From: Peter Rivard
Date: Sun Jan 5, 2003 10:55:06 PM Japan
To: newsletter
Subject: The Japanese

Hi, all,
       Two items in the local news caught my eye today. Some guy who just nursed a crop of cherries in some hothouse trees announced a good harvest; he expects to sell them for $8 each (per cherry), amounting to about $250 for each 10 ounce package. The second is just too sad to summarize, so I'll cut out a passage and stick it in below. The piece is about discrimination against foreigners in Japan (a topic I've had very little experience with, but then again I'm the favored sort of foreigner--blond hair, blue eyes, from the first world).

From Japan Today (English version), Jan. 5:

       Chinese women, who work at a clothing factory in Takefu, Fukui Prefecture, were paid 10,000 yen [US$80] in cash and tens of thousands yen [a couple hundred bucks] in legally forbidden compulsory savings per month, according to Hayazaki.
       "This is a typical case of human rights abuse," Hayazaki said. ...
       The female Chinese workers are housed in a corner of the factory, marked off only by curtains and equipped with no air-conditioning and heating, which male employees were at liberty to enter, according to Hayazaki.

      Peter again. Others have told me the total pay for the Chinese amounts to US$300-400 a month, that an amount for room and board is taken out of that, and that they are generally discouraged from leaving the factory. Note that this is for a 72-84 hour work week. The factory is about a mile and a half from where I live.



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