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The Bottom of the Barrel

Time to blow the cobwebs off this blog and talk about James McCrostie's article in the Japan Times two weeks ago on the General Union's scrap with Gaba.

The General Union says it has established a Gaba Branch and is accusing Gaba of lying when it stated in a financial report that there was no union and that labor relations were good. By all accounts in the article, this should be a slam dunk for the union, until you read this part:

Chiba ALT Conracts Deemed to be Illegal

Whoever wrote The ALT Scam on the Fukuoka General Union blog is probably feeling vindicated right now. The Mainichi Daily News reports:

Public schools here [Kashiwa, Chiba] have been unable to start their native speaker-taught English classes this school year after the city's board of education was accused of violating labor laws with foreign language teachers.

Guideline 8 to be Deleted

Good news if you're worried about the possibility of your visa renewal being denied due to your lack of national health insurance coverage:

The Immigration Bureau is planning to change a new guideline for foreign residents to ease concerns that those without social insurance will be forced to choose between losing their visa and entering the insurance system, a bureau official said Monday.

[...]

A Closer Look at Free Choice

I'm late talking about this, but it's worth noting given Hoofin's recent comments on freechoice.jp and health insurance in Japan. After I was asked to take down a letter from a private insurance provider that I posted here, Hoofin went out and did some digging, and came up with a lot of interesting stuff.

Letter from an Insurance Company Regarding Guideline 8

An LJ reader sent me this letter from his insurance company regarding the new immigration guideline which appears to confirm that the stance on the guideline has been softened. As the letter points out, not being enrolled in a public health plan is insufficient grounds for declining a visa renewal application. It looks like a lot of instructors can breathe a sigh of relief.

Changes to Immigration Guideline to be put on Hold

As you are aware, immigration guidelines are set to be changed next April so that you will have to show proof of enrollment in shakai hoken or kokumin kenko hoken when you apply to renew your visa. This is a huge issue for eikaiwa instructors as most are not enrolled in either health plan and are faced with the possibility of having to make hefty back payments upon enrollment.

Rumour: GEOS Late in Paying Salaries

Novawhiz noticed an update to the GEOS Wikipedia page that was quickly removed:

Japan: 

A Terrible Triangle

The latest development in the dirty undertaking of dispatch teaching:

A labor union of foreign workers requested Monday that the Aichi prefectural board of education address the concerns of English-language instructors at public schools who they say are working under illegal contracts.

The Coming Spring Shock

The Japan Times ran a couple of articles last week on the coming changes in health insurance for foreigners in Japan.

As you are probably already aware, starting next April, you will have to show proof of enrollment in shakai hoken (SH) or kokumin kenko hoken (KKH) when you apply to renew your visa. Jenny Uechi reminds us of the law:

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