On May 23, eight major companies jointly launched a project to support foreign workers and unearth any hidden issues they might face in Japan.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), local governments and trade unions have also participated in the establishment of JP-MIRAI (Japan Platform for Migrant Workers Towards a Responsible and Inclusive Society).
JP-MIRAI is an outside, independent and neutral organization that provides consultation to foreign workers on issues such as unpaid wages, day-to-day issues, visa status and health.
The center is accessible through an app and other means.
If a problem is serious, JP-MIRAI will support the worker and can refer him to a lawyer for possible legal action against the employer.
JICA, which provides the secretariat for JP-MIRAI, said the new consulting service will cover several thousand people this fiscal year, including overseas technical trainees.
Consultations are available in nine languages, including Chinese and Vietnamese.
The project will also collect and analyze data. Participating companies will be notified of common complaints while workers will remain anonymous.
Participating companies will cover the running costs of JP-MIRAI.
The eight participating companies are Toyota Motor Corp., Seven & i Holdings Co., Ajinomoto Co., Mitsui Fudosan Co. and Ryohin Keikaku Co.
They will implement the service as a pilot project for a year in hopes of capturing the issues faced by foreign workers at these companies and their suppliers.
JICA plans to encourage more companies to join later and expand the target range to 200,000 workers.