ISOWA NEWS LETTER
2020/10 Vol. 138
The ISOWA NEWS LETTER is a newsletter for the benefit
of special customers only.
Each month we bring you information about our company
and its products – information you won’t find on our home page
or in our catalogs.
We hope the ISOWA NEWS LETTER will help you feel closer to us.
1├ Utilization of Foreign Human Resources
through the Technical Intern Training Program
2├ Jibun-gatari by three mid-career members
From President Isowa’s Blog, ISOWA DIARY
I’m Kazumi Kato from the Export Department.
Here in Japan, once we entered September, we finally started to get cooler weather,
and it feels a little like autumn.
This summer, it was very hot every day. Here in Nagoya, Aichi prefecture,
where we live, the average temperature for a day in August was 30.3 degrees Celsius,
and 22 days out of the month were “extremely hot days,” which is the official classification
for a day where the maximum temperature exceeds 35 degrees. This was the largest number
of days on record since record-keeping began in 1890.
I’d like to tell a quick story about a trip I took with the other three members
of my family to Hokkaido last year. About one year ago, from August 18 to the 20th,
we spent a two-night, three-day stay. Myself, my wife, and our two daughters
went sightseeing around Sapporo on the first day. On the second day, we went to
Furano and Biei, where there is a lot of beautiful scenery and nature.
On the final day, we visited Otaru, a port town where there are warehouses
and canals from the town’s burgeoning past.
Hokkaido is so vast in scale, and nature is so magnificent that we felt like
we had traveled to another country. It has a unique atmosphere compared
to the rest of Japan. All the towns and regions we visited, and the things we saw
and felt remain with me today as good memories. Another thing Hokkaido
is known for is its delicious food.
There are famous Hokkaido dishes like fresh seafood and delicious ramen,
as well as a BBQ lamb or mutton dish called Genghis Khan, which is very popular
with locals and visitors alike.
With sightseeing and traveling in summer, and winter sports like skiing and
snowboarding in winter, Hokkaido is now a popular destination for fun year-round,
even for international visitors.
Currently, the whole world is facing difficult times due to the impact of Covid-19,
but I am certain that it won’t be long before we can go back to our normal way of life.
If any of you are thinking about taking a trip to Japan in the future, please add Hokkaido
to your list of possible destinations. I definitely recommend it.
And now, let’s turn to Vol. 138 of the ISOWA NEWS LETTER.
We hope you like this edition.
Utilization of Foreign Human Resources
through the Technical Intern Training Program
Hi, I’m Nagisa Inui from the Customer Support/Service Department.
In Japan, a new Work Style Reform Bill came into force in April of last year.
Here at ISOWA, each one of us is thinking harder than ever every day as we work
in order to reduce overtime hours.
At a time like this, when the topic of work style reform is on everyone’s lips,
one change that has come along with overtime limits is the utilization of foreign human resources.
The number of foreign workers in Japan has been growing every year.
A new status of residence (*) was introduced in April 2019,
and now it is said that there are 1.66 million foreign workers employed in Japan
as of the end of February 2020.
Let’s take a look at why Japan is increasing its intake acceptance of foreign labor.
There are two main reasons.
1. Decline in the productive domestic population
The productive population refers to people aged 15 to 60, and it has been in
a steady decline since 2008.
This population peaked in 1997 with 86.99 million people, and by February of 2019,
it had dropped to 76.28 million.
I was surprised to know that it had dropped by 11.71 million in just 22 years.
Some data suggest that this population will drop to 63 million by 2036.
The birthrate is declining, and the population is aging at an alarming rate.
2. High level of jobs-to-applicants ratio
Currently, it has dropped slightly due to the impact of Covid-19, but even so,
as of July 2020, the effective jobs-to-applicants ratio is 1.08.
This means for every hundred people looking for work, there are 108 jobs.
Before Covid-19, this ratio had progressed to around 1.6 and was remaining high.
Simply said, Japan is in a situation with plenty of jobs, but not enough workers.
Now you see this is where “Utilization of Foreign Human Resources” comes in.
There are several different statuses of residence for foreign workers in Japan.
Here I will discuss some issues specific to the paper machinery and corrugated paper industry.
Most of the foreign workers in the corrugated paper and packaging industry
are “Technical Intern Trainees.”
“Trainee” is a type of status of residence.
The purpose of the Technical Intern Training Program is to make international
contributions by helping people to acquire skills, techniques, and/or
knowledge cultivated in Japan so that they may go on to utilize those skills
in their home countries and assist in the development of the industry.
In order to stay in Japan as a technical intern trainee, it is necessary to pass
At the end of the first year: Trainees, who pass the written and practical exams,
progress to Technical Intern Training (ii) and are able to continue their training in Japan.
At the end of the third year: Trainees, who pass the practical exam,
progress to Technical Intern Training (iii), and after temporarily returning
to their home country (for at least a month), they are able to work in Japan
for two more years.
The program allows the trainees from overseas to stay for a maximum of five years,
but apparently, in practice, most of the trainees return home after three years.
Now I’ll introduce some customer voices from companies who are accepting
foreign human resources.
When we accepted our trainee, we first set a variety of rules and
developed a work instruction manual. We had to introduce him to the lifestyle
and culture of Japan, which was difficult at times, but the young man who came
is very hardworking and is quick to learn things.
He still can’t understand Japanese very well, but he is a good person and earnest.
We tried advertising for part-timers, but we couldn’t get enough people,
so we decided to try accepting foreign human resources.
Teaching them was a big task, but thanks to the foreign trainees coming,
our employees talk to each other more, and the worksite has gotten much cheerier.
As they need to send money to their families living back in their home country,
they’re very serious about their work.
They observe the work closely, and light up with lights or bring spot-coolers
(portable air-conditioner) when necessary without being asked.
I feel like Japanese people could learn a lot from the way the trainees learn
by observing the senior members.
Although it may seem like the Technical Intern Training Program has
a lot of good points, the process can take half a year at best, to a full year,
for a company to finally be able to accept trainees.
The process Japanese companies go through in order to accept
technical intern trainees is as follows:
1. Personally, go overseas to the sending organization to interview
and select candidates.
2. Prepare a technical intern training plan for each trainee and receive accreditation.
3. Once the technical intern training plans are accredited, apply for
Certificates of Eligibility for the Status of Residence.
4. Once the Certificates of Eligibility for the Status of Residence are acquired,
apply for visas.
5. Once the visas are acquired, the trainees can come to Japan.
6. After entering Japan, the trainees undergo a month of statutory lectures.
After all that, they can finally begin their technical training.
In order to use the Technical Intern Training Program, it’s necessary to
be very well-organized from the planning stage onward.
There is a range of restrictions in place for both companies and workers,
so this program won’t easily solve Japan’s labor shortage.
Foreign trainees who come as technical interns often can’t speak Japanese,
but I think the way they tackle their work diligently and earnestly can teach
today’s Japanese people a lot.
In the future, I hope that a system for longer-term residency will be made
available to the and corrugated paper and packaging industry as well.
When that day comes, I will announce it in the ISOWA NEWS LETTER!
Thank you very much.
Jibun-gatari by three mid-career members
From President Isowa’s Blog, ISOWA DIARY
Although Obon holidays in Japan had finished, there was still pre-shipment
inspection for overseas customers.
▼To read more about it, visit the below website
(President Isowa’s blog, ISOWA DIARY)
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