business

Japan whistleblower goes to highest court

24 Comments
By Yuri Kageyama

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24 Comments
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best of luck to him. just think if there were whistleblowers at nuclear plants.......

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This is another dark side of being a salary drone, even if yr wronged, you fight(takes years and $$$$) and you win! You get a pitiful amount totally out of line.

So even if you win, you end of losing, takes a strong person to go with those kinda odds & 99.999999% dont.

Good luck Hamada-san!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Haha, sillygirl. You read my mind before I got to this textfield. Yes, TEPCO needs a whistleblower but unfortunately I don't think it's going to happen. Those guys are in overdrive. Every employee is being watched closely. If you want to catch TEPCO in the act you have to follow the paper trail all the way to the shredding machines.

Seriously. They'll give out some money but the damage control protocol is in effect. A whole nation touched by radiation. They will stop at nothing to avoid the mass payout that should be their Chapter 11 and the death of TEPCO's top admins.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Is there any difference between a whistleblower and a whistle blower?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Now THIS is the guy I would like to see lined up as the next prime minister!

GO HARADA san! Switch to politics and then you really can screw Olympus into the ground.

Meanwhile - dunno about you guys but I am never going to buy an Olympus product again based on what I have just read, and I bet if this story gets out internationally Olympus will lose sales there too. Maybe then Olympus will start doing the right thing.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It's a shame we don't hear about more people like Hamada, but then, so much of what goes on here is a shame -- a third world nation in terms of human rights practices, and first rate in terms of abuses.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"a nation that has long advocated corporate loyalty and subjected outspoken employees to bizarre punishments such as assigning them closet-sized offices."

In other words Japan firmly rejects the ideals of human rights and freedom. First it was the emperor/shogun who demanded that loyalts; looks like they just transferred that brainwashing to some company. Look what loyalty has got them? WWII. Now, corporate loyalty is getting them 20% child poverty, massive radiation contamination (can't speak against the gov't or the companies killing them, with few ostracised examples) and more to come.

Loyalty to tyrants (corporations are top down dictatorial entities with more rights than humans) is a rejection of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Let's all wear dog tags round our necks like this one,

"My slave ....(insert your name here)" "I have no self respect and am happy to serve my masters. THe African slaves were smart enough to resist even though they were denied education. I happily kiss your feet"

"Property of .....(company name)."

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan has such a bizarre working culture. I remember working somewhere and noticing that coworkers suddenly stopped talking to me, so I thought 'ok I must have done something wrong but I have absolutely no idea what it was'

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Alas, I fear Mr Hamada will be stitched up the Supreme Court, the same court that regularly issues judgements that flout the constitution.

I also wonder why Mr Hamada was upset or concerned that Olympus were poaching staff from other companies. That isn't illegal and workers are free to move from one company to another if they are offered more money or better working conditions.

That said, I'm glad that Mr Hamada has exposed workplace bullying: all too often the companies that do it do not get named and shamed in the media.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If there is any real justice in Japan Mr Hamada will win his case, hopefully opening the floodgates for others to come forward

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I wish him luck, but without much confidence in the final outcome. In any event, I hope that he believes in moral victories as there is no way that any monetary compensation will make up for the legal fees, lost wages, and other strictly monetary expenses. And Olympus would rather choke on its own blood than make him a salesman again. No wonder that so few come forward.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

YEA!!! finally someone who goes against that "shoganai" attitude that many japanese have. Hopefully his company didnt have any Yakuza ties

2 ( +2 / -0 )

i hope he wins, but i think his chances are slim, he has upset the harmony!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Bullying is everywhere in this place, I just cant believe why so many go along with this crap, makes everyone miserable(which I have concluded is what THEY LIKE), life in work, home etc cud be so much better but most have just given up on the good stuff, sad all round

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Being a whistleblower in Japan is not being very Japanese which is deeply ingrained in the culture, I believe. Of course it would be good in some ways but going against the grain at companies may be more of a western way of thinking rather than the Japanese style. It's sort of like biting the hand that feeds you here. As for myself, I would take a great chunk out of that hand if it were doing harm but I'm not Japanese.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@sillygirl - there have been a number of whistleblowers at TEPCO and other utilities, from Itoh who exposed the incorrect manufacture and his own falsification of QC data of one of the reactor vessels resulting in a non-cylindrical shape, he was rewarded with a 3M Yen bonus at that time; to the WB who exposed the "editing" of the sodium fire at Monju. Kei Sugaoka, a Japanese-American, who worked for GE in Japan is probably the most famous, fired for reporting structural damage to reactors and then being told to cover up the damage.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What he'd whistleblown probably had much to do with the hardline that Olympus has taken. He'd accused Olympus of poaching the most promising employees of suppliers; many Japanese top-line corporations work in this way. Which company one works for is often more important than one's position in that company; a kacho at Olympus, for example, might outrank a bucho at a mere supplier. Suppliers are at the complete mercy of their large customers, and they are in no position to protest when their customer poaches their most promising employees.

For companies such as Olympus, the benefit of poaching is clear: their quarry have proven themselves to be probably in the top five percent of their field. The ability of major companies to find and hire these people would be difficult if approached through the standard hiring method. Most major manufacturers employ the same tactic and have no intention of changing it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Note to self, do not buy any olympus products anymore.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sorry but I don't see what's wrong with Hamada's passing on a supplier's complaint. I think that it is healthy action on his part, specially if it is true and verifyable. Again he knows his corporate culture. Had he anticipated such counter action, then; he should have never brought it up with his boss. Anyways; Ganbatte Hamada San.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

His case tells sweat, tears and dust of Japanese Samurai Worriers (salarymen) of Japan. I bet there are many more untold sad stories like Mr. Hamada.

Japan needs to do many overhauls in labor law and practices. In addition to that, someone needs to actually ENFORCE THE LABOR LAW.. With current problem of Japanese labor law is nobody are enforcing the law. Therefore, Japanese salarymen have been abused for years .These salarymen have given up their life, family, pride and dignity for these corporations and often times, they are not well compensated for their sacrifices they made.

This is absolutely necessary for Japan to take if Japan wants to move up to a world standard of labor practices in global economy. Otherwise, Japan stays the same level as well as China. You understand how Chinese workers have been abused.

If the corporations start treating employees with pride and dignity, then employees will be motivated to produce more and restore hope, dream and future within the corporations. It is a win-win situation.

To pursue legal action, whistleblowers must also stay with the company as the law only applies to employees."

This is absurd.

First, Japan needs to abolish this nonsense. ,

Laws make it difficult for employees to obtain evidence on the reasons for transfers, demotions and pay cuts crucial to prove their case,

Second, business needs to establish annual written evaluation systems within the organization, so that employer and both employee establish documents within the scope of labor practice. That's a legal document.

Advice to employees, if you do not agree with the evaluation, DO NOT SIGN on the evaluation paper. If you do, it will hunt you all the way to the end.

Good luck to Mr. Hamada, if he wins, this is a victory for all salarymen of Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Stop buying Olympus and switch to another company that has exactly the same corporate sadism? Nothing will change.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The level of abuse from supervisors in this country is off the charts. The pressure people feel and then the guilt associated with doing anything against the grain is unlike anything I've ever experienced working corporate. The silence and drone mentality makes the life-time job more like a life sentence. Shocking how much power some mid-level manager can have over you - even they are privy to your medical records. Not only salary-men have this problem, but teachers with strong union ties usually are shunned and sent to far-off countryside schools for years away from their families.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

May the law hold up for Mr. Hamada and all others like him.

As for the corporate culture of Japan Inc., this one-trick pony's trick doesn't work anymore.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

1)Salarymen are not slaves.

I am just curious to learn if Japanese salarymen actually receive job descriptions when they are hired, promoted, demoted, or reassined to new jobs. I hope the organizations are doing that for all employees in writing. Salarymen are not obligated to produce anything more other than job descriptions unless they want to do.

2)Producing legal documents in case of unfair labor practices.

In addition to the above, I would like to know if all employees are actually producing a semi annual/ annual review (evaluation) in writing.

3)No discrimination against sex, age, race, marital status, disability

The organizations are not supposed to ask any requests on the resumes and employment ads regarding age, sex, resume photo, race, nationality, marital status, medical history or a reason why potential employee candidates left previous employers unless they are willing to disclose them.

4)Right to Know

All public places within the organization need to display a clear labor law rules and regulations for everyone to see including minimum wage, overtime pay and workmens comp, etc..

These listed above are all related to a labor law. Hope what I have said above are all practiced already at Japanese work places.

I Care

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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