It is a case of a sleazy Japanese boss victimizing nine Chinese girls by installing a video camera in the bathroom the women shared, so he allegedly could peep at them.
And the Ministry of Commerce is now demanding that officials in Northeast China's Liaoning Province immediately deal with the ugly incident. At the same time, the girls have demanded a public apology from their Japanese boss.
The Japanese employer purportedly told authorities he installed the camera for safety, to ensure none of the girls went missing.
On May 9, the nine girls, all from Xinmin, Liaoning Province, reported to Japanese police that they had discovered a video camera installed in the bathroom at the company where they worked in Tokushima, Japan, according to news reports.
They immediately stopped work and asked for compensation from the Japanese company.
During their discussions with their Japanese employer, the girls said they had never received assistance or help from the organization in China that sent them to Japan, news reports said.
Chinese law requires employers to do their utmost to protect the legal rights of the Chinese labourers. Domestic companies that send people abroad should conduct follow-up management, according to Chinese law. The labourers, the domestic enterprises and the overseas employers are supposed to sign contracts on these issues.
The channels and procedures for girls working abroad are legal, so are their job visas and identification as advanced students, said Ma, director of the Xinmin Foreign Affairs Office, in a recent interview.
According to Ma, whose office acted as the link between the girls and the Japanese employer, the girls were organized and sent to plant flowers by the Northeast Jincheng Construction Co Ltd, a registered company that contracted with overseas industrial and civil-use projects.
Another Ma, head of the international department of the company, told reporters that his company is qualified to send all kinds of overseas labourers except seaman.
"If the company has the qualifications to send labourers out to plant flowers," asked the father of Xiao Jie, one of the advanced students. "Why do they have no registration by the local industrial and commercial department for this business?"
"We would adopt an active attitude to deal with the issue through normal channels," said Ma. "If there are problems concerning the contracts between the girls and us, we will shoulder our responsibilities."
(China Daily June 1, 2004)