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Police suspect 4,000 Vietnamese hired in illegal employment scheme

Two people including a demolition company managing director were arrested and its president was referred to prosecutors on Feb. 10 on suspicion of employing illegal workers in a scheme police believe involved thousands of Vietnamese.

    The unnamed 69-year-old president of Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture-based company Satoshi Kogyo and its 67-year-old managing director Tadashi Kobayashi specifically stand accused of employing six illegal residents from Vietnam to work on demolition projects in Tokyo and Gunma Prefecture between February 2016 and January this year. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) also sent papers to prosecutors on Feb. 10 accusing the firm itself of the same offence. The six workers, aged in their 20s through 30s, were overstaying their visas.

    MPD organized crime division investigators suspect the company employed some 4,000 illegal workers from Vietnam on projects across seven Kanto region prefectures in 2016 alone, earning Satoshi Kogyo upwards of 50 million yen in profits.

    "Vietnamese work hard for low wages, so they were indispensable," the Satoshi Kogyo president was quoted as telling police.

    According to the MPD, Satoshi Kogyo began hiring Vietnamese workers around 2014, and listed them under Japanese names in company records to avoid detection.

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