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New Policy on opas deffered until March Philstar com


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New Policy on OPAs deffered until March

Philstar.com

The Japanese government has deferred until March the enforcement of its new policy restricting the entry of overseas performing artists (OPAs) and has expressed willingness to talk on calls by the Philippines for a moratorium on the implementation of the strict immigration policy, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said yesterday.



http://www.philstar.com/philstar/News200501256304.htm

http://www.childtrafficking.org/cgi-bin/ct/main.sql?ID=1350&file=view_document.sql

New policy on OPAs deferred until March
The Japanese government has deferred until March the enforcement of its new policy restricting the entry of overseas performing artists (OPAs) and has expressed willingness to talk on calls by the Philippines for a moratorium on the implementation of the strict immigration policy, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said yesterday.

Lagman, chairman of the House special committee on overseas workers’ affairs, made the announcement after undertaking a four-day mission to Japan last week with Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Roseller Barinaga, chairman of the committee on labor and employment, to persuade the Japanese government to relax its new policy for the next five years.

"Contrary to reports, Japanese officials are still willing to talk with us," Lagman said. "Although they are decided to implement it by mid-March, but let us hope for the best."

He said a report from The Japan Times said the government officials decided on the postponement to take ample time to publicize the new restrictions throughout Japan’s entertainment industry and for preparations by the Justice Ministry’s immigration bureau.

The Japanese government now require Filipino OPAs to have a four-year diploma from an accredited school of arts and also a two-year working experience abroad.

The Japanese government formed the new policy after the US State Department downgraded its assessment of the former’s effort to fight human trafficking.

The new policy is expected to drive at least 80,000 OPAs to unemployment and reduce precious annual remittances to the country of almost a billion pesos. The strict policy is also expected to affect the OPAs’ dependents of 400,000 and other ancillary industries in the country, An Waray Rep. Florencio Noel said.

A Japanese Immigration Bureau official said the new restrictions should curb the illegal practice of women from other countries entering Japan on an entertainer visa to work as prostitutes.



Lagman, however, warned that even a more drastic policy such as the proposed two to three years moratorium on sending OPAs to Japan as reportedly announced by the Japanese Embassy would not solve Japan’s bid to get erased as one of the countries in the world facing human trafficking problem.

He said Japan’s problem on human trafficking will remain unabated for as long as domestic laws are not properly implemented.


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