Apparel firms asked to check for rights violations

The Japanese government is asking the domestic apparel industry to check for human-rights violations among suppliers.

A report by the Industry Ministry notes that many companies in Japan use foreign interns in production stages, from spinning to sewing.

It points to legal violations. These include employers paying less than the minimum wage and illegally forcing the interns to put in overtime.

The report says the apparel companies are responsible for grasping the entire situation along their supply chains.

It asks them to set a new guideline in cooperation with the International Labour Organization to confirm whether the suppliers are involved in human-rights violations.

The Japan Textile Federation is planning to consider what details to put in the guideline.

The move comes amid worldwide criticism over allegations that cotton products from China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region are made by forced labor.