US honours Japanese human rights lawyer who protects foreign workers


Japanese lawyer Shoichi Ibusuki is honoured as one of the Trafficking in Persons Report Heroes by the US State Department, for standing up against human rights abuse in his country and relentlessly advocating for the rights of foreign workers who experienced exploitation.

Mr. Ibusuki provides legal representation to many foreign workers, helps elevate their issues and insists that the government strengthen its efforts to protect foreign workers.

The report praised Mr. Ibusuki, a member of the Daini Tokyo Bar Association, who has sought justice on behalf of countless foreign workers by assisting those who are taking legal action against former employees for labour law violations.

The annual US State Department report on human trafficking in each country selects and commends people who have made contributions to halting exploitation.

The 2021 report issued July 01 said that “Ibusuki’s advocacy, along with his unwavering and admirable dedication to helping foreign nationals enduring labour exploitation and protecting their human rights, have brought these issues to the forefront and raised their profile within Japan and around the world.”

Nearly every year, the report calls on Japan to improve its treatment of foreigners on its Technical Intern Training Program. This year, too, it highlighted malicious use of the system by foreign and domestic businesses, saying that they “continued to abuse the government-operated Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) to exploit foreign workers.”

On July 02, Mr. Ibusuki commented on the honour to a group of reporters, saying, “This is absolutely not an award for me individually; I feel I’ve received this as a representative of all the people fighting against human rights violations involving technical intern trainees and for the abolition of this system. I am thankful for this honour.”

He then emphasized, “I want the Japanese government to squarely face the fact that the system has become a hotbed for human trafficking, fully acknowledge this shame, and work for the soonest possible end to this system.” (Source: Mainichi Japan)