Firms urged to do more to help foreigners adapt to Japanese society

Local governments in central Honshu unveiled a charter on Monday urging companies to help foreign workers adapt to Japanese society, officials said.

The Aichi, Gifu and Mie prefectural governments as well as the Nagoya Municipal Government have worked out the charter in cooperation with local business organizations including the Chubu Economic Federation.

The six-point charter urges companies in the region to improve working conditions for foreign workers, provide them with opportunities to deepen their understanding of Japanese culture and customs and help them and their families to integrate themselves into regional communities.

As of the end of 2006, there were approximately 310,000 registered foreign residents in these prefectures, accounting for about 15 percent of some 2.08 million across the country.

It has been pointed out that the employment of foreign workers, most of them working at factories, is insecure, and that many of them are not covered by social security programs. Moreover, they often have problems involving their children’s education and communication with Japanese residents because of language barriers.