Migrant Workers and Labor Protection in Japan

Noncitizens should be equally treated in labor law unless exceptional distinctions serve a legitimate State objective. For this
purpose Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare mandates
employers of foreign workers to report the status of employment and conduct inspection for occupational safety and health as necessary. Nevertheless, there remain many problems regarding labor protection in Japan. By analyzing judicial decisions relating to technical intern programs, I will show legal barriers for foreign laborers to get equal treatment.

Treatment of Foreign Factors by the Japanese Civil Procedure

This part deals with the procedural aspect of the treatment of disputes with foreign factors (especially parties with foreign nationality or foreign domicile) focusing on the example of Japanese Civil Procedure. The reporter would like fist to indicate that the first question regarding the treatment of disputes with foreign factors would be whether or not the Japanese Courts have international jurisdiction of the case and briefly explain how this first question is dealt with. The reporter then wants to move on to indicate how disputes over which the Japanese Courts have international jurisdiction are treated focusing on the difference from “domestic” cases. Especially service of process, effect of the judgement are of focus. From above examination the reporter would like to draw a conclusion as to the overall nature of the treatment of foreign factors by the Civil Procedure and its reason.

Should Foreigners Be Better Protected than Nationals?

It is often said that foreigners should be better protected than nationals at least as regards a taking of property effected in the context of a social reform on the ground that the former are more vulnerable to domestic legislation as they will generally have played no part in the election or designation of its authors nor have been consulted on its adoption (e.g. James v. UK, ECHR (1986); or Tecmed v. Mexico, ICSID (2004)). Although this may not apply to big corporate actors who have a wide variety of ways to somehow influence domestic politics of the host State, it may be true for most of the foreigners. Would it follow that foreigners, who are not granted the right to vote or to otherwise participate in the political life of the State where they live, should better enjoy human rights than nationals, except for political rights that are denied to them? Would that mean that the more democratic rights one enjoys, the less economic and social rights s/he does?

Rights of Noncitizens at the Dawn of Globalization: How the 19th Century Japan Changed the World

Our panels have demonstrated that the treatment of noncitizens is an acute issue in the day of globalization. It could be more so at the dawn of globalization. The very fact that the international exchange was limited necessitated a special device for exchange; there was a huge gap of “civilization” between the west and non-west while the latter were usually less prepared to host residents from the former. The device was consular jurisdiction embedded within the territories of the non-west, under which a westerner had a privilege to be judged by the consuls from his/her country. Consulates were the nexus of the west and non-west that stitched our planet. Japan was the forerunner to abolish the consular jurisdiction. This talk explores how Japan achieved it and created new political and legal landscape of the world, with another difficulty to treat noncitizens at the top.

The Case for Residence-Based Taxation

Most of the modern states impose income tax on their residents regardless of their nationality. This policy is not self-evident. When we regard income tax of a state as legitimate because the residents benefit from the valuable services the state offers them, it would be difficult to explain the fact that the noncitizen residents usually do not have the right to vote in the state. When we consider income tax of a state as a fee to take part in the political process of the state, it would be totally impossible to justify taxing the noncitizens. In this presentation, I will propose a hypothesis that the residence-based income taxation is justifiable only if a pair of states reciprocally admit the citizens of the other state to act freely in its own territory and accordingly tax them as if they are own citizens. In such a situation, a person’s voting rights in one state justify the person’s tax liability as a resident in the other state.