A TITP trainee on a construction site was asked to be a scaffolder without safety training, suffered serious injury and was forced to continue working through his recovery. A trainee at a waste recycling plant was assigned work using dangerous equipment without proper training or protective gear. An agricultural trainee faced repeated verbal abuse that escalated to being beaten with a shovel.

Japan’s steadily declining native workforce has created a dependence on low-skilled foreign labor. This, in turn, has created a vulnerable foreign workforce at risk for suffering myriad labor abuses. Japan’s Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) attracts hundreds of thousands of workers each year, primarily from other Asian countries. From 2015 to 2017, Verité collected and analyzed testimonies of Chinese trainees in the TITP program who had submitted complaints to a local migrant advocacy organization. The findings are available in this paper.

The results of Verité’s analysis point to patterns of exploitation that entail elements of forced labor vulnerability. In addition to debt related to recruitment fees and/or deposits, some respondents also reported wage withholding and compulsory savings programs. It was also reported that some Japanese employers, at times in cooperation with Chinese recruiters, withheld up to 70 percent of trainees’ wages for “compulsory savings” that would be forfeited should trainees leave their positions prior to completion of three years in the TITP. Some trainees reported threats of violence and deportation for advocating for themselves or failing to meet employers’ demands. Finally, trainees also described wages that failed to reach even half of the minimum wage, working hours above legal limits, poor living conditions, and hazardous working conditions.

This exploration of previously documented labor violations among Chinese trainees was designed to provide an in-depth look at the experiences of trainees self-reporting problems in the program, as well as an analysis of potential vulnerability to specific indicators of forced labor. The findings are offered as a contribution to the understanding of the nature of exploitation in the TITP program where it occurs; and to help inform targeted interventions by government, business, and civil society in seeking to remedy exploitation experienced by trainees and prevent further abuse.

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
Forced Labor Risk in Japan’s Technical Intern Training Program - Verité, 2018 DOWNLOAD
UK Modern Slavery Helpline: Annual Assessment 2017
Publications 16 April 2018

The UK-wide Modern Slavery Helpline and Resource Centre was established in October 2016 to provide victims, the public, statutory agencies and businesses with access to information and support on a 24/7 basis. Operated by Unseen, in its first full...Read More

Agents for change. How public procurers can influence labour conditions in global supply chains. Case studies from Brazil, Pakistan and Thailand
Publications 15 November 2016

The report focuses on the social aspects of supply chains and examines how contracting authorities in the EU can use social criteria to improve labour conditions in countries where poor labour standards are rife. The report draws on experiences an...Read More

2017 OECD Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct SUMMARY REPORT
PublicationsEvents 09 November 2017

When: June 29, 2017 – June 30, 2017 all-day

The OECD Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct held on 29-30 June 2017 gathered participants from governments, businesses, trade unions and civil society to discuss responsible supply chains through due diligence; driving responsible institutional investment; the role of National Contact...

TAGS: Global
Ripe for Change: Ending Human Suffering in Supermarket Supply Chains report
Publications 20 June 2018

Millions of people around the world who farm, fish, and process the food in our stores are working extremely long hours, toiling in unsafe conditions, and earning only poverty wages. The report and its accompanying methodology note launch Oxfam’...Read More