Japanese Universities Collaborate to Support Foreign Workers

Japanese Universities Collaborate to Support Foreign Workers
Picture: Zoom call with coffee. By: Chris Montgomery, via Unsplash, 2020


Malina Wiethaus

Japan and Human Rights Researcher 

Global Human Rights Defense 

Currently, the Japanese economy suffers from labor shortages due to a rapidly aging population and little replacements (Statista Research Department, 2022). In the past, Japanese businesses have shown little appreciation for foreign workers and trainees. Multiple incidents of harassment and abuse were reported, many in the governmental “Technical Intern Trainee Program” (Vertité, 2018; France24, 2022). 

On the 6th of March, three Japanese universities have agreed on collaborating with international exchange organizations to offer language skills to foreign nationals willing to work in Japan. By teaching foreign workers and trainees Japanese, this new program aims at addressing the acute labor shortage in Japan. Furthermore, this program should create a “multicultural society where both Japanese and foreigners live comfortably”, as Iwate University’s Vice President announced (Kyodo, 2022).

Part of the alliance are the Iwate University, Akita International University, Yamagata University, as well as four international exchange groups. This alliance will ensure quality language education by creating a hybrid curriculum after which the graduates of this program will be registered at the municipality to fill local needs (Kyodo, 2022). As of June 2021, the prefectures Akita, Iwate and Yamagata had 4,200, 7,700 and 7,730 foreign residents, which demonstrates the urgent need for such a program (Kyodo, 2022). 

Sources and further readings: 

France24. (2022, January 25). Japan orders probe of Vietnamese intern abuse case. France 

  1. Retrieved March 8, 2022, from 



Kyodo. (2022, March 6). Universities collaborate to improve Japanese skills of foreign 

workers. Japan Today. Retrieved March 8, 2022, from 



Verité. (2018). Forced Labor Risk in Japan’s Technical Intern Training Program



Statista Research Department (2022, January 10). Demographics of Japan - statistics & facts

Retrieved February 4, 2022 from https://www.statista.com/topics/4675/demographics-in-japan/#dossierKeyfigures