About 80% of Vietnamese, Cambodian trainees in Japan owe debt

Nikkein -- Jul 29
More than half the foreign technical trainees in a recent survey took on an average of 540,000 yen ($3,950) in debt to come to Japan, with around 80% of trainees from Vietnam and Cambodia carrying such debts.

The survey of around 2,100 technical trainees was conducted by Japan's Immigration Services Agency. It took place between December 2021 and April 2022.

About 20% of those surveyed said that their salary after coming to Japan was less than they expected. The findings suggest that trainees who disappear often do so to find other jobs to pay off their debts.

Abusive language, violence and nonpayment of wages have come to be seen as problems with the technical trainee program, both domestically and overseas, and a string of participants have disappeared. The Immigration Agency also investigated the circumstances of the disappearances, saying, "It is suspected that the trainees are being unfairly charged for their expenses."

Dispatching organizations in the trainees' home countries were paid an average of 542,000 yen by the trainees before they came to Japan. There were large differences among countries, however, with organizations in Vietnam paid an average of 688,000 yen, compared with 94,000 yen in the Philippines. Although intergovernmental agreements prohibit the collection of deposits and penalties to prevent contract default, trainees in reality paid an average of 19,000 yen.

To pay these fees, 55% of the trainees borrowed money when they arrived in Japan, taking on an average 547,000 yen in debt.

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