Foreign Workers Round Table

Background&Purpose

Human rights violations regarding foreign workers are increasing in recent years, and such violations are seen as an “immigrant labour issue” that is particularly important within the topic of “business and human rights”. In Japan, exploitation of labour and violation of human rights, which are related to Technical Intern Training Programmes(TITP) for foreigners, labour carried out by international students, and dispatched labour etc., are being communicated through Reuters and the “Trafficking in Persons Report” issued by the U.S. Department of State. As it gets closer to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, NGOs and NPOs from various countries are expected to become more aggressive with their criticisms and lobbying.

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights outlines how states and businesses should understand “the state duty to protect against human rights abuses”, “the corporate responsibility to respect human rights”, and “the importance of access to remedy from human rights abuse”, as well as how corporations and states should prepare and promote the remedial measures. In other words, corporations are expected to identify, prevent, and reduce the negative impacts on human rights through their activities including those within their supply chain (human rights due diligence), and must identify, take measures, and monitor the human rights risks in relation to the foreign workers’ issues. In addition, governments must design policies and guidelines in order to prevent human rights violations.

However, the issue of foreign workers within the supply chain includes problems unique to the TITP system and its structure, and therefore it is difficult for corporations, governments, and civil society organisations to solve the issue individually or to find the ultimate solution at once. Under such circumstances, ASSC would like to propose the “Foreign Labour committee (Round Table)” as an opportunity to discuss and think of solutions for 2020 and beyond.

※This round table is part of the Tokyo 2020 Nationwide Participation Program (accredited by The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games)

ASSC Tokyo Declaration 2020

As part of the outcome of the roundtable, ASSC announced in April 2020 the Tokyo Declaration 2020 on Responsible Acceptance of Foreign Workers (also known as the ASSC Tokyo Declaration 2020). The Declaration summarizes the thirteen requirements for creating an environment where foreigners working in Japan can work in decent way, based on discussions at the roundtable. this Declaration is designed to comply with international treaties, guidelines, norms, standards, such as the Dhaka principles and the norms and provisions of international organizations such as the IOM and ILO, while taking into account the various systems for accepting foreign workers in Japan. In the future, we will work to disseminate this Declaration and promote collaborative activities with companies, governments, and NPOs / NGOs in order to realize the contents of the Declaration.