The Vietnamese embassy in Japan has received an assistance request from 43 Vietnamese workers who claim they have been cheated and mistreated by their employer.
The request said the workers went to Japan after being recruited by a subsidiary of Tokyo-based trader Freesia House in Ho Chi Minh City.
They said the company offered them jobs as engineers in Tokyo for VND30 million (US$1,350) a month. The employer also promised to provide meals and accommodation, the workers said.
But after they arrived in Japan last September, the group was taken to Iwate in the north of Japan and have since been given manual jobs at Seinan Corporation, a recycling business, they said.
They said they had nearly $420 deducted from their pay every month for utility bills and accommodation, which is a 25-square-meter room without windows for every group of nine.
The workers said they also had to pay for meals, but were given mostly vegetables and rice. They were banned from eating meat, fish and eggs for unclear reasons, the workers said.
They said they have to work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in "toxic" environment without protections.
Their daily lunch with only vegetables and rice, as shown in photos posted by a worker on his Facebook
Tong Hai Nam, in charge of managing overseas workers at the labor ministry, said Vietnamese labor officials in Tokyo have met with representatives from Freesia House and found that they have failed to ensure the working and living conditions as promised in the contracts.
Nam said the officials will visit Seinan's factory in Iwate to clarify the workers’ claims.
He said the workers signed individual contracts with the Japanese company on their own and did not go through labor authorities.
But he guaranteed that the workers will receive support from the Vietnamese government.