Migrant Domestic and Care Workers in Japan: Workers' Rights and Contradictions Migrant Domestic and Care Workers in Japan: Workers' Rights and Contradictions

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Aya SADAMATSU, Keisen University, Japan
This paper aims to contribute to the examination of the rights of transnational migrant domestic and care workers in Japan. Dozens of female migrants began to work as housekeepers in the Japanese National Strategic Special Zones of Kanagawa prefecture, and the cities of Osaka and Tokyo in 2017 for the purpose of furthering the state's promotion of Japanese women’s labor force participation. The female migrants' labor contracts are not direct employment, instead, housekeeping service companies hire them under the same conditions as those of Japanese workers. More than two thousand care workers and migrant nursing care staff from South-East Asia work in Japan to compensate for the shortage of caregivers in the ultra-aging society. Most of these migrants are women. Although it is inevitable that Japanese society has to depend on female migrant domestic and care workers, their contracts are limited to short-term because of the government’s immigration policy. These migrant workers enable Japanese families’ and social reproduction to continue. However, they work in relatively harsh conditions in order to support their families economically and sometimes to repay pre-existing debt. Nonetheless, they have some opportunities to decide on their destination and to exercise their subjectivity. This study will analyze the motivation of migrant women’s decisions to take on domestic and care work in Japan and also to clarify three contradictions of ‘the equality of people who support each other’ in the process of acquiring their autonomy.