Radio Facts: Officials in Hamamatsu, an industrial town in central Japan, describe the plan to encourage Latin American guest workers, who are descendants of Japanese emigrants, to return home
Rita Yamaoka, a mother of three who immigrated from Brazil, recently lost her factory job here. Now, Japan has made her an offer she might not be able to refuse. The government will pay thousand s of dollars to fly Mrs. Yamaoka; her husband , who is a Brazilian citizen of Japanese descent; and their family back to Brazil. But in exchange, Mrs. Yamaoka and her husband must agree never to seek to work in Japan again.
Å“I feel immense stress. Iâ„¢ve been crying very often, Mrs. Yamaoka, 38, said after a meeting where local officials detailed the offer in this industrial town in central Japan. Å“I tell my husband that we should take the money and go back, she said, her eyes teary. Å“We canâ„¢t afford to stay here much longer. Japanâ„¢s offer, extended to hundreds of thousand s of blue-collar Latin American immigrants, is part of a new drive to encourage them to leave this recession-racked country. So far, at least 100 workers and their families have agreed to leave, Japanese officials said. But critics denounce the program as shortsighted, inhumane and a threat to what little progress Japan has made in opening its economy to foreign workers.