The death of a Bhutanese youth who went to Japan under earn-and-learn programme received various views and discussions on social, mainstream and broadcast media lately.

During the first meet-the-press session on December 21, the labour minster said that the recent development of perception among the parties involved in the overseas programme to Japan was not healthy.

“I feel that we need to know the truth. Because of this incident, there is a higher risk of people concluding that the deaths, illnesses, and related misfortunes are caused because of overseas programmes,” said Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji.

He added that there was no balanced opinion in the views presented by the parties involved. “I feel that the truth lies in the middle.”

There are today more than 700 Bhutanese in Japan sent through Bhutan Employment Overseas (BEO), of which more than 30 have returned home.

The minister said that the ministry had been in the process of changing the perception of the overseas programme.

“There is no capacity at the domestic level to absorb unemployment issues. We have to explore overseas employment and when doing so, inconveniences arise. A small incident occurred should not generalize the whole overseas programme because this would impact the programme with the potential to be good,” said Ugyen Dorji.

The ministry is currently reviewing the programme.

“The problem is controversial and also needs immediate intervention. There is a huge problem with it. The public would be keen to know about what the ministry is doing to curb the problem. And we are working,” labour minister said.

“If need be very alarming, we will call them back. We also discussed that it would be better to solve the problem at an early stage,” said the Lyonchhen Dr Lotey Tshering.

Japanese media have reported the challenges for Japan while working to open wider opportunities to foreign workers.

According to the Japanese media reports, the Japanese government plans to exclude brokers from the employment process, which is essential to ensure that the workers will not be exploited.

A Bhutanese graduate who is in Japan under the same programme told Kuensel that it was a challenging decision to join the vocational school for two years and to continue working on student visa because getting working visa is tough.

“It would be better if the government talked with the Japanese government and helped the Bhutanese with working visa,” he said.

A committee formed by the parents of those Bhutanese who left for Japan under the earn and learn programme will meet the Lyonchhen today to discuss the earn and learn programme and the problems faced by the Bhutanese youth in Japan.

Parents say that Bhutanese in Japan are overworked and are not paid well and allege that agents are profited tremendously at the cost of these innocent students.