November 17, 2020
Inaugural Forum held on Nov.16
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and The Global Alliance for Sustainable Supply Chain (ASSC) jointly serve as a secretariat and established the "Japan Platform for Migrant Workers toward Responsible and Inclusive Society" on Nov. 16, 2020, in collaboration with private companies, industry associations, labor unions, civil society, media, and researchers that are involved in accepting migrant workers in Japan. On the same day, the Inaugural Forum was held in Tokyo.
This platform is the first of its kind in Japan, and aims to resolve the labor and social issues faced by migrant workers in Japan through the collaboration of various stakeholders. The website of the platform was launched in order to inform and involve as many people as possible in this initiative.
[Reasons behind the platform's establishment]
As of January 2020, it was reported that there are approximately 1.66 million foreign workers in Japan, 380,000 of whom are engaged in the Technical Intern Training Program or are the Specified Skilled Workers, and there are 240,000 business establishments that hire foreign nationals. While migrant workers are becoming indispensable for supporting Japanese industry, various issues have been pointed out in accepting them. Other developed countries and some emerging economies are also experiencing declining birthrates, and there are concerns that if this situation continues, it may become difficult to recruit labor in the future. Also, as interest in ESG investment grows, lack of proper consideration has become a major risk for private sector companies.
This platform has been established in recognition of the need for collaboration and cooperation between private sector companies, local governments, and many other stakeholders in order to recognize these issues surrounding migrant workers as common challenges in society, and to promote efforts for improvement.
Many migrant workers come from developing countries and will return to their home countries in the future, where they are expected to play an active role in supporting local communities and industries. JICA has been working on developing human resources for migrant workers prior to their arrival in Japan, and supporting those who have returned to their homeland to find employment and start their own businesses. JICA has also been supporting Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers and others who have returned to Japan to propagate multiculturalism in the country. JICA plans to promote this platform in conjunction with these activities.
The ASSC, who will serve as the joint secretariat for this platform, is an organization with a proven track record since 2018 of establishing the "Foreign Workers Roundtable" with an eye on global trends, aiming to enhance the working environment for foreign workers in the private sector and its supply chain. They have been supporting the private sector in improving its efforts.
It is hoped that, through the improvement of working and living conditions for migrant workers, the organizations participating in this platform will work together to achieve "a Japan trusted and chosen by the workers of the world," and a prosperous and sustainable society will be realized through the stable acceptance of outstanding migrant workers.