Friday , June 21 2024

Vietnamese trainees protected to stay in Japan during pregnancy, postpartum

Companies taking part in Japan’s intern training program are not allowed to force Vietnamese trainees to return to Vietnam if pregnant or giving birth.

The Department of Overseas Labor under the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs has recently made the request after working with Japan’s Organization for Technical Intern Training (OTIT).

Previously, OTIT’s investigation found that several companies have requested Vietnamese trainees to sign agreements to return to Vietnam if they were pregnant or gave birth when working in Japan.

The Vietnamese department said the demand was against the rules in both Vietnam and Japan and not in line with the Memorandum of Understanding on the technical internship training program for Vietnamese technical interns in Japan.

If trainees become pregnant or give birth, companies must work with the labor union to consider all the possible options for them to continue staying in Japan to work or return to Vietnam and then go back.

Japan rolled out the Technical Intern Training Program in 1993 with the aim of transferring skills to developing countries.

Each trainee joining the program will stay and work with payment in Japan for no more than five years.

In April, a panel of 15 Japanese academics, government officials and lawyers proposed the government abolishes the trainee program and instead establish a new one that recognizes the interns as workers helping Japan overcome its labor shortage.

However, many Japanese firms have been found to take advantage of the program to exploit trainees as cheap sources of labor.

The program has also been criticized after several trainees were repatriated after they became pregnant.

On April 20, Japanese police arrested a 19-year-old Vietnamese trainee in Hiroshima after she left the dead body of her newborn at an empty lot in Hiroshima Prefecture.

Around 328,000 Vietnamese are currently staying in Japan as trainees, according to Vietnam’s Immigration Department.

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