Firms look abroad for domestic workers

Japan news November 2017

At long last, ordinary Japanese households will be able to rely on foreign domestic workers to lend a helping hand. As reported in the Nikkei Marketing Journal dated 1 November, in August the cleaning service firm Duskin Co., Ltd. began hiring staff from the Philippines to perform jobs in Tokyo, Osaka and other cities. Rates charged are the same as for the firm’s Japanese workers.

A 38-year-old Osaka woman voiced praise for the service, telling the newspaper, “They take their work very seriously”.
In their spare time, Filipinas study Japanese by reading manga or watching TV dramas.

“They are fast learners, but before coming to Japan we also invested a lot of time in preparation”, Duskin executive Kazuo Okai was quoted as saying. “The plans are for them to be in Japan for effectively two and a half years, so to make the effort profitable we will have to fill up their daily assignments”.

Demand for such services means that firms are aggressively working to procure new workers. According to a survey by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, from August the ratio of workers to positions for “household living support services” (those who go to homes, as opposed to building janitor services) was calculated at 4.16 jobs available for every applicant, compared with a national average for all positions of 1.35 jobs per applicant.

Two service firms that responded to the survey said they are already employing workers from the Philippines. One other firm said it has plans to begin bringing in foreigners “within the next one or two years”, and five more firms say they are “thinking along similar lines”.