The Mainichi Shimbun reported that, on February 10th, in relation to the mediation by Endo’s office between the Ministry of Education and Interac (in an attempt to (re)interpret the law in the dispatch company’s favor), Imai Masaro – Secretary-General of Ishin at the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives – brought up the fact that the Ministry of Education had, on numerous occasions, issued directives to local governments across the country about the illegality of using gyōmu itaku contracts.
When Secretary-General Imai asked Mr Endo about this issue in relation to his office acting as mediator between Interac and the Ministry of Education, Mr Endo replied that he was “not aware of fake contracting at all”.
“Fake contracting”, or “gisō ukeoi”, is a term used to describe the act of using gyōmu itaku service sub-contracts in place of the (legal) haken rōdōsha dispatch contracts.
This act is often said to be “haken rōdōsha disguised as gyōmu itaku” in order to give a dispatch company a fraudulent excuse to avoid enrolling employees into the shakai hoken (employee health and pension) system.
This permits a company to make more profit at the expense of their employee’s health and future, while enabling companies and Boards of Education alike to use a haken rōdōsha system that to facilitate the need for Japanese and foreign teachers to actually communicate with each other.
While “fake contracting” may seem advantageous to a Board of Education and a dispatch company on paper, the reality is that, aside from being illegal, such acts erode working conditions for both the foreign teacher and the school that they work at, and makes life difficult for everyone involved.
When “fake contracting” is used, everyone loses – except the dispatching company.
In March of 2010, the Aichi Labor Bureau gave guidance in regards to the subcontract between Interac and the Tokai City Board of Education.
It stated that “team teaching” between an ALT and a teacher – an essential part of a school working environment – was not permitted by the contract, and that the Board of Education should endeavour to correct this violation of the Worker Dispatch Law.
This issue was also examined at the Central Labor Relations Commission and, in January of 2013, in agreement with the Aichi Labor Bureau’s findings, the Commission ruled that “business beyond the scope of outsourcing has been carried out.”
Prior to this, in August of 2009, within the directive issued to all local governments across the country, the Ministry of Education (MEXT) declared that team-teaching under the guidance of a Japanese teacher cannot be conducted under the conditions set forth by such (gyōmu itaku) contracts.
However, after Mr Endo’s office conducted mediations between Interac and the Ministry of Education, the law was reinterpreted by all parties to make the claim that “conversation demonstrations” that involve a Japanese teacher and an ALT were now no longer “immediately illegal” – even though a Japanese and foreign teacher would need to “team teach” to know what their roles were, which page would be used, when the demonstration would begin, and so forth.
After Secretary-General Imai picked apart these contradictions and logical errors, pointing out that “agencies in the second half of 2013” had begin to change their attitude towards the circumstances under which fake subcontracting is illegal only AFTER Mr Endo’s office had mediated the meetings between Interac and the Ministry of Education, Mr Endo continued to claim ignorance.
“I don’t know the details. I don’t know anything about the [Ministry of Education’s] directives or about fake subcontracting.”
In regards to the mediations, it was revealed that staff from the Ministry of Education met with a secretary from Mr Endo’s office at the beginning of December in 2013, and again at the beginning of April in 2014.
A total of six meetings relating to those mediations took place between December of 2013 and May of 2014.
Also Mr Endo’s secretary was directly involved four of those six meetings, Mr Endo maintains that he has “never been involved in the talks between [Interac] and the Ministry of Education.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education explained that any budget that the government sets aside for “trainers, dispatched instructors, etc” may only be used to subsidize people who are “in the direct employment of local governments”, and added that “dispatch companies and independent contractors” are exempt from that budget.
In reply to this, Secretary-General Imai pointed out that the use of outsourcing (gyōmu itaku) is seen even in cases of direct employment (of an ALT by a Board of Education).
For an example of how this works (and the money involved), although Osaka city directly employs ALTs, it has subcontracted the employment process via Interac, paying about 60 million yen in FY2013, and about 42 million yen in FY2015.
Disclaimer: this is an in-house translation of an article which ran on The Mainichi website on February 10th, 2016. The original article can be found here: http://mainichi.jp/articles/20160211/k00/00m/040/096000c.
While faithful to the original (Japanese) article, certain additions and edits to the translation have been made for clarity, and the English version of the article is not endorsed by, nor associated with, THE MAINICHI NEWSPAPERS group.