Japanese agricultural competitiveness and migration
Keywords:Horticulture, technical intern trainees, minimum wage, farm enlargement, co-op as supervising organization
This paper reviews the importance of foreign trainees to farmers whowant to expand their production oflabour-intensivecommodities.Local Japanese youth generally shun farm worker jobs, and Japan is generally closed to low-skilled migrants, but permits farmers, manufacturers andother employers to train and employ young foreigners for up to three years. In Ibaragi Prefecture north of Tokyo, the agricultural cooperatives that provide inputs to farmers and market their vegetables and other produce helped their farmer-members introduce foreign trainees, whoallowed farmers to expand their production andincreased cooperative sales. Trainees must be paid the Japanese minimum wage for most of the 36 months they are in Japan with the additional costs for train-related system, but they are still cheaper than full-time Japanese farm workers. Main data are coming from the statistics like Japanese Agricultural Census and interviews with coops, farmers and trainees.
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