Photo/IllutrationMyint Swe, center, chairman of the Federation of Workers’ Union of the Burmese Citizen in Japan (FWUBC), delivers an address at a rally organized by Rengo (The Japanese Trade Union Confederation) in Tokyo’s Yoyogi district on April 27. (Suguru Takizawa)

  • Photo/Illustraion

A Burmese heading a labor union for expatriates called for better working conditions for foreign workers and support from Japanese colleagues, particularly with the new "specified skills" working visa taking effect, at a rally in Tokyo on April 27.

Myint Swe, chairman of the Federation of Workers’ Union of the Burmese Citizen in Japan (FWUBC), took the podium and introduced three Burmese technical intern trainees working in Gifu Prefecture as examples of those who had to endure human rights violations.

“Please give us your support as the number of foreign workers is expected to increase in the coming years,” Myint Swe, 58, said, referring to Japan’s relaxation of visa programs for non-Japanese individuals working in the country that started earlier this month.

“Japan will also benefit from an improved work environment for foreign workers as it is faced with a labor shortage."

The rally was organized by Rengo (The Japanese Trade Union Confederation) prior to May Day on May 1, in which unions around Japan mark the international day for workers.

An estimated 37,000 participants took part in the gathering, the 90th this year, which was held in the capital's Yoyogi district.

Established in 2002, the FWUBC has about 130 members. It offers consultation to Burmese residing in Japan for work-related problems, mainly technical intern trainees.

According to the FWUBC, it receives seven or eight complaints a month, including from workers being forced to work for three months without pay and working a month without a day off.

On April 26, two Cambodian women became the first technical trainees working in Japan to be granted the new working visa introduced in April.