 23, follow the conviction of a Vietnamese trainee who abandoned the bodies of stillborn twins. Like many other trainees, this woman feared that if the pregnancy was discovered she would be fired or deported to her home country.

In December, the Supreme Court signaled that it could overturn the High Court’s three-month prison sentence with three years’ probation.

Foreign technical interns are subject to the Equal Employment Opportunity Law, which prohibits the dismissal of pregnant workers.

An official at the Immigration Services Agency of Japan said, “We will conduct necessary investigations, and if it is malicious, we will consider administrative action.”

The technical intern training organization commissioned by the agency conducted interviews with technical intern trainees from August to November, and received responses from 650 people from Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

Among them, 172 (26 percent) said that they were told that they would be fired or returned to their home country if they got pregnant.

Seventy-four percent of the respondents said they had received warnings from organizations sending trainees in their own countries, 15% cited supervising organizations that accept trainees in Japan, and 11% cited Japanese companies that accept trainees.

In addition, 34, or 5% of all respondents, even said they signed a contract agreeing to quit smoking when pregnant.

Of these, 70% contracted with trainee dispatch organizations, and 22% with supervising organizations. Enterprises account for 8% of him.

Foreign technical intern trainees can take maternity leave and can work even after pregnancy if they wish. However, nearly half of respondents said they were unaware the option existed.

The immigration bureau and other authorities have instructed about 3,600 supervising organizations nationwide to explain to technical intern trainees that they can receive consultations regarding childbirth.

According to authorities, between November 2017 and December 2020, 637 foreign trainees dropped out of their internship programs due to pregnancy or childbirth.

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