Request by the National Police Agency, the Immigration Services Agency, and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to employers' associations regarding measures against illegal foreign workers

Press release

June 11, 2019 (Reiwa 1)

On June 11, 2019, the National Police Agency, Immigration Services Agency, and Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare explained to major employers' associations the efforts being made to address illegal foreign workers by the "Council for Measures against Illegal Foreign Workers" and requested their cooperation in preventing illegal employment.

1. Request date, time, and location

Date: From 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 (Reiwa 1)
Address: Central Govt. Building No. 6, Building A 17F Meeting Room, 1-1-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

2. Attendees

(1) Relevant ministries and agencies

Director of the Organized Crime Policy Planning Division, Organized Crime Department, Criminal Affairs Bureau, National Police Agency
Director of the Enforcement Division, Immigration Department, Immigration Services Agency
Director of the Foreign Workers' Affairs Division, Employment Security Bureau, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

(2) Employers' associations

Japan Business Federation
Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI)
National Federation of Small Business Associations
Central Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry

3. Council for Measures against Illegal Foreign Workers

Affiliated agencies and organizations need to work together to develop and promote extensive measures that tackle the issue of illegal employment of foreign workers from multiple angles. In particular, the National Police Agency, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare must strengthen their cooperation. From this perspective, in February 1992 (Heisei 4), the "Inter-Ministerial Liaison Committee Regarding Measures to Combat Illegal Foreign Workers," comprised of the Director-Generals from the three agencies, and the "Council for Measures against Illegal Foreign Workers," comprised of directors from the three agencies, were formed. During the course of deliberating and executing various policies, from April of this year, the Immigration Services Agency, which was established as an External Bureau of the Ministry of Justice, also became a member of these councils.

4. Current status of illegally employed foreign nationals

As a result of Japan executing measures in various fields to reduce the number of illegal foreign workers and prevent new illegal workers from entering the country, the number of foreign nationals that had overstayed their authorized period of stay as of January 1, 2014 was less than 60,000 people. However, as of January 1 of this year, the number of foreign nationals that had overstayed their authorized period of stay had grown to 74,000 people.
At the end of last year, the number of foreign nationals residing in Japan was 2,730,000 people, a record-high figure. As such, there are concerns about an increase in imposter residents who use fabricated documents to lie about their identity and purpose of activities, improperly receive a status of residence, and work illegally. The means of residing in Japan based on false premises grow more malicious and complex every year. There have been cases of people who are clearly not eligible under the Refugee Convention abusing the Refugee Recognition System for the purpose of working or residing permanently in Japan. Furthermore, there have been cases of technical intern trainees going missing, students being expelled from their schools, and people working illegally during provisional release after being issued a deportation order. It is clear that continued effort is needed to address these problems.
Measures to eliminate opportunities for illegal workers are necessary to curb illegal employment, such as more strictly charging employers who provide work opportunities with crimes for encouraging illegal work.

5. Details of the request

In an aim to promote public understanding about the issues surrounding (illegal) foreign workers, June has been designated "Foreign Workers Awareness Month" by the government. Just as in previous years, the Council for Measures against Illegal Foreign Workers asks that employers' associations understand and cooperate with measures against illegal foreign workers as a "request related to preventing the employment of illegal foreign workers," and it asks that they provide information and guidance to all related parties in order to prevent the employment of illegal foreign workers. Each employers' association explained their efforts to prevent the employment of illegal foreign workers and exchanged their opinions on the matter.

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