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Enhancing Rights Protection: Japan’s New Foreign Trainee Program

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A government panel on Friday compiled a final report on a new system to replace Japan’s controversial trainee program for foreign nationals, featuring improved rights protection with increased flexibility for workplace changes and tougher oversights.

The final report will set the stage for the government to submit a bill to parliament next year to introduce the new system, which will end the Technical Intern Training Program, which has been in place since 1993.

Originally designed to transfer skills to developing countries, the program has long been criticized as a cover for firms to import inexpensive labor as Japan’s working-age population shrinks. Many trainees ran way due to unjust treatment, with cases of abuse within the program including unpaid wages and harassment.

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