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Support group for Vietnamese residents in Japan established

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A support group for Vietnamese residents in Japan has been established in Tokyo, aiming to help them land lawful jobs and ease their difficulties in living amid a growing number of crimes by Vietnamese in Japan.

The Vietnam Mutual Aid Association in Japan recently said it will provide compatriots with support in the Vietnamese language to help them with work and health related problems and visa-related matters among other issues.

Some of their problems would not have happened if accurate information and appropriate advice was available to them, Mika Yamamoto, a 30-year-old executive director of the group, said in a statement.

Yamamoto, whose Vietnamese mother settled in Japan with official refugee status, has lived in Japan since 2005 and worked as an interpreter under her Vietnamese name Nguyen Thi Huong for immigration authorities, police, lawyers, prosecutors and judges.

The association, registered in May with the support of a dozen Japanese including a doctor and a film producer, offers various services ranging from call center operations and job matching to Japanese language courses.

The number of Vietnamese residents in Japan has surged to 262,405 in 2017 since visa requirements were relaxed in 2014, making it the third largest group after Chinese at 730,890 and South Koreans at 450,663 last year.

Chinese people in Japan largely consist of permanent dwellers and students while most South Koreans are permanent residents including those with special status given during the postwar era.

But nearly half of the Vietnamese in Japan are technical intern trainees and it has become the country's biggest working force among foreigners, helping eliminate a labor shortage in such sectors as agriculture and fishery, food, apparel manufacturing and construction, according to the Justice Ministry.

The deregulation of visa requirements, however, has also caused an increase in the number of illegal immigrants from Vietnam, the association said.

The number of crimes committed by those from Vietnam accounted for 30 percent, or 5,140 cases, of the total by foreigners in 2017, surpassing those from China to the top of the list for the first time since comparable statistics became available in 1989, according to National Police Agency data. (NNA/Kyodo)

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