Lesson of Japan: Maybe We Do Need EFCA

Japan’s dirty little immigration secrets are starting to come to light, and they’re not pretty.

A little history from The Japan Times: Back in the 1980s, “official” Japan became worried that labor was getting too expensive, threatening its manufacturing and exports. Importing cheap labor was at first ruled out as a solution because it would debase Japan’s “homogeneous” racial stock, but that proved to be tatemae, a facade, as the nation began importing workers from China as “trainees.” Not being citizens, they didn’t have to be paid the minimum wage and they could be worked long, long hours.

Later, Japan also starting inviting Nikkei, foreigners of Japanese descent who mostly do not speak Japanese, to work in the country. Like the trainees, they are not citizens and thus not subject to any labor laws. Reports of working both of these groups as many as 16 hours a day and paying them just $400 a month abound, which you can read about in more detail in the article.

Now, with a severe economic downturn hitting Japan, the trainees and Nikkei have been the first to be fired. The trainees have no choice but to return home, where they face disgrace and possible prison time for not being able to repay their sponsors for sending them over. The Nikkei are being offered “golden parachute” payments of $3,000 for each worker and $2,000 for each dependent to return home and never come back!

The Japan Times concludes, and this sounds eerily like America:

It’s epiphany time. Japan’s policymakers haven’t evolved beyond an early Industrial-Revolution mind set, which sees people (well, foreigners, anyway) as mere work units. Come here, work your ass off, then go ‘home’ when we have no more use for you; it’s the way we’ve dealt many times before with foreigners, and the way we’ll probably deal with those Indonesian and Filipino care workers we’re scheming to come take care of our elderly.

Wow, I truly feel sorry for these people. It’s even making me reconsider my opposition to unions and the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). The phrase “mere work units,” in particular, sticks in my craw.

The article is truly eye-opening, a must read.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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