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FOCUS September 2022 Volume 109

Mobilizing Labor


Uzbekistan is one of the major producers of cotton in the world. Through government-imposed forced labor, it maintained a high level of cotton production. While this practice was ended, the new system of labor deployment to the cotton fields indicates a possible return to such system in a different form. Possible questions: Why should a profitable cotton industry continue to exploit its workers? What hinders cotton production companies from giving their workers the right pay and proper working condition? Why force people to work in the cotton fields?

Japan, being an ageing society with low birth rate, serves the needs of the elderly population through an elderly care system. Japan sources workers from abroad to augment personnel for the service under this system due to low interest on the job among the Japanese. Employment of healthcare workers from abroad has become a necessity. An innovative government-supported recruitment system aimed at ensuring sustained supply of such workers from abroad is a good response to the situation.

Government support for mobilization of workers for economic activities, healthcare services or other purposes has to take the form of measures that guarantee the workers' rights within and outside the workplace, especially in relation to vulnerable migrant workers.