I want to share with you two, diametrically opposed views of how easy or hard it is for a foreigner to get regular employment in Japan.
The first comes from comments on the Tepido blog, which, as you know, I have been monitoring since I was a topic there some time ago. One of the previous posters there is involved in the silly “Japan Blog Review”, and so that is one more reason.
A few of the regular Tepido posters seem to think that regular employment is routinely offered to foreigners in Japan–one or two suggest that they have such employment themselves. They also feel that it’s very easy to secure your employment rights in Japan, when you are sei sha’in, by “simply” going down to a local labor administrative office or lawyer’s bar association.
Taking the 180 degrees opposite view is the Osaka General Union: “The foreign teacher as disposable commodity”.
Here, we discover that employers in Japan do every trick in the book to prevent a foreigner from obtaining stable employment with a career track. Administrative agencies look the other way, and if you really want what the law says you are entitled to, be prepared to litigate and have it go on for years.
So my question is very simple: which is it? It sounds like the Osaka union knows what they are talking about, and yet others insist that, no no, it isn’t that way at all. They say, you “just” have to do this or that, and then the Japanese employer does what they are supposed to do.
I will of course have more to add on this throughout 2012, as the unremedied situation I left in Japan slowly works its way through the federal system. I simply wonder where some people get off saying that the Japanese honor the regular employment scheme when it comes to foreigners, when the preponderance of stories that have come to light over the years–and the simple fact that the foreign population keeps leaving Japan–shows that regular employment is something that the Japanese keep for themselves. They expect foreign companies with a base in Japan to honor it, for Japanese employees, but foreigners are virtually always considered to be under some other scheme.