The seven-member delegation to Japan returned home on April 28 from an 11-day visit that was made to study and address issues faced by Bhutanese youth place under the Learn and Earn programme.

Labour minister Ugyen Dorji led the delegation. Lyonpo met with Japanese officials and Bhutanese youth in various cities of Japan but said the information on the issues is still being collected.

Lyonpo said the people would be shared about the issues facing the youth in Japan later.

A press release from the ministry states, that an advance team comprising two officials from the ministry and one from BDBL is also in Japan visiting Japanese language institutes to collect information on issues pertaining to Learn and Earn programme and also to implement the deferment of OESD (overseas employment skills development) loan scheme for those who opted to avail the facility.

The advance team will be arriving soon from Japan and the findings of the visit will be shared after compilation of both the findings, it stated.

During the visit, the Bhutanese delegation met with Bhutanese youth and visited few Japanese language schools in Fukuoka, Tokyo, Sendi, and Osaka. Members of the delegation held interaction on issues pertaining to the programme, including the rationale behind the government deferring the OESD loan.

The delegation had meetings with Japan’s Minister for Justice, Takashi Yamashita, state minister for Health, Welfare, and Labour, Emiko Takagai and Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Norikazu Suzuki among others.

The delegation discussed issues in connection to the Learn and Earn programme and sought support of the government of Japan on these issues and explored opportunities under Technical Intern Training Program and Specified Skilled Workers visa for Bhutanese youth in Japan.

The delegation also held discussions with Honorary Consuls of Bhutan in Kagoshima, Tokyo and Osaka on all these issues and sought their support and assistance.

The delegation had travelled to Japan after facing criticisms for inaction on “learn and earn” programme that has affected hundreds of youth.

The delegation comprised of labour secretary Sonam Wangchuk, Opposition MP Ugyen Dorji from Dewathang-Gomdar, and MP Dorjee Wangmo of Sombaykha.

The Bhutan Employment Overseas (BEO) in collaboration with the labour ministry had sent more than 700 Bhutanese to Japan.

MB Subba