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Corporate 'blacklist' circulating among new graduates

37 Comments

These are hard times for new graduates in search of jobs, commonly described as the "employment ice age." The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare reported that as of December 2009, only 73% of college seniors had received offers from companies, the worst ever recorded. While these students cannot afford the luxury of being choosy, there exists a list of so-called "black" corporations that are being shunned by the job seekers.

Certified social insurance labor consultant Yukiko Takita defines the blacklisted companies as those that are known to overburden employees. “An example would be to assign an excessive quota and demand employees to make up for it out of their own pocket if not fulfilled, sexual harassment and violence on a regular basis. These are companies that abuse and exploit its staff.”

Students are seen in fast food joints exchanging information on such blacklisted companies, which are evaluated by deviation scores. Munakata Sumito, author of “Burakku Kigyo no Yami" (The Dark Side of Black Corporations), comments, “The list is based on information obtained by students from current employees of the respective companies and is often found on job-search related websites. Many students, whether from prestigious institutions like Tokyo University, Waseda, Keio or local private colleges check the information posted.”

Universities seem to make their own blacklist based on information available, which is then distributed so that additional data can be incorporated into the updated version.

Corporations at the very top of the blacklist are not even given a score but simply referred to as "Hall of Famers" due to its reputation, including the temp staff agency A, which caused social problems and real estate company B that is involved in the sale of condominiums. The izakaya chain store C and a well known IT company D are scored at 75 (one rank below the Hall of Famers), followed by water filter manufacturer E and the entire industry involving futures trading.

Sumito warns students on his website to never consider joining the temp staff agency, as employees will be expected to work 24 hours a day. The prominent IT company he describes as militaristic – employees are forced to climb Mt Fuji on a whim, physical abuse is common, and if one refuses to show up at work, other staff will visit the home and literally drag the person to the office. The water filter manufacturer asks its new recruits during the training period to create a list of customers to meet the sales quota of 1,500,000 yen, implying that they will have to ask families and friends to buy the company’s products.

An apparel company staff posted on the website that half of the income is lost on the purchase of clothes as employees are expected to wear the brand’s newest design at work. A sexual harassment case describes how a male employee walked into the shower knowing that a female employee, unable to go home, was using the company facility.

Takita is a little skeptical about the truth of all such incidents reported, but says it cannot be denied either that there are labor issues at a number of companies included in the blacklist. The "black" corporations, on the other hand, stated they were not aware of such lists or simply indicated that they were not interested.

So, what’s your company’s evaluation?

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

37 Comments
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So, give names.

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Name names or nothing will ever change at these places.

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I guess when you raise kids to expect a job to be waiting for them, all sorts of meagerly avenues arise.

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A sexual harassment case describes how a male employee walked into the shower knowing that a female employee, unable to go home, was using the company facility.

All of these reasons are illegal! These companies shouldn't even exist anymore!

Is this article subtly suggesting that labor laws are so ineffectual, that schools and students have to create a blacklist to protect each other?

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Let's have some names then. If the stories are true there is no reason to hide the names.

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the hole point of a "blacklist circulating among graduates" is that's a list based more on gossip than verified facts. but probably most of them are true, to some extent

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I'm not sure if it's any of the 'famers', but Uniqlo requires its employees to buy and wear the latest collection clothes. I just hope I don't get sued for writing that.

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My missus was working at a well known Japanese hotel chain and unpaid overtime was considered the norm. Workers were pressured to work much lon ger hours without pay. Saying that though, she and a CHinese old chap both left at exactly the time they should which annoyed other staff but management didn`t say anything.

I think there is a problem both ith employees andemployers in Japan. Seems like workers will carry on working until they are told they can leave and companies turn a blind eye as it benefits them.

Any bullying physically, mentally or sexually though is inexcusable and should be punished by the law.

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You should have a good understanding about the labor laws in Japan. They have sites in English that spell out everything for you in plain words that everyone can understand. Do a google search for Japan Labor Laws and you will find them.

First you should realize that unpaid over time is illegal. If you work more than 8 hrs. they have to pay you 25% more. If you have signed a contract saying that you will work 12 hr shifts, that is an illegal contract. They still have to pay you for those hours that you worked over the inital 8 hrs.

If you are being mistreated or over worked file a compliant with your Labor office. They are located Hello Works or in your local city office. Once you file a complaint the labor board HAS to investigate. I have had to do this before because of a Japanese company making me work on 12hr shifts. It took 3 months but I won, and they had to pay me a huge settlement.

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Helly: Am I correct in guessing you no longer work there??

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Could it be that the kids are fighting back in their own way...? Amazing. I have hope yet for the Japanese, they are beginning to show some backbone and pushback over the abusive work culture that some companies foster and encourage.

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Anybody that does even 1 minute of overtime unpaid is an absolute moron. We only go to work to get cash, so make sure you damn well receive it! Japanese workers who work for nothing are beyond belief. Stand up for yourself.

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I wish the DPJ got more involved in this; Japan might be a place for life instead of just work. Too many people exist only for the company. Not much different from Soviet life whereby the people existed for the government, and no matter how hard these Japanese work, they ain't going to see any wage increase. That disappeared a long time ago. Now, add to the blacklist, companies that are going nowhere (so graduates do not end up being homeless after the company is bankrupt, companies that are conservative in nature, so that women and the young and innovative ones just have to wait and wait to move on up (had one of my engineering students, a woman, in this position, and companies that end up transferring their employees all over the place, so that they have no need to go home to their families because their families are way too far away to go home to. I ended up teaching one engineer in Toto, a toilet company, that was in this situation and then was being sent even further away to Atlanta. These companies are just living hells as far as I am concerned.

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This does not exist only Japan, but in the US too on a lesser degree. In the US there are laws protecting the employee and often are applied when rights of employees are infringed upon or at least threatened. However, that does not mean upper management cannot apply mental force. This happened to me while working for a US based international consulting firm. Such as being implicitly told my project costs would impact my bonus if I did not try to come under budget by at least 20%. This sometimes meant having 24 hours at home once a week or flying all over North America just to save $300 on a Sunday when I could have flown directly. Having worked for a Japanese futures and options brokerage firm in Tokyo, I am aware of the tactics used on sales teams and they are somewhat brutal. One of my memories was marching into Meiji Shrine at 6:50AM on the first business day of the month. This was required of all sales staff and males from other departments. Luckily my Taiwanese colleague protested so I stopped going after several months. I cannot wait to buy this book.

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So this has existed for decades, and the law turns a blind eye and doesn't even prosecute. Nice country. Readers are left with the impression that that the Labour Laws in Japan are for show only and include shouganai and no reasonable person would ever work there.

why not start their own companies? Any youth entrepreneurial movement?

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Shaolin7

not much of a backbone if they won't produce names. Although it seems the kids know among themselves. If the names were noted here this would force the companies to comment directly. That's what news organizations are supposed to do and they are protecting who here? It looks like the companies or themselves, not even their own children. Ugh.

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I think they'll need more than 26 letters to "name" all of the troubled and troubling companies in this fair nation.

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The Revenge Of The Employees: isn't there a blacklist that employers have been using for decades in Japan, based on Japanese surnames? And that if one's surname is on that list no company will hire him/her?

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but Uniqlo requires its employees to buy and wear the latest collection clothes

That is normal in retail. You are supposed to be selling clothes to customers - if what you are wearing is not in the store or can't be ordered, you don't wear it.

I don't feel sorry for uni grads that don'T have jobs when they graduate. The system is a mess and needs to die. Student miss out on their last two years of studying to go to interviews and whatnot. Makes univeristy useless. The whole system of everyone being looked after is old and out dated. Japan isn'T what it was 40 years ago. The faster folks understand that, the less we'll have to read of these articles.

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Good for them. They should avoid these companies like the plague, so that these companies will rot. I had one problem where my company wouldn't give me my last payment after I quit, but I threatened to contact the Labor office and they paid the next day.

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Where's the byline in this story??? And... What are some of the companies on this list??? Instead of printing rumors why isn't there investigative reporting in Japan??? What the media needs to realize is that they have to stop protecting companies. If they investigate correctly they can publish the names of the companies in question and then real change may occur. The media is suppose to be working for the citizens, not the companies.

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But Uniqlo is cheap! Plus most sales staff will get a 20 to 30 percent discount on clothes and 60 to 80 per cent on old season's collection.

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This time I have to defend JT. They can't put names in the article, because they'd immediately be lumbered with libel suits.

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This time I have to defend JT. They can't put names in the article, because they'd immediately be lumbered with libel suits.

Not really, if they reported the names that were put on the list, and reported the contents of the list as news, then there should be no problem. Otherwise, they could never report the names of criminals as well. It is simply news. The reason they don't do this is that they just don't have those names or can not be bothered to list them.

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Good for Japanese workers.

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"Instead of printing rumors why isn't there investigative reporting in Japan???"

The media, like much of the world is owned by the very people they should be critical of. The US is not really any better overall. The interests of big companies still override true reporting. As long as corporations control the media, it can no longer function on behalf of the people beyond the short leash their owners allow.

If you want free and critical media, it must be independent of undue influences.

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google this term ブラック企業就職偏差値ランキング and you will find the list

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This time I have to defend JT. They can't put names in the article, because they'd immediately be lumbered with libel suits.

actually, this article is in the "shukan post" section of the site--which means, it's an article that originally appeared in japanese in Shukan Post, and JT is simply translating it. so JT has no control over whatever content is or isn't included

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It's a good sign if the younger generation is refusing to work for companies that treat their employees like crap. Maybe there is hope yet...

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While I understand the benefits of this kind of "black list," I also worry about the effect of this united boycott. I have no sympathy for companies that treat their employees like inhuman, mechanical cogs in a wheel that are expected to do as they're told without argument. I think such institutions should be forced to reform through the pressure of market forces; namely, if word gets around that a company is particularly awful to its employees, the buying public avoids that brand. I also support sanctions and oversight by the Labor bureau of organizations that receive a significant number of employee-related complaints, INCLUDING complaints from foreign laborers who come to Japan from China and other countries and get treated like little more than slaves before being shipped back home.

My worry, however, involves those employees who DO work at these companies. The way I see it, if this list is easily accessible and used frequently by job seekers, then the majority of people who will apply for work in these companies are:

A) Desperate people who will force themselves to endure any mistreatment without complaint so long as they have a paycheck and can pay their bills and support their family; and

B) Jerks and talentless hacks who really don't care about working conditions and quickly rise through the ranks to middle management, where they can wield their creepy kind of perverse power over all the poor sods still slogging away in the trenches.

Boycotting employment at these businesses isn't going to solve the problem; it may even make it worse, at least in the short term. These companies have already proven that they care very little for their workers, so what do they care if a bunch of new graduates choose NOT to apply to their company? That just means that the people who ARE applying are less likely to be the ones that are going to complain about poor treatment and Draconian punishment.

For real workplace reform to take place, there needs to be a unified front comprised of labor and consumer advocates pushing for improved work environments. If employees feel that they are vital, appreciated members of the company, they will be more invested in the work they do and will strive to create a quality output, because they know that the company's reputation is in part a reflection of their work on an individual level. If, on the other hand, employees are treated like machines, punished for not being perfect every second of the day and given little in the way of positive reinforcement, they not only won't care about the reputation of their company, but they may actively try to sabotage that reputation. That doesn't mean they'll start spreading rumors about satanic rituals in the boardroom, or deliberately breaking parts on the assembly line, but maybe they'll choose not to fasten a bolt as tight as it should be; or maybe they'll be a little too brusque with a customer on the phone; or maybe they'll take a long lunch one too many times. There are lots of little ways for employees to make their displeasure felt, and the cumulative effect of all those minor malices can have a powerful impact on the business in question. Think of it as civil disobedience for the private sector.

A healthy work environment leads to healthier, happier workers, which in turn leads to improved quality in the products or services provided. This is not rocket science, yet it's a trap that many companies fall into by subscribing to the school of thought that "every minute spent not working is another penny/yen/euro down the drain." That's not true, and this black list is just one example of the effects of that corporate mentality.

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PS - Good GOD, I talk too much.

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This blacklist should be made public so the consumers can boycott the organizations. Hitting them in the bank account is the best way to change their practices.

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sfinyoko, It is public as kornholio said 5 posts ago. The media can't release it without investigating all of the (rather subjective) grievances about the companies. NOVA (for Japanese employees) has been on it for years, if anyone cares...

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So is Rakuten.

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I bet the black list is like a thousand something pages long.

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I wouldn't actually mind joining one of those companies just for the hell of it, break all the rules and then just sue them for everything they got, hopefully driving employers to suicide in the process... would be quite a laugh.

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According to Wall Street Journal, a lot of HR departments and job recruiters keep unofficial blacklists, sometimes called "do not hire" databases that record the names of people considered to be potentially unwanted employees. These dark spots could be very difficult to remove from a job history. Hiring blacklists and how to get off them.

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