Beijing Law Review, 2012, 3, 56-63 Published Online June 2012 (
On Chinese Trainees and Interns in Japan*
Jiaoyan Fan
School of Law, Three Gorges University, Yichang, China.
Received April 27th, 2012; revised May 26th, 2012; accepted June 6th, 2012
There are millions of Chinese workers in Japan, most as trainees and interns hired in small or medium sized industries.
While they work hard and contribute great to the economic development of Japan, there also exist some problems aris-
ing from the mechanism which have to be faced by both Japanese and Chinese governments. On analyzing the status of
the trainees and intern s, the author exposed some problems in the system, and pr esented some suggestions from the le-
gal view for the future at last.
Keywords: Chinese Trainees and Interns in Japan; Problems and Disputes; Labor Law
1. Introduction
Rights-oriented issues were called increasingly heavy
attention during this time, especially issues concerning
migrant workers’ rights, which have brought about a lot
of discussion in the international community, for exam-
ple, the protection of the rights of domestic workers has
made famous progress, for a convention concerning de-
cent work of domestic workers has been adopted by the
International Labor Organizatio n (Hereafter it is abbrevi-
ated as ILO). It’s a great progress in the protection of
migrant workers’ right. Nonetheless relatively little at-
tention has been paid to Chinese trainees and interns in
Japan except several reports on Internet. Academic re-
searches and studies are urgently needed in this field, and
the law concerned their legal protection must be taken
into consideration between China and Japan. They de-
serve such attention for their positive contribution to the
economic development in Japan in contrast with their
current status. It will discuss the status of Chinese train-
ees and interns in Japan after some introduction. Then I
will reveal the problems in this regime, and put forward
some suggestion, hoping that my suggestion may accel-
erate the cooperation between Japan and China, and pro-
viding some practical help to bringing benefits to both
Japanese entrepreneurs and Chinese workers.
2. The Background and Development of
Chinese Workers in Japan
With the development of Chinese economy and technol-
ogy, more and more Chinese people go abroad to make a
living, and it’s also due to the great population and the
current employment problem in China. Among these
people a great amount go to Japan, Singapore, Russia,
South Korea, the Middle East Asia and Africa. It’s said
that there are more than 80 million Chinese are working
overseas in 2010 by Chinese Commercial Department [1],
while in Japan there are more than 50,000 people every
year which account more than 60 percent of Chinese
overseas workers [2]. Most of them are younger people
in age of 20 - 35 years old, and most are female who are
not married. They often enter into textile, product and
electronic factory. They can only stay three years at most
as temporary labor force in the regime of Japanese
Trainee and Intern System which built to relieve the
pressure of shor tage of labor for ce and avoid th e problem
of immigration.
Most of the trainees or interns come from rural Chi-
nese areas, where they are or will be migrant people in
domestic cities. Their parents are most farmers, and they
don’t want to go on working in the field for low produc-
tivity and efficiency, and also it is one of the most im-
portant factors that the land couldn’t bear so many people
for a living. Most choose to work in a Chinese city, some
choose to go overseas to adventure an opportunity. Most
of them are in low educational qualification, and are gradu-
ated from junior middle school at the age of 16 - 17. It’s
not easy for them to find a good job or establish good
career. They don’t want to go on education for economic
reasons or the competition for ideal colleges. They also
witness many seniors who have gone to college could not
find a good job. They leave school earlier and want to
make a living as migrant workers in China so that they
could help their parents to live better.
*This essay is one of the research result of the project of the Ministry
of Education in 2009 presided by Jiaoyan Fan. The project title is:
Legal issues on protection of overseas Chinese labors’ rights—from
the perspective of private international law, the research number is:
09YJA 820039.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. BLR
On Chinese Trainees and Interns in Japan 57
In some district in China, there are towns or villages,
even cities, with so big population which have worked in
Japan as trainees and interns that they are called Japanese
Town, Japanese Village or even Japanese City. For ex-
ample, Yanghe Town in Yingcheng City in Hubei Prov-
ince, renowned for its big population of trainees and in-
terns in Japan, is called Japanese Town by the local resi-
dent. Most people in the town have been to Japan as
trainees and interns. It is relatively poor in Yingcheng
City, with dense inhabitants and poor public facilities,
the young people seldom receive higher education than
junior middle school, some even didn’t graduated from
primary school. In this town, you will mistake it a Japa-
nese town or village, where people beh ave as a Japanese,
men bow politely when they meet, women dress like
Japanese women sometimes, and style of life is quite of
Japanese. There are new buildings, here and there, quite
of Japanese style. They are made by the returners to re-
member the lives in Japan. They usually conceive a kind
of deep emotion to the place where they have lived for
three years and miss their friends in Japan.
Initially there are quite few people going abroad to
work. There is an old Chinese saying that a doglike home
is better than a golden or silver home if it’s belonging to
you at your hometown. For people from the middle of
China Mainland, they are usually quite conservative and
reluctant to move to alien areas in contrast with coastal
people such as those from Guangdong, Fujian province.
While life was so tough, some adventured to Japan to be
as trainees and interns in early 80s of the last century,
and returned with great fortune. The returners experi-
enced the better life in Japan, and they helped and ar-
ranged their relatives to go abroad, their sisters, their
brothers, their cousins etc. Good examples were told and
happy lives were witnessed, for there they found a won-
derful land to make a living. For nearly 30 years more
and more young people keep on going and coming back,
and the Japanese Town was formed.
Whereas in other places the situation is quite different,
where there are so little people who would like to go
abroad to work. For example in Yichang City also in
Hubei Province where th e Three Gorges Project is seated,
the farmers there often grow oranges or vegetables to
make a living, and they could make a living on the land.
Most young people would like to depend on the land, or
work in Yichang City near the town or village. It’s said
there are only 23 people working abroad in 2009 in Yi-
chang City while the number is over a thousand in
Yingcheng City, with th e popu latio n only one th ird of th e
The reasons may be complicated, for example, the
geographic advantage of the Three Gorges Project, for
which the young people is easier to find jobs, and the
economic situation is b etter than Yingcheng City histor i-
cally, and there are also other elements such as life styles
and customs et al. Nonetheless the most important ele-
ment is idea. When I investigated some people, they said:
it’s so terrible to work overseas, the boss will not pay and
they will not let you come home if you irritate them.
Some told: I don’t want to work in so unknown a place, I
feel not safe mentally. Others insisted that there will be
quite tough work abroad while they can not earn much as
what they work. They said they would like to earn less
but the life is steady and can be controlled.
It’s world renowned that China has a so great popula-
tion in the world and the earning is relatively low in the
world. A great amount of people cannot live on the land
in their home town, and they have to go out to make a
living in bigger cities such as Wuhan, Sh enzhen, Guang-
zhou, Shanghai, or even Beijing. They can earn a good
living by their hands and sweet though the pay is usually
not high. When there are good examples to work in Japan,
they also would like to go abroad. They would like to go
adventure for a better life.
3. Status of Chinese Trainee and Interns in
The trainee and intern mechanism in Japan was set up in
Japan in 1990s aiming to provide opportunities for for-
eign trainees to learn advanced skills in Japan. It’s true
for the initiative, but it’s criticized for taking advantage
to supplement the shortage of labor in Japan. There are
numerous descriptions on the misery conditions of mi-
grant workers in literature, and it is true to mirror the
reality of the migrant workers, but in some places, the
story was told with different happy ending. In Japan the
trainees can receive a monthly allowance of 60,000 yen
or more generally, but the maximum of 9.5 million yen
[3]. For Chin ese trainees from underdeveloped rural area,
such treatment is generous and attractive. Optimistically
the mechanism is good both for Chinese workers and
Japanese medium and small factories.
3.1. Good Examples
Example 1. Xiao Ying, a young girl, fine and a little pale,
is aged only 20. She had come back from Japan for about
one year. I met her in her parents’ house which is quite
dim and narrow. When I asked her what impressed her
most in Japan, she told me that she had very happy time
in Japan and she missed Japan very much, and she
wished she could have opportunity to go back there one
day. She said in thoughtful expression and a bit sadness.
“But it’s impossible,” she said, “I can never come back
to Japan again, for I have finished my study there.” Then
she told me her three years’ life in Japan. She told me
that she worked in a small clothing factory where there
are only 15 workers, in which most of them are Japanese
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. BLR
On Chinese Trainees and Interns in Japan
old women while only 3 Chinese including her. Every
day they worked 8 hours, 8 - 12 in the morning and 1 - 5
in the afternoon, and there was only one hour for lunch
and a quarter break between10 to 12 in the morning.
They would work overtime when there is much work to
do. They work hard every day, and don’t feel unhappy.
They cooked for themselves after work, and the lodging
is well equipped and the living conditions is better than
in China .The boss was kind paying on time and caring
them much. He bought them typical Japanese snacks
once or twice a week and took them on vocation 2 or 3
days a month, so they felt relaxed and fresh when they
came back. She also met friends in Japan, and they are
kind to them. It’s so happy and valuable time that she
will treasure it all her life. In the three years she earned a
great amount for her family, and they will buy a new
house in the city with the money so that they could live
better. For herself, she could work in spare time and have
more time to plan for her future.
I was happy and moved by her story. I believe it is
happy and impressive experience for her to work in Ja-
pan. When I inquired more about lives of other Chinese
workers in Japan, she told me that she was lucky to have
a good boss, while for tho se who were not so lucky, they
lived something miserable. Some bosses were mean and
harsh, and she also heard a women suicide for missing
her child and her husband or some other reasons. But she
told me that a great majority of Chinese people are as
lucky as her, and they had happy lives in Japan. For her,
Japan is a well-developed and civilized country, where
people lived there qu ietly and happily, op en and friendly.
She liked Japan, and she wished she could go back one
day, to see her boss and her friends and all in Japan.
When talking about what’s her problem at present, she
told me that she could not g et a satisfied job in China. In
China, the job she could get is so low-paid and boring,
something because she is only graduated from a Chinese
junior middle school. She is good at clothing, but she
didn’t want to work in a clothing factory any more, be-
cause she had worked as a clothing worker in Japan, with
3 years’ hard working, and she wanted to experience
other job. I sugg ested her to go on stud ying in so me tech-
nical school or to go to college, but that’s too hard for her,
a junior middle school graduate.
I heard that Xiao Ying has found a job in Singapore or
Malaysia later. I blessed her a better future.
Example 2. Chen is a married women, 30 years old,
tall and beautifu l. Now she worked in he r own car main-
tenance factory w ith her boyfriend. She also worked as a
trainee and intern in a Japanese clothing factory for 3
years, from 2006-2008. She has a 7 years old son and
divorced in 2009 after coming back from Japan. She said
her ex-husband is so idle and so dependent on her eco no-
mically. Her experience in Japan is not quite happy. The
boss was harsh to them, and she didn’t have enough work
to do, and there was no overtime work, so she earned
much less than Chinese workers in other factories. The
boss was not in a due business so that he often delayed to
pay. They had conflicts with the boss when he could not
pay or he had no work for them to do, when the conflict
occurred, the workers were always in a disadvantage
position, some workers were detained by force in black
house for several days, and they were freed only when a
representative from Chinese recruiting institute came to
consult and guaran tee for no resistance any more. But all
their wages were paid finally before they came back to
China, except some insurance fees which should return.
She told me that Japanese government supervised so that
the workers can b e paid. She told me that th ough she was
not very happy in Japan, it’s worthy to go working there,
for the country is so developed and prosperous, and the
people there are friendly and working hard, she learnt
more and knew more there. She divorced because her
husband is so lazy and idle, he didn’t want to make his
career by himself, she didn’t earn much in Japan, so she
had to work hard. She opened a car maintenance factory
with her boyfriend after divorce. Now all she wanted is
to earn more money and to live her own life independ-
Xiao Ying and Chen have different experience in Ja-
pan, but they both treasured their experience in Japan.
They loved Japan and cherished the friendliness between
Chinese and Japanese people and they are impressed by
the Japanese culture and his development. May it be a
long time for them to return, mentally or in life styles.
3.2. Bad Practices
However, there is a gap between ideals and reality, Japan
is not paradise. There are also bad examples. One of the
notorious incident occurred in December 2005, which is
called “the Incidents of Huang Shi Women Workers”.
Six female workers from Hubei province were sent by
the Huangshi-based Dongchuang Overseas Labor Service
Co, which is one of the 21 legitimate overseas labor ser-
vice agencies based in Hubei, to train as clothing workers
in Japan. One year later, they became interns. But the
women were actually working for Techoclean, a clothes
washing firm. The women often had to work late in the
night including Saturdays and Sundays. For their over-
time work, they received compensation of 300 to 400 yen
when the minimum overtime wage was supposed to be
810 yen. When they learned from a Japanese publication
that this pay level was illegal in Japan, they talked with
the company director and demanded improvement of
working conditions and back pay. The director promised
a response 3 days later. On the morning of the third day,
August 22, a dozen men and women broke into their
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. BLR
On Chinese Trainees and Interns in Japan 59
dormitory and dragged them onto a vehicle. One worker
named Hu escaped but the other five were tossed into the
vehicle. On the way, the workers tried to jump out of the
vehicle, and they were beaten again. When the vehicle
arrived at the airport, the airplane had already left. So the
workers were taken back to the dormitory. Duan was
able to escape by climbing out of a window eventually
and contacted with the other escapee Hu. They were
found and taken to the Japanese labor union headquarters
later. A third woman named Zhang also broke her leg
while trying to jump from the second floor to escape. On
August 25, the director of Technoclean admitted b y pres-
sure: “If these were Japanese citizens, the company
would not have sent them back by force. We feel very
sorry to cause the injuries to the female workers.” He
admitted the violation of Japanese wage law, and he
would compensate back, but he denied what he said later
Another bad example is on young a man, Kou Binfeng,
who worked in a food factory for 2 years, and fell ill for
heavy physical labor, but the company refused to cure
him and wanted to get rid of him for a sum of money
which is far below the cost needed for curing [5]. He left
Japan sadly without fair compensation.
Of these bad practices, there arise lawsuits constantly ,
for example, a group of 14 Chinese trainees and interns
on November 30 filed a lawsuit with the Tokushima Dis-
trict Court agains t a sewing company where they worked,
demanding 140 million yen in back pay [6]. They also
claimed damages against the company for infringing on
human rights and forced labor. There is also report on
which the family of a Chinese trainee Jiang Xiaodong
filed a 57.5 million yen damages suit with the Mito Dis-
trict Court in 2011, arguing that Jiang’s death was caused
by overwork at a metal processing firm in Itako, Ibaraki
Prefecture [7].
4. Law Concerns
4.1. Current Legal System
Since these years Japan has developed a comparatively
complete set of legal norms. The most important legisla-
tion is Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition
Act, which was amended in July 2009 and took effect in
July 2010. It regulates the basic activities of recruiting
foreign technical intern trainees. On December 2009 the
Japanese Ministry of Justice and Immigration Bureau
published Guidelines concerning Entry and Residence
Management of Technical Intern Trainees, which sets up
more concrete rules for all the parties in the program,
such as the sending organizations, the receiving compa-
nies, the supervising organizations and intern trainees.
These laws and regulations consist of the basic current
legal system. Other laws such as Japanese contract law,
labor contract law, labor standard law and other related
laws should also be observed in the process of recruiting
foreign intern trainees, especially when there are abuses
or incidents happened. The laws and regulations guaran-
tee the basic rights of foreign workers [8]. Nonetheless it
must be mentioned that before 2007, the trainees were
not treated as migrant workers and there existed no labor
contract between the trainees and the company during th e
one year training period. The minimum standards to pro-
tect workers cannot apply, and the status of the trainees is
quite vulnerable. After the implementation of the new
regulations, the situation is improved, and the trainees
are treated as workers while the training period is shorten
to 6 months.
The Japan International Training Cooperation Organi-
zation (Hereafter it is abbreviated as JITCO) is a Japa-
nese government sponsored institute to administrate the
whole activity of recruiting the trainees and interns,
which consists of officials from five main government
ministries, including the Ministry of Justice; the Ministry
of Health, Labor and Welfare (Hereafter it is abbreviated
as MHLF); and the Ministry of Economics, Trade and
Industry. It’s effective to deal with issues arising from
the program, for multi-government department can be
cooperated well to deal with disputes. The program has
been designed to be helpful both for Japan and the send-
ing countries.
JITCO had issued its goals and guidelines in its “Op-
erative Manual for Sending Organizations”. The manual
states that the purpose of Japan’s foreign trainee and in-
ternship program is to foster the development of human
resources in ways that would contribute to the industrial
development of other nations. After 2007, the mechanism
was reformed and JITCO published Technical Intern
Training Guidebook for Technical Intern Trainees, Guide-
lines on Allowance for lectures, wages, and management
arrangement expenses in Technical Intern Trainees Pro-
gram (Hereafter it is abbreviated as TITP) and other
documents. While the Technical Intern Training Guide-
book says TITP is a program wher e young workers from
various overseas countries acquire industrial and voca-
tional skills as technical intern trainees at companies in
Japan, and then improve their acquired skills through
further two years technical intern training, so that they
can utilize such skills for economic and industrial devel-
opment after their return to home countries. In other
words, the TITP aims to develop human resources who
can contribute to the industrial development of foreign
countries through tr ansfer of Japanese technology. Non e-
theless they are on the same direction.
These are all regulative documents to adjust the rela-
tionship between the parties [9]. According to the regula-
tions, the training institutes which receive trainees should
be equipped with life instructors and mentors, provide
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. BLR
On Chinese Trainees and Interns in Japan
free accommodation, be responsible for participating
specified insurance policy for the trainees and some other
proper living conditions. The sending organizations and
intern trainees also must obey the regulations strictly.
They are better for the protection of technical intern
trainees’ rights.
In addition to the aforementione d laws and regulations,
Japanese constitutional law entitles foreigners in Japan
the equal basic rights as Japanese, it should be obeyed
when there are disputes between the parties, and the laws
and regulations concerned should comply with the con-
stitutional law. In fact it is the supreme law in the field.
In China, the workers are usually dispatched by send-
ing companies which have been authorized by China
Commercial Department. They are considered as inter-
mediary companies in charge of recruiting workers in
China. But the character of the contracts between the
interns and intermediary companies is not clear, they are
usually not regarded as labor contracts, and in practice
the workers cannot receive protection from Chinese labor
law. Different opinions on it are discussing, and more
concrete laws are needed in practice.
4.2. Existing Problems
Though Japanese labor law is said to be very powerful, it
is of limited use in protecting trainees. There are a lot of
problems. For example, for no payment to overtime work,
it’s difficult to find proof, or even there is no proof of
(overtime) work. Which more often happened is that the
trainees do not have the resources and they don’t know
how to seek help and advice from labor unions and local
labor standards offices for language or cultural obstacles.
Inaccessibility to assistance is further exacerbated by the
fact that companies that recruit trainees and technical
interns are often located in suburban and rural areas
throughout Japan.
On protection of human rights of employees, the legal
mechanism should be effective. It’s reported employers
dismiss technical interns in mid-contract, by using threats,
lies, and force, when they faced legal risk for the intern
trainees who try to seek help or compensation, for their
maltreatment. Some employers have hired security com-
panies to escort the technical interns to the airport and
repatriated them to their home cou ntries. It’s the result of
the vulnerable status of Chinese workers in Japan, and
there are serious legal loopholes existed in the system.
It’s said the forced repatriation process is often carried
out very expediently, leaving the technical interns with
little time and limited means to run away or seek help.
In China, there is also no specified law to reg ulate for-
eign-related labor relations. While labor law applies only
to work performed in China, some regulations are made
by Chinese Commercial Department or other depart-
ments which don’t have uniform effect. Also the remedy
mechanism is not perfect in China. If a Chinese worker is
damaged in Japan for the employers’ violation of labor
law, they don’t know where to claim. There is no clear
law for them to sue foreign employers in China, so the
court may not accept but pass it to arbitration; if they file
a sue in foreign country, it’s too difficult especially after
they are sent back to China.
There also concern international laws on migrant
workers right, such as ILO conventions and UN treaties
on migrant workers rights. Since ILO conventions are
very important to protect immigrant workers [10], both
China and Japan sho uld try to adopt them. Theoretically,
these trainees and interns are not international migrant
workers, for it’s said in Japan that they are technically
“students”. Neither the companies which arrange to send
trainees overseas nor the Japanese companies which ac-
cept them, are subject to related laws strictly. Further clari-
fication is needed on whether the international treaties
should apply for the treaties are usually quite princeple
and abstract, and their implementation is quite crucial so
that the trainees and in terns can entitle the corresp onding
Another important instrument is bilateral treaties be-
tween the sending and receiving countries to deal with
issues arising from the program. It’s helpful and conven-
ient, for protecting the benefits of both parties. There are
such treaties between China and Japan, but it’s not for
the intern training program typically.
Other legal instruments are also at stake, such as con-
flict of labor laws, which concerns which law to apply
when dealing with disputes between Japanese and Chi-
nese parties, and work place torts as well [11], where
further research should be conducted in the field.
5. How to Improve the Mech anism in the
It can be seen from the medium that constant critics arise
in Japanese foreign trainees an d interns mechanisms. It is
said that the mechanism has become an exploited source
of cheap labor in a country with one of the world’s most
rapidly aging populations, lowest birthrates and closed
immigration policy. It’s true from the reality, an d the me-
chanism can go on only if Japan could make profit from
it. But it should also pay more attention to the protection
of foreign workers. Since it should be benefit to both
sides of the send ing and receivin g coun tries, the b est way
to achieve the goal is to solve the problems on mutual
understandi n g and coo perat i o n.
It is obvious there exist some serious problems in the
mechanism, neverthelessly the author presents some sug-
gestions from the leg al review to impro ve the mechanis m
in the future.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. BLR
On Chinese Trainees and Interns in Japan 61
5.1. First, and Most Crucial Is to Protect
Overseas Chinese Workers in Japan by
Legal Measures
It’s reported in Japanese MHLW that 1209 companies
violate the Labor Standards Law, account 74% of the
supervised companies, and reach the peak of recent years,
including forced overtime work without the normal pro-
cedures (573 cases); no payment or full payment for
overtime for overtime work (499 cases); overdue pay-
ment (355 cases); mal dormitory and security (155 cases);
violation minimum wage laws (159 cases) and etc.
Other kinds of abuses are also reported in media, such
as taking away the passports or health insurance cards of
the trainees. The trainees were also forced to place their
wages in factory savings accounts in order to prevent
them from leaving the factory. The factories did not pay
overtime, and they skimmed the workers’ room and
board, and heating and lighting, expenses. The trainees
were also forced to pay fines like15 per minute to go
to the bathroom during their work hours, or2000 for
forgetting to clean their facilities after their shift. There
were also accusations of sexual harassment by manage-
ment. In Japanese government records it’s reported that
at least 127 of the trainees have died since 2005, or one
of about every 2600 trainees [12], which experts say is a
high death rate for young people who must pass stringent
It’s the most urgent aspect to protect workers. If it is a
dangerous area for people to come, and if the bad prac-
tices prevail, the people will be stunned to stay at their
home countries and the personal source will be shrunk. It
is not the win-win model for both countries.
In accordance with International instruments and na-
tional laws of both China and Japan, Chinese workers in
Japan are entitled to equal treat ment in labor rights as the
Japanese workers [13]. Japanese labor-related laws and
regulations which protect workers shall be applied to
technical intern trainees from the time they start activities
to acquire skills at accepting companies. In Technical
Intern Training Guidebook for Technical Intern Trainees
by JITCO accepting companies must give technical in-
tern trainees at least one day off per week or four days
off in a four-week period, annual paid leave is to provide
in order to recover from physical and mental exhaustion,
social security and labor insurance should be arranged
for the workers, the technical intern trainees should be
provided consultation services and support in order to
ensure their legal rights provided by Japanese laws and
regulations and so on [14]. Should the laws to be ob-
served strictly, Chinese trainees and interns can be pro-
tected better than current time.
Attention must also be paid to training mechanism in
China. Before the workers are sent abroad, they usually
are trained for working and living in Japan for 1 or 2
months, some are trained even longer than 6 months.
They are lectured Japanese and Japanese culture and
model of conduct. They behave quite like Japanese even
before they go to Japan. Of course it is important, but
they should also be educated to protect themselves when
they are treated unfair and know how to protect them-
selves legally, for there are so unscrupulous employers
everywhere, and tolerance may incur more and severer
abuse. The training mechanism should be guided by the
labor administration.
5.2. The Second, More Social and Humane
Elements Should Be Taken into Account in
Legislation and in Practice
Nowadays the Japanese trainees and interns mechanism
is manipulated mainly by business, the profit is the most
important considerations of the Intermediary companies
in China and the companies in Japan, and thus there are
quite high charges for the trainees before they come to
Japan. Though regulations in China stipulates that inter-
mediate corporations for overseas labor cannot charge
more than 12.5 percent of the total salary of the employ-
ment contract for their services. In practice, the regula-
tion is often ignored. It’s usually 35,000 RMB for each
person going as trainees and interns in Japan, and it’s not
a small amount for young people or their rural family.
For this they have to work overtime as much as possible.
Work more save more is the basic dogma of the workers,
and a lot of problems arise from it. For employers, they
know what the workers want, and it’s easy for them to
abuse the worker in all kinds of form, for workers, they
have to stand all kinds of unfair treatment for they have
to work for the fee they have cost and earn a living for
themselves and the family. The high charge also restraint
the sources of people who want to go to work overseas.
It’s difficult usually for young people to have this amount
of money, even by borrowing from their relatives and
friends. In some cities in China, the government will
sponsor the quasi-trainees, but only a small amount. It
can be a good example, and will help a lot if the amount
rises to most of the money or half of the fees. For Japa-
nese social organizations or government institutes, it’s
also a kindness to help the trainees. Of course it will be
better if the fee can be lowered to an acceptable level or
canceled, but it can not be resolved the moment because
the current recruiting model has been established for
The work is usually physically demanding for trainees
and interns, and the workers’ health and security should
be guaranteed. Except for social security, it’s the same
important for the workers to be given labor law protec-
tion. The workers should be granted rights from Japanese
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. BLR
On Chinese Trainees and Interns in Japan
Labor Standard Law, and thus they should enjoy holidays,
and labor protection. Before 2007, trainees are not treated
as employees, and no labor rights are entitled therefore.
After that time, all trainees and interns are treated as em-
ployees, and they should enjoy equal treatment as work-
ers in Japan. They should be entitled to take part in all
kinds of activities permitted by Japanese Law, including
social organization, collective bargaining as members of
union, et al. Just as aforementioned most Chinese train-
ees and interns are low educated, lectures and other es-
sential help should be given to them on how to protect
themselves via Japanese Social organizations or govern-
ment institutes. A few Chinese legal service agency or
social organization should be set up in Japan to help Chi-
nese workers. And the cooperative institutes between
Japan and China are also appreciated. All these should be
promulgated in law and guarantee the implementation by
governments and social organizations.
5.3. Further Cooperation Is Urgently Needed
between Two Governments on Bases of
International Law
On the current status, more cooperation is needed. Many
hands make light. While a bilateral treaty between Japan
and China has been set up a base for all forms of coop-
eration [15], a more specific bilateral agreement is needed
to solve legal problems in th e mechanism. Both for Japa-
nese government, who need to absorb manpower from
China to prosper its domestic small and medium-sized
industries, and Chinese government, who is in need to
enrich his people and relieving unemployment problem,
should put Japan-Sino lab or cooperation issues on a stra-
tegic height, and set up a longtime consultation and co-
ordination mechanism of the issue, to protect the basic
human rights of the trainees and interns in Japan. On this
issue, any one part can not solve the current problems
completely, whatever one endeavors to. And also it must
be intervened b y governments of bo th countries, no t only
by entrepreneurs, government departments or social or-
ganizations. There are so many Chinese workers in Japan,
and so many companies concerned with Chinese workers,
they deserve both governments to pay sufficien t attention
to reach some cooperation agreement.
6. Conclusion—Looking for a Good Future
The Japanese industrial training and technical internship
program opened a door for hard working Chinese work-
ers to make livings, and it also incurred numerous con-
troversies all over the wo rld. Critics mainly focus on that
contradiction between its claimed target and its real pur-
pose. It was claimed that this system was designed to
support foreigners in their acquisition of technical skills
and knowledge of Japanese advanced technology, but it
is really a source of cheap labor to make up for the shor-
tage of unskilled labor in Japan. Therefo re there are legal
loopholes, and correspondent problems brought about
both in Japan and China. Incidents occurred frequently
for the violation of worker and human rights of trainees
and interns.
Nonetheless the mechanism had existed for years, and
it contributed much to both countries. In reality most
Chinese trainees and interns benefit from this mechanism
and it helps to promote the friendly communication be-
tween the two peoples [16], though reforms are urgently
needed, and further cooperation should be advocated.
Chinese are the most honest, hard working and tolerant
people in the world. Good examples lead them to Japan
and they treasured the experience. They go abroad with
dream, and the realization of the dream is so beautiful.
They love it and they will keep it in heart fo r a long time.
They may go on to their son, on and on, the beautiful
experience of the working in Japan. The friendship be-
tween the two peoples will keep from generation to gen-
May TITP have a good future.
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