FROM THE NAMBU FOREIGN WORKERS CAUCUS
The ruling coalition and government are discussing the possibility of allowing part-timers who work for an employer for more than a certain period to join the pension system, sources said.
Currently, companies are obliged to pay a half of pension premiums for their part-time employees who work more than 30 hours a week [sic].
Earlier, officials of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare tried to make some 3 million people eligible for the pension system by cutting the required hours of work to more than 20 hours a week. But those in the distribution industry, which employ many part-timers, were so vehemently opposed to the plan that the ministry dropped the idea.
But now Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly wants to allow more people to join the pension plan, prompting government and ruling coalition officials to discuss the idea of allowing part-timers who work for a certain period, probably more than one year, to join the system.
Under the idea, part-timers who work more than 20 hours a week for less than 12 months will probably be excluded from the pension system, sources said.
Currently, companies are required to pay half of pension premiums for full-time employees who work more than two months for a company.
Chinese trainees flee poor work conditions
Three Chinese women working in a training program fled their workplace in Aomori Prefecture early Monday and contacted labor authorities to complain of poor conditions, The Yomiuri Shimbun learned.
The trainees came to Japan two years ago and have worked at a small sewing factory in Misawa in the prefecture.
The three women complained of working 13 hours a day, with their overtime pay falling short of the stipulated minimum wage, and rarely being allowed to use heaters even in midwinter at the company dormitory, which is a refurbished garage.
The three told the Yomiuri they could not bear the situation any longer with winter approaching.
Just after 5 a.m., the three trainees, each carrying an overnight bag, ran from the dormitory in front of the factory to a car driven by a member of a Fukui-based organization supporting foreign workers.
About two months before, the three telephoned the organization, after reading about it in a Chinese newspaper, and made plans to flee.
One of the trainees, a 32-year-old woman from Shanghai, said: “I came to Japan to earn money. I’ve been a migrant worker at sewing plants in Saipan and the United Arab Emirates, but I wasn’t treated this badly.”