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How Japan Exploits Low-Paid Foreign Workers

  • Foreign-intern plan brought 180,000 workers for low-paid jobs
  • Panel found widespread abuse, proposed changes in new bill
The local labor union office and shelter for Chinese trainees in Hashima.
Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Tang Xili came to Japan in 2013, hoping to earn enough in three years to build a new home for her daughter. Instead, she ended up in a labor-union shelter, after leaving an employer she says owes her about 3.5 million yen ($31,000) in unpaid wages.

The 35-year-old from Yizheng City in China says she worked long hours, six days a week, was paid less than the minimum-wage rate for her overtime, and couldn’t change her employer because of the terms of her visa.