New law: no dues, no visa

An article from July that concerns every foreigner working in Japan.

Are you enrolled in Shakai Hoken or did Interac tell you you weren’t eligible? Are you going to have to pay up to two years of back pay into the system next year because Interac/Maxceed did not register you into the system when you started working for them?

Let’s hope not.
Solidarity

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20090728zg.html
By JENNY UECHI

Enrollment in Japan’s health insurance program tied to visa renewal from 2010

By JENNY UECHI

In your wallet or somewhere at home, do you have a blue or pink card showing that you are enrolled in one of Japan’s national health and pension programs? If not, and if you are thinking of extending your stay here, you may want to think about a recent revision to visa requirements for foreign residents. The changes, which the Justice Ministry says were made in order to “smooth out the administrative process,” may have major consequences for foreign residents and their future in Japan.

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Liberation In Iwate

In 2007, I recieved an email from an Interac employee that was interested in being directly hired by his BOE. He had tried in earnest to improve his working conditions through Interac, but they were uninterested in signing him up for Shakai Hoken, unemployment insurance, giving him a raise, etcetera. At the time I was in Osaka, and Iwate (the prefecture north of Tokyo, not the city in Osaka) is quite a long way away from the normal base of operations of Tokyo Nambu, much less Osaka’s General Union Interac Branch. I was not able to meet with him face to face, but I was able to provide him with a lot of information and advice that he was able to use to convince his BOE (Board of Education) that taking the plunge to hire him directly would be in everyone’s best interest. He has now been directly employed since spring of 2008 with no middle-man dispatch company to impede his rights as a worker under Japanese law.

This is his story, in his own words. Enjoy and be inspired. Any other ALTs in Iwate prefecture that want to liberate their BOE from their dispatch company can contact me and I will put you in contact with our friend, “The Abolitionist”.

In solidarity

(NOTE: His experiences and his claims may not match yours exactly. Contracts can have different variables in different parts of the country. They can even be different in the same part of the country, but with different BOEs. If his experience does not match yours exactly, don’t forget to take the possible variations into account.)

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From “The Abolitionist” in Iwate Prefecture:

It would be very sad for you, a great ALT, to resign to quitting your job and even leaving Japan, a country you love, because of Interac. Giving that much power to an amoral, impersonal business would indeed be a shame. That’s why I’m writing this. It’s not hopeless. A few years ago I was in this situation but my BOE cut out the middleman and gave me a direct contract. I would like to give you some tips on how to make this happen.

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Stop Illegal Dispatching in Tokyo/Kanto!

Recently in the news, an NihonTerebi (Channel 4 in the Tokyo area) story focused on trials that a lot of ALTs face, focusing on the fact that not only are these creating a less than optimal working enviornment for foreign teachers but also that many of the contracts are Illegal.

The reporters that researched the story surveyed the greater Tokyo/Kanto area to see which Boards of Education (BOEs) were using dispatch contracts that are considered legal, and which BOEs were using illegal contracts. A graphic supplied during the report showed that a large swath of the Tokyo area was highlighted in red, the color used to indicate a BOE that is currently using an illegal contract.

Continue reading to see the videos:

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自己紹介

My name is Erich and I am a member of Nambu FWC, a former member and a current friend of the Osaka based General Union. I joined the GU a few years ago to improve the working conditions in the city that I lived and worked, Matsubara, Osaka. We in the GU were able to convince/force/persuade the BOE (Board of Education) of Matsubara to hire their ALTs directly, thus improving the working conditions by orders of magnitude. The GU was able to put pressure on other BOEs where our members chose to fight as well, and they were recently able to liberate the city of Hirakata, improving the working conditions

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Immigration and Health Insurance

Time is running out!

Recently announced changes to immigration guidelines link your visa to enrollment in government approved health insurance. This means kokumin kenko hoken or shakai hoken/shigaku kyosai (Employee’s health & Pension).

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Interac in the News – Punishment for Being Sick

An article from January, 2008 about the fact that Interac ALTs do not get all of what they are entitled to by law.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080105f1.html

THIS FOREIGN LAND
Assistant language teachers in trying times

By KANAKO TAKAHARA
Staff writer
Last of four parts

In November, Samantha Bouton, an assistant language teacher working at a public elementary school in the rural town of Shibayama, Chiba Prefecture, had a fever of 38.5 degrees and was diagnosed as suffering bronchitis.

Because of her illness, Bouton, a 25-year-old U.S. native from Oregon who has been teaching in Japan’s public schools since 2004, had to take leave for two weeks.

But her employer, Interac, a temp staff dispatch agency and leading provider of ALTs in Japan, told her she had already used up her seven days of annual paid leave — less than the 12 days she is entitled to under labor law — to cover the days she was sick.

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Interac in the News

This is an archived post from the old General Union Interac Branch website, written by an undeclared union member (thus the nickname rather than the name):

Hi all. Corrector here.

Many of you may have seen this before through the original link on Let’s Japan earlier this year, but I wanted to highlight the story here as well. This report aired on NHK on June 30th, 2007. The first part covers a bit of NOVA (old NOVA that is, not neo/G.Communications/NOVA), and then the second part covers the hardships of some awesome people working as teachers in Chiba under the strangling gauntlet of Interac…

If anyone wants to volunteer to write an English transcript for those who may need/want it, feel free to send it my way and I will post it. Otherwise, you will either have to wait until I have the time, or just visit the aforementioned Let’s Japan entry to get all the details.
Kudos to Shawn for running a great blog/forum.
These videos originally posted and donated to us by several members who are in the video (which should give us plenty of rebroadcasting rights).

We will be posting more surveys, information and entertaining diatribe shortly so stay tuned…
Solidarity.