Japan nabs 11 Chinese for allegedly working without visas

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese police have arrested 11 Chinese nationals in northern Japan for allegedly working at a construction site without passports or proper visas, and later discovered dozens of fellow workers fled.

Hokkaido police said Monday the 11 Chinese, aged from 27 to 62, were arrested Nov. 26 near a train station in Kikonai town on the southwestern coast of Japan's northern main island. Police said two were without passports, while nine others allegedly overstayed their visas.

Japanese media say the workers were mobilized at a solar power plant construction site by a company near Tokyo. Officials were looking for 46 other Chinese who disappeared from the construction site after the arrests.

As fast-aging Japan faces serious labor shortages, the foreign work force has increased, sometimes illegally or under harsh working conditions.