Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gov’t gets involved with Japan ‘interns’

Gov’t gets involved with Japan ‘interns’

Gov’t gets involved with Japan ‘interns’

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stepped into a labour dispute on behalf of Cambodians working under an “internship” scheme in Japan widely criticised for abusing the rights of foreign workers, it revealed late last week on its Facebook page.

Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry, speaking yesterday, said the embassy in Tokyo had held discussions with the employers of 37 Cambodian “interns” working across three dry-cleaning plants in Japan’s central Gifu prefecture.

The Cambodians complained of low pay, forced work during holidays and high water and rent fees. “They suggested getting higher wages and working only eight hours per day, and wanted a day off on Sunday and for overtime to be on a volunteer basis, not by force,” he said.

Sounry said the employers promised to resolve the dispute by upping wages and providing a day off during the week, although he was unaware exactly how much the Cambodians were being paid.

The Cambodians are working in Japan as part of an “internship” program run by the Japanese government. Originally meant to provide job training for foreign workers in Japan’s labour-starved industries, the scheme has come under fire in the international press for overworking and underpaying the so-called interns, whose actual responsibilities involve little training.

Moeun Tola, executive director of labour rights group Central, said cases of Cambodian worker abuse remained rare in Japan, and attributed the intervention to a recent push for Cambodia’s embassies to help migrant workers.

During a meeting on January 30 with all of Cambodia’s 26 ambassadors, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong urged for embassies to pay greater attention to the needs of Cambodian workers overseas.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Bosba: The first Khmer woman composer from UK’s Cambridge

    Bosba Panh is just 25 years old, but she’s already accomplished some impressive milestones for herself and the Kingdom. On July 24, she graduated with a Master’s degree from the University of Cambridge as the first Khmer woman composer and Khmer music graduate ever at

  • ‘Golden’ Angkor Wat likely due to natural phenomenon: ANA

    Pictures and video clips of the Angkor Wat temple, its spires seemingly coated in gold, have been shared tens of thousands of times on social media, prompting a sense of wonder among those who have seen them. Hong Sam Ath, who took the pictures and

  • Pailin longan winery tries to break through to the big time

    Longan aren’t quite as glamorous as some fruits. They don’t have the star-power of mangos or generate the excitement of a pricey seasonal niche fruit like the pungent durian. Unlike bananas or oranges, which are known and loved everywhere, longan remains a decidedly

  • Debt restructuring over, time to tackle rising NPL ratio

    The Cambodian banking system has just completed a 26-month debt restructuring exercise where scores of loan accounts were revised, classified and provisioned as the rate of non-performing loans inched up, sparking a slight credit risk unease Implemented in April 2020, the Covid-19 debt restructuring measures came

  • Koh Slaket studio resort brings culture with style

    Davitra (Cambodia) Co Ltd’s multi-million-dollar 13ha Koh Slaket studio-cum-resort just east of the capital was inaugurated in the first phase on August 6, providing national and international tourists with a new travel option and job opportunities for locals. The man-made cultural and scenic lakefront getaway