The Chinese Embassy in Japan said it will continue to take strong measures to protect the legitimate rights of Chinese nationals working in Japan under the Japanese government-sponsored Technical Intern Training Program for foreigners.
"The Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in Japan attach great importance to protecting Chinese technical trainees in Japan, and have carried out consular protection and assistance work through various channels and means," the embassy told Xinhua in a recent interview.
According to the Japanese Ministry of Justice, there were about 85,000 Chinese trainees in Japan last year under the program.
Tokyo introduced the intern program in 1993. It claims the program is designed to bring in interns from developing countries and help them acquire technical skills they can bring back to their homelands to contribute to local economic development.
Yet the system has been widely criticized as a platform to attract cheap labor from overseas to compensate for Japan's manpower shortage without due measures to protect the rights of foreign workers.
The Chinese embassy said it will increase contacts with related Japanese ministries to urge the Japanese side to take concrete measures to protect the legal rights of Chinese interns.
The embassy said it has also visited on a regular basis the factories and workshops that hire Chinese trainees so as to learn firsthand about their difficulties and problems.
Last year, the embassy also provided consular protection and assistance for Chinese trainees involved in some 100 cases in the island nation, helping them negotiate better deals in labor disputes and offering legal assistance to the Chinese, among others.
The abuse of Chinese trainees in Japan is rampant as many of them are forced to work overtime and under unsafe conditions, according to a recent TV program that aired in Japan.