Monday, November 02, 2015

"he sendeth forth two of his disciples" - Foreign Workers in South Korea

Government Office District, Tokyo

Foreign Workers in South Korea

NHK, the Japanese public broadcaster, televised a documentary on plights of foreign workers in South Korea.

South Korea puts in practice a system to invite foreign workers as a kind of cheap labor force to work in small and medium-sized businesses at low wages.  South Korea's major enterprises such as Samsung use many subcontractors that are requested to cut costs for benefits of those major companies at the time of  a recession.  To fulfill this requirement, minor companies need foreign workers who work at low costs and can be fired easily.

To facilitate this scheme, the S. Korean Government introduced the system where S. Korea asks other Asian nations to provide lists of young people who want to work in S. Korea.  And, the S. Korea Government presents the lists to minor companies that choose individuals they want to hire.  The S. Korea Government initially boasted that under this system foreign workers can enjoy the same right as that enjoyed by S. Korean workers.  Believing their words, the United Nations officially praised this system.  But it turned to be a system to exploit foreign workers and neglect their human rights.  Even the Amnesty International has blamed S. Korea for this system with full of defects such as restriction of freedom of foreign workers to quit a job and find another at their will.

In Japan, there is a similar system.  But the Japanese Government regards those foreign workers not as regular workers but as on-the-job foreign trainees.  And, since 1990s, many small and medium-sized businesses of Japan opted to transfer their factories to China and other Asian nations rather than simply accepting trainees from foreign countries.

The number of on-the-job foreign trainees in Japan is about 150,000 (though there are 170,000 Japanese Brazilians who work in factories in Japan under a special system applied to Brazilians with Japanese ancestors).  But the number of foreign workers in S. Korea is more than 700,000.

Even in Japan sometimes it becomes news that some bad employer exploits on-the-job foreign trainees.  The Japanese Government is reluctant to strictly regulate this labor issue, but  public administration and the judiciary system will interfere to correct bad labor management of problem companies.  But, in S. Korea, the Government supports problem companies in order to ultimately facilitate profits making of major companies that use those problem companies.

S. Korea businesses enjoyed a merit of its weak currency till recently.  Their exporting companies had competitive edges against Japanese businesses as the Japanese yen had been appreciated so high for years.   But since the Bank of Japan started to provide a huge amount of yen to the market through purchase of government bonds in bulk from the market a few years ago, the yen became weak.  The Korean won became strong relatively.  As a result, Korean export declined.  In August of this year, exports of Korea declined by minus 14% year on year.  Accordingly, major enterprises of S. Korea requests cost cutback to their contract companies and subcontractors.  Consequently, these minor companies stop paying full wages to foreign workers, fire them without full compensations, or force them to work for longer hours without additional pay.    

Today, East Asia is regarded as prosperous as the EU, but the situations in Japan, Taiwan, China, and S. Korea are not necessarily rosy as emphasized by the working and living conditions of foreign workers in S. Korea.  (It is interesting that China has no such a large number of foreign workers, since it has hundreds of millions of poor farmers who can provide cheap labor force for domestic businesses.)

The largest motivation of businesses for their operation is profit making and money making.  Accordingly, problems such as one above stated cannot be eradicated.

But if we obey the word of God and Christ Jesus honestly, we have to formulate a law that forbids businesses to make a profit by sacrificing human beings, namely workers, and especially foreign workers and on-the-job foreign trainees.


The Japanese version of the memoir of David Rockefeller is sold in two volumes, though in pocket edition.  I bought the first volume only.  But it is interesting enough, so that I may buy the second volume.  However, I don't like to make the super-rich man richer by my purchase of his books.

David Rockefeller was a kind of intelligence officer in WWII.  However, one of his brothers suffered an injury in a battle against the Imperial Japanese Navy.  A kamikaze attack plane hit a US naval ship where he was on board around Okinawa.

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Mar 11:1 And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,
Mar 11:2 And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.
Mar 11:3 And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.