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Okinawan workers battle over mainland hiring practices

Date Posted: 2008-09-12

When Naojiro Tome say an advertisement for a job paying 300,000 a month working at a Toyota car factory in mainland Japan, he quickly gave up his low paying Okinawa job and made the move.

Once in Nagoya and working at the car factory, Tome found out hed been deceived. The job didnt match the ad, which said we will pay you 300,000 and the bonus will be more than 300,000. What the Okinawan got was a bit more than 120,000, leaving Tome angry and disillusioned, charging Its so wrong.

The 30-year-old Okinawan has taken the company to court, charging misrepresentation and preying upon Okinawans who are eager for high paying jobs. Tome had moved his wife and child to the mainland with him, and she began working in the same factory. When their child became ill, she took four days off work to care for the youngster, and the Toyota factory fired her.

Mainland Japanese temporary staffing agencies say 1,200 an hour is very good for an Okinawan and its easy to get people from Okinawa if we say that pay is up to 300,000. They admit that the wage is low, by mainland standards, and a level mainland people dont want to work for. Tome says this kind of problem is happening more and more. Its because of the differences between the mainland and Okinawans who are attracted to high salaries of the mainland.

While hes fighting for his money in court, contending the advertisements were misleading and wrong, he says Okinawa must change too. We have to reduce the differences in payroll between mainland Japan and Okinawa.

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