*This book is not translated in English yet.
I would like to introduce the latest book by Mr. Ippei Torii, director of the NPO “Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan”. For more than 30 years, Mr. Torii has been protecting and supporting foreign workers to restore their human rights when violation and exploitation occur. His activities have been reported in a variety of media, including the NHK program “Professional”.
Mr. Torii is the co-chair of the Japan Network Against Trafficking in Persons (JNATIP), of which NFSJ is a member. I have been privileged to have many opportunities to work with him. Let me share with you one episode that will be relevant to this book. It was in 2017 when we JNATIP members were organizing a seminar for Diet members. In the discussion on what to title the event, Mr. Torii said, “Let’s use ‘Human Trafficking in Disguise’. The Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) itself is a state-sponsored disguise. Japanese society has accepted and allowed this pretense.” The decision was made without further discussion.
In this book, Mr. Torii describes, using many graphic cases, how Japanese society has “disguised” its internship program, which often includes harsh labor exploitation that can be regarded as human trafficking. When you read the history of Japan’s labor immigration policy and how foreign workers have been treated in this country, you will find that it has been haphazard and deceitful.
The author indicates that the pretense of TITP has created an attitude among the Japanese general public that “we are teaching Japan’s superior skills to people from developing countries”. This attitude has resulted in our looking down on people from those countries. The reality is that foreign workers have come from far away places to work in a country with a shrinking population and a critical shortage of industrial laborers. For this reason, the book reiterates that TITP should be terminated as soon as possible and a “system for accepting migrant workers” should be created so that we can live together in harmony.
In conclusion I would like to leave you with this quote from the book—it’s clear who needs to change.
The word “immigrants” is sometimes used as a discriminatory word, however we need to change our thinking about them to “people who are trying to become a part of this society”. In fact, our society is looking for and needs “people who are trying to become a part of this society”. (Nozomi Kuriyama)
(Written by Ippei Torii in 2020, published by Shueisha-Shinsho, 256 pages, 860yen+tax,