The Worst Internship Ever: Japan’s Labor Pains

Japan is facing a serious labor shortage, a problem that can be traced back to an aging population and a prevailing fear that immigrants will dilute the country’s pure gene pool. In order to keep the world’s third-largest economy afloat, the Japanese government offers an internship program that attracts foreign workers from China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The program, which allows workers to stay for three years, is advertised as providing laborers with transferrable new skills for when they return home.

VICE News recently traveled to Japan to investigate the internship program. We found that many interns are underpaid, saddled with insurmountable debt, and forced into a form of indentured servitude. Many are illegally placed as oyster shuckers, construction workers, and other unskilled positions. And, despite international condemnation, Japan plans to use thousands of new foreign interns to build the infrastructure for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

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22 thoughts on “The Worst Internship Ever: Japan’s Labor Pains

  1. The shortage of labor forces for those jobs doesn't have much to do with Japan's aging society. It's simply because normal Japanese don't work for those hard, dirty and not well paid jobs. It's mostly universal phenomenon in developed countries.

  2. Labour work is so difficult in Japan..It's hard to take off from off if you r ill..basic let us near 900 yen as per govt rule not they pay as per there rule sometime they pay only 700 yen only..And take a work of 7-8 hours..the Japanese r mad about work..always shouting and insulting you in front of everyone..I really hate Japanese work culture..And if I don't know.language get ready to get wrost kind..Even u know language still they prefer Japanese ppls rather than you.

  3. Jap is jap after all. Remember what they did to those countries in ww2. Until now i believe that they still look down to the people s from those countries.

  4. I was in Japan right before YouTube and video TV was around. people were naive about foreigners and they were held in high regard; however, with programs like this and higher access to our negative media, J-people are more guarded. I'm shocked that the phony intern service didn't want to meet. If it were 2004, they would have been happy to meet, excited, and expecting friendly behavior.

  5. 日本人、特に東京の働き方を帰らない限り根本的な解決は無いですね。

  6. 同じ日本人として恥ずかしい。

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