Industrial Trainees from China and Vietnam in Japan: An Entry Point into the Key Issues of International Labour Migration and Skill Transfer
October 2017 - August 2020
Since 2016, Japan's foreign workforce has exceeded 1 million, twenty percent of whom are so-called technical interns. A great majority of these foreign workers and interns come from China and Vietnam. Previous studies have shown that foreign workers and interns have diversified migration experiences and outcomes in terms of skill enhancement, working and living conditions, labour rights violations and maltreatment, socio-economic status and career development. But no systematic research has yet used a comparative perspective to examine the relationship between this rapidly expanding international labour migration and skill transfers. Nor are there any studies systemically comparing the changing roles of the Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese states in recruitment, placement and monitoring of trainees/interns. This research project will identify the similarities and differences in the international trainee migration systems of the two dyads (China-Japan and Vietnam-Japan), and will isolate the factors that engender different patterns of migration experiences, skill enhancement and outcomes. Specifically, it will explore the roles and impacts of the market and state, and we will also closely examine the impacts on the young trainee participants. This research will contribute to current debates on international labour migration, human capital formation, and skill transfer. The research findings will be presented at migration, labour studies and development studies conferences and will be published in scholarly journals and potentially as a scholarly book.