The 2023 Vietnam-Japan Human Resource Development Exchange Forum: Optimizing human resource exchange— Meeting international recruitment standards

This forum was held on April 5, 2023 (Wed.) at an international meeting hall in Hanoi to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Vietnam, and was attended by around 220 people, including online participants. The event was organized by JICA and co-sponsored by the Vietnam Association of Manpower Supply (VAMAS), ILO in Viet Nam, and the Japan International Friendship Association (JIFA). Over 20 media outlets from Japan and Vietnam were also present at the event. There was significant interest in Vietnam, as the event was covered by TV media and approximately 35 published articles.

(Photo: JP-MIRAI Secretariat)
After opening remarks by the sponsor, JICA, there were greetings from the director of ILO in Viet Nam and a guest from the Embassy of Japan in Vietnam. These were followed by reports on legal developments in both Vietnam and Japan, initiatives toward optimization, and Zero-fee cases presented by Deputy Director General Pham of the Department of Overseas Labor (DOLAB) in the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, VAMAS Chairman Diep, and JIFA President Ikeda respectively.
In the second half of the forum, a panel discussion was held with a moderation by Mr. Shishido, Special Advisor to the president of JICA, featuring DOLAB Deputy Director General Mr. Pham, Hai Phong MTV Chairman Mr. Tuyen, ILO Senior Specialist Mr. Nilim Baruah, Mr. Okamoto from Teijin Frontier, JIFA Chairman Mr. Ise, and CEO Mr. Sakai from PMC as panelists. At first, the dialogue started with a proposal for the “Vietnam-Japan Fair and Ethical Recruitment Initiative” (provisional name, VJ-FERI) as an idea for cooperation between relevant parties in both countries to improve the circumstances Vietnamese technical intern trainees are placed in and resolve the issue of fees charged prior to the departure.
Each panelist offered various views through comments such as the following. “The participation of many more Japanese companies is essential to solve issues. In addition to the fee issue, steps must be taken from the Japanese side to improve the treatment of workers and the working environment in Japan.” “Improvements in the recruitment process should not be set aside. Japan has ratified ILO Convention No. 181 and it should be clarified that employers have a legal obligation to pay fees necessary for trainees prior to coming to Japan.” “Even if sending organizations promote the Zero-fee initiative, it won’t be accomplished if brokers charge a fee. It’s an issue that can only be realized through the cooperation among various players, including the government.” “Recruitment costs should be paid by employers. We have reasoned with companies concerned and have asserted that zero-fee is a major issue necessary for the continuation of their business (explanation of the initiative).” General comments from the panelists indicated the initiative is welcome, and confirmed the need to move toward fee elimination through the collaboration of various stakeholders involved with Vietnamese migrant workers in Japan and Vietnam.

(Photo: JP-MIRAI Secretariat)
JP-MIRAI established a Zero-fee subcommittee in November 2022 to further discuss on initiatives to resolve the fee issue, which was a main topic of this forum. Specifically, we continue to welcome participation from companies and organizations that are addressing the Zero-fee initiative or plan to in the future. Please contact the Secretariat ( if you are interested in participating.

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