SUPPLY CHAINS MIGRANT WORKERS GUIDELINES  

Guidelines on Improvement of 
Working Environment for 
Migrant Workers in Supply Chains

 Business & Human Rights Lawyers NetworkLawyers Network for Foreign Workers, and Lawyers' Network for Foreign Technical Interns have published "Guidelines on Improvement of Working Environment for Migrant Workers in Supply Chains (Supply Chains Migrant Workers Guidelines)".

 Non-skilled migrant workers, such as technical intern trainees are placed in vulnerable situations in Japan. They are suffering from serious damages through the COVID-19 crisis. The U.S. State Department Human Trafficking Report downgraded Japan to Tier 2, in the 2020 edition, due to the lack of enforcement of Technical Intern Training Act.

 Under this circumstance, the failure to improve working environment of migrant workers could lead to serious results, which are migrant workers’ human rights violations. It may also pose business risks that impede the development of the Japanese industry as a whole.

 The improvement of migrant workers working environment in supply chains, is in line with corporate human rights responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and in line with the principle of "leave no one behind," to work towards the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, in particular, Goal 8: Promoting Decent Work and Goal 12: Sustainable Production and Consumption).

 The draft Guidelines were formulated through collective action through cross-cutting dialogues and collaboration between attorneys supporting companies and attorneys supporting migrant workers. We are also grateful for the comments and advice of many Japanese companies, investors, trade unions, civil society organizations, international organizations, and researchers during the process of drafting the Guidelines. The Guidelines is accredited as "Tokyo 2020 Support Program (Sustainability)"  by the The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

​ We expect many business enterprises and other stakeholders including migrant workers to use and implement the Supply Chains Migrant Workers Guidelines.

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Supply Chains Migrant Workers Guidelines

​Structure

 Supply Chains Migrant Workers Guidelines are comprised of the following three documents.

I. Code of Conduct

presents five beneficial actions in addressing human rights issues, including improving the working environments of migrant workers in supply chains.

II. Model Sourcing Code

provides sourcing standards that companies may ask their suppliers to comply with in order to improve migrant workers’ working environment.

III. Practical Guidelines for Dialogue and Cooperation

present five practical guidelines for constructive dialogue and cooperation between experts, including business associations, industry associations and lawyers, and experts, including NGOs, trade unions and lawyers supporting migrant workers, and migrant workers themselves.

I. Code of Conduct

 The Code of Conduct presents five actions beneficial for companies in addressing human rights issues, including improving migrant workers working environments in supply chains as part of human rights due diligence, in order to fulfill enterprise’s responsibilities for respecting human rights based on the Guiding Principle.

1. Formulation of policies and standards

Companies shall formulate its codes of conduct and sourcing policies or standards for supply chains, in accordance with international labour standards, national laws and regulations. They shall establish items related to improving the working environment of migrant workers and request suppliers to comply with such policies and standards.

2. Confirmation and investigation

Companies shall confirm whether migrant workers are employed or not in their business and their supply chains. In the event that a supplier is accepting migrant workers, the company shall establish the system to intensively investigate legal compliance and human rights situation, and investigations shall be conducted under such system.

3. Development and utilization of grievance and problem-solving mechanisms

Companies shall establish a grievance and problem-solving focal point to receive grievances and issues raised by migrant workers and its supporters in supply chains, as well as develop and utilize mechanisms such as grievance and problem-solving centers outside companies.

4. Dialogue and cooperation with migrant workers, NGOs, labour unions, etc.

Companies shall strive to identify risks of human rights violations through dialogues and cooperation with migrant workers, NGOs, trade unions, lawyers, etc. supporting migrant workers. In the event that a supplier is found to have any problems, the company shall urge suppliers to correct them.

5. Cooperation with suppliers

Companies shall strive to provide suppliers with information and support for capacity building regarding respect for migrant workers' human rights, as well as to engage in dialogues with them aimed at achieving appropriate business terms and conditions, including sharing the costs of addressing human rights issues, including improving migrant workers working environment.

II. Model Sourcing Code

 Based on labor practices and issues in Japan, the Guidelines has developed a model sourcing code that will be used by Japanese companies as reference materials, with a view to encouraging suppliers to improve their working environments for Migrant Workers. 

 Article 1 Compliance with ILO Core Labor Standards

 Article 2 Employment Contract, etc.

 Article 3 Use of Agents

 Article 4 Restrictions on Recruitment Fees and Other Related Costs

 Article 5 Prohibition of Security Deposit, Penalty Clause and Compulsory Savings

 Article 6 Prohibition of Storage of Identification Cards, etc.

 Article 7 Wages and Working Hours

 Article 8 Occupational Safety and Health

 Article 9 Travel and Return Expenses

 Article 10 Grievance Mechanism

III. Practical Guidelines for Dialogue and Cooperation

 The following five practical guidelines for constructive dialogue and cooperation are provided for enterprises and experts, including business associations, industry associations and lawyers supporting enterprises (hereinafter referred to as "companies, etc."), as well as migrant workers and experts, including NGOs, trade unions and lawyers supporting migrant workers and (hereinafter referred to as "migrant workers, etc.") with a view to improving migrant workers working environments and addressing human rights issues in supply chains of the enterprise.

​1

Share understanding that dialogue and cooperation lead to mutual benefits.

Focus on resolving the issue of respect for migrant workers’ human rights.

​3

Coordinate with each other to conduct fact-finding surveys and approaches in supply chains.

Use independent experts as mediators as appropriate.

Explore solutions in cooperation with other companies, organizations, and related institutions.

How to Use

 The Guidelines are intended to provide practical guidance based on current good practices in Japan and abroad. Japanese companies are expected to refer to these Guidelines as standards for improving their own responses and evaluating and reviewing the effectiveness of their existing responses, and to promote efforts to address human rights issues such as improving migrant workers working environments in supply chains. It is also expected that companies use this in dialogue with stakeholders, such as workers, investors, business partners, and civil societies.
 As defined above, the Guidelines cover migrant workers in Japan, but the basic concept can also be applied to supply chains outside Japan.

​Process

 The draft Guidelines were formulated through collective action through cross-cutting dialogues and collaboration between attorneys supporting companies and attorneys supporting migrant workers. We are also grateful for the comments and advice of many Japanese companies, investors, trade unions, civil society organizations, international organizations, and researchers during the process of drafting the Guidelines.
 We have published the first edition of the Guidelines incorporating comments made by a wider range of stakeholders in Japan and overseas. We intend to carry out activities to disseminate and improve the Guidelines in cooperation with relevant stakeholders.

​News

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October 8, 2020

​Presented at Labor Law Seminar

​Attorney Ibusuki presented the Supply Chains Migrant Workers Guidelines in the seminar "Improvement of Working Environment for Migrant Workers in Supply Chains and Guidance for Business"  hosted by Roudo Kaihatsu Kenkyukai.

 

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September 4,2020 

Featured on the Roudou Shimbun(Labor Newspaper)

Roudou Shimbun (Labor Newspaper) featured the Supply Chains Migrant Workers Guidelines. 

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August 22, 2020

Presented on the TBS Radio

The Supply Chains Migrant Worker Guidelines was presented by Attorney Ibusuki on TBS Radio Program Session-22. 

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August 21, 2020

Featured on Asahi Shimbun Newspaper

Asahi Shimbun Newspaper featured the Supply Chains Migrant Workers Guidelines.

 

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August 21, 2020

Featured on Bengoshi.com

Bengoshi.com News featured the Supply Chains Migrant Workers Guidelines.

 

記者会見

August 21, 2020
Press Conference on the Launch of the Guidelines

We hosted a press conference on the launch of the Supply Chains Migrant Workers Guidelines at the Press Club of Labour and Welfares (9th floor of Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare) at 13:00-14:00 JST on Friday, August 21, 2020.

 

​Contact 

Business and Human Rights Lawyers Network Japan Secretariat
(Attorney Emi Omura / Attorney Daisuke Takahashi)

 URL: www.bhrlawyers.org
 C/O Research Center for Sustainable Peace (RCSP), the University of Tokyo
 3-8-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 153-8902, JAPAN 
 TEL: +81-3-5465-8842

 

Lawyers Network for Foreign Workers 
Lawyers’ Network for Foreign Technical Interns
(Attorney Shoichi Ibusuki / Attorney Chika Miyagi)

 URL: www.grb2012.wordpress.com / www.kenbenren.www.k-chuolaw.com
 Email: grb.jimu@gmail.com
 

Email: bhrlawyers.japan@gmail.com

Address: C/O Research Center for Sustainable Peace (RCSP), the University of Tokyo

3-8-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 153-8902, JAPAN

〒153-8902 東京都目黒区駒場3-8-1 東京大学 9号館304B 持続的平和研究センター気付

Tel: (+81)-3-5465-8842