Thursday, February 17, 2005

Who's Pocketing this Money?

After over a decade of overlooking the "required fees" charged to Japanese Companies by the Philippine Embassy in Japan to permit new recruits to come work in Japan, Tokyo is upset by the economic and political repercussions. Entertainment companies were forced to pay an twenty-thousand dollar (not yen) "deposit" per recruit plus paperwork fees before Manila would issue the new recruit a "performing artist certificate", which in turn was required to obtain the entertainment visa to work in Japan.

These fees were unique to the Philippine Embassy in Japan, and were supposedly used to reimburse Philippine women who complained of non-payment by their employers in Japan. It is uncertain if any women ever claimed that their wages were unpaid during the past ten to fifteen years the fees have been in effect.

As an indirect result of these outrageous fees, many "entertainment workers" are being forced into the sex industry. In a bid to remove themselves from the United States human trafficking watchlist, Tokyo's Foreign Ministry is requesting that the fees be suspended, in hopes that the foreign workers will not be coerced by their employers in an attempt to recoup some of their investment.

Naturally, the Philippines is protesting this move; somebody has made a killing over this - $20,000 per recruit times 80,000 recruits in 2003 alone comes to $1.6 Billion Dollars per year. With this level of largesse going on, perhaps the Philippine Government ought to be put on the trafficking watchlist, if it's not already there.