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Canadian man goes to court alleging paternity harassment

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By Yuri Kageyama

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My company is a very traditional large Japanese company and I would say they are very open to women taking time off to have a baby and returning a year later. I see it all the time. Never have seen a man try it and would foresee that would be a BIG problem in the office if it happened.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Grow up, Japan. Men have as much right as women to raise their children. I'm a single male parent of a female child, from the time she was five years old. Believe me when I say, she's smarter than a lot of Japanese politicians..and we've both been in the country multiple times. Thank God she has a much more open mind.

32 ( +33 / -1 )

Kind of ironic that it is a white man that did this. And just like in Europe/America, goes to the news for 'support'.

I'm not saying what he did was wrong, but, I don't know what he was expecting, having lived in Japan for 30 years he should be aware that this could go both ways, earn support, but also, make it harder for him to find a job in the future out of fear he'd be a "burden".

I commend him for his effort thought, and while Japanese men (yes, men. I assure you us Japanese women't don't want to be groped men whom are more female than us, nor do we like to be told "don't get pregnant"), while Japanese men are the main root of Japan's issues, they can just continue go about their ways, but their international image will just continue to tarnish itself.

Japan wants respect, it wants to be included and it want's to evolve and remain a force to be reckoned with in Asia.

But unless they get their head out of their asses, they will remain no more than an embarrassment in the 21st century and they will eventually, with time, dwindle into obscurity being surpassed economically and potentially, even militarily by Korea, Indonesia, and others.

Shame really. To think Japanese are so smart yet so short sighted.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What vile harassment meted out by (not surprisingly) Mitsubishi Morgan Stanley.

Two infamous names with their own fair share of murky dealings....

29 ( +30 / -1 )

Is harassment the correct word here?

-15 ( +5 / -20 )

Because the bottom line is the bottom line they could give a flying flip about your family cuz it's costing them money

19 ( +19 / -0 )

I took a paid day off once.

You'd have thought I was trying to corrupt the entire company given the reaction from my boss and manager! Ultimately I quit the job and went back to working for myself. I found it was easier to call in sick at the company, saying I had a fever and be told to stay away until it had gone, than asking for time off.

Japan Inc needs to take a seriously good look at itself and get in touch with modern times!

32 ( +32 / -0 )

There are no criminal penalties for companies that don't comply with maternity or paternity leave standards. 

Ah, the Japanese way. Let corporations exploit their workers any which way possible. The labor ministry should be backing up its laws, rather than having the courts deal it, where the disputes drag on, get messy and waste everyone's time and money.

24 ( +25 / -1 )

Ultimately.... had they been supportive to begin with, there would have been zero bad blood between him and the company. At this point he should just sue and leave the company thereafter.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

Generally few Japanese are willing to fight unfair treatment in court out of fear of being considered a troublemaker in this harmony-loving nation,

"harmony -loving nation"?? With all the power harassment and total control over one's personal life, how can anyone actually believe that?

27 ( +28 / -1 )

According to the visa office I'm required to perform "Husbandly" duties what ever the hell that is? This man was doing his "Husbandly" duties and got fired or pressured to leave. What the hell is wrong with Japan?

22 ( +23 / -1 )

Best of luck to him but I fear his case will not be successful. Foreigner in Japan, taking action against a *Japanese company, in Japan.

No way.

But good luck to him.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

When my son was born, I was working in a Japanese company. They let me take two days of 有給 (ゆうきゅう - vacation days). Nothing else.

Although they did also give me some money now that I think of it. I think like 80,000 yen. It was some sort of 手当 (てあて - allowance). I appreciated the money, but I would also have appreciated spending the first week or two of my son's life with him.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

"harmony -loving nation"?? 

After years of being here, one usually realizes there is a line between the "harmony loving nation" and "exploit the harmony loving aspect".

Having said that, this AP story didn't pass the smell test. Too many gaps. There are many different non-AP stories with additional information that puts things into better perspective.

For example,

30 years in Japan and still doesn't get permanent residency.

"Partner" is not Japanese (never married), the child looks Slavic actually, which makes him a single parent in Japan. Why the baby? The mother seems out of the picture 100%. Is he going to be able to still work 14 hour days?

For men to take paternity leave, a form must be completed at a ward office by the birth mother. However, she's in Napal, so the DNA test was requested because neither parent is Japanese or have permanent residency.

Not defending the company, just seems too one sided/hit piece.

-10 ( +8 / -18 )

Japan: technologically advanced, socially regressive. They're adapt at advancing the technological innovations developed by other countries and making them their own, but they resist mimicking the social advances that accompany technological change.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Japan's parental leave system is relatively generous by international standards — at least, on paper.

exactly. JUST on paper.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has championed such policies, saying they're needed to prevent the country's shrinking population from freefalling by better balancing work and family life.

He's full of hot air.

But practice often diverges from principle in Japan Inc,

And therein lies the problem. The paper is what Japan shows to the outside world to get browny points for being a progressive country. The truth is much darker...

When my son was born, I was working in a Japanese company. They let me take two days of 有給 (ゆうきゅう - vacation days). Nothing else.

Exactly same here. My daughter is going to be born in 2-3 weeks..

Although they did also give me some money now that I think of it. I think like 80,000 yen.

Not sure how much mine is...

It was some sort of 手当 (てあて - allowance). I appreciated the money, but I would also have appreciated spending the first week or two of my son's life with him.

Agree 100%

When my son was born 2 1/2 years ago, I was working for a different company that didn't give me ANY days off..

9 ( +11 / -2 )

You can put all the policies in place but the ones who implement matter. I hope this guy make a grand success story against general everyday nincompoopery. And that it sets a fine fine example.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

It would seem that Japanese companies are a retarded bunch as far as industrial relations are concerned. But I suspect change is likely to be slow, if it occurs at all, unless men are encouraged to challenge this attitude in larger numbers. So get off your backsides, new fathers, challenge the Old Order, and demand your rights!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Kind of ironic that it is a white man that did this.

Hmm, I wonder if the guy in question considered that maybe he should not do it, because being white, it would be kind of ironic. And if he did consider it, I wonder why he would do it, even knowing that being white, it would be kind of ironic. And in particular, I wonder why he would do it knowing that after the fact, he would have to look back and wonder, 'being white, should I have done that?', which would be a particularly tough question on one's self if it actually did turn out to be kind of ironic.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

My daughter is going to be born in 2-3 weeks..

Congrats!

11 ( +11 / -0 )

CrickyToday  08:13 am JST

What the hell is wrong with Japan?

Old men in charge who had to endure all kinds of crap to get to the top and see no reason why young people nowadays shouldn't get the same kind of treatment, most likely.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

If this guy wins, he should catch a flight to the US and immediately buy a Mega Millions Jackpot lottery ticket. That being said, either way this verdict goes, his only two options will be to self-employ or move out of Japan. No Japanese company will want to touch him.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I feel for this guy. Being in Japan 30 years I think he would know that men just “don’t do” this kind of thing regardless of what the book at the labor office says. But much respect to him for having his priorities straight anyway.

plus Japan doesn’t do any variations well. The article says “partner” and “Nepal” not “wife” and “Japan”.

Had kind of one good shot at this when a male Japanese politician made a huge drama out of his right to take parental leave. Then got caught at his mistress’s house like a week later. Then it was done, just like Premium Friday.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Based upon his statement alone I get the feeling that there is a hell of a lot more to this story. If he has been here for 30 years, it should be rather safe to assume that he knows how things work here.

He stated that he left without their ok and he still had a job when he returned? Then he sued because he was given a different job?

There is quite a bit of missing information here.

> Wood sued the brokerage in February in Tokyo District Court, seeking his original job back and back pay, including bonuses, which he was denied after October 2017. He was officially dismissed earlier this year.

Why was he dismissed? What reasons did they give him? Why should he get bonuses for the period he was absent? Most Japanese companies base bonuses upon attendance, and if he wasn't there does he deserve or did he earn one? (The back pay I agree with, as it should fall under the paternity leave, but if it wasn't ok'd and he deserted the company???? I dont know)

I am glad to hear his child is better, and the situation could probably have been handled better, but there is more to this story.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

where his partner was working and had given birth.

Here is where I THINK the company is going to give him hell about, was he married officially? So the child not being "official" they are holding him responsible?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I have been on both sides of the equation and felt really disgusted when my paid vacations were dictated to me by my old employer. They said that they only have five a year then quickly changed their tune when labour standards got involved. Bastards.

Now I am the boss in my own company and I respect my employees right to take time off as they are human like me. It's not hard at all to achieve. They actually work harder when you treat them right.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Paper laws are infamous in Japan, especially when it comes to labor laws. The employers are not happy if they don't feel total control (ownership) of their employees and in the case where an employee takes advantage of the 'laws' the company management will do their very best to harass and intimidate the employee to the point where they will either quit or change their plans in favor of the company.

Good for this guy suing this company, but you be sure his contract will not be renewed at his next evaluation. You can also be sure they will cite some BS like company cutbacks as a reason for not renewing his contract.

"The nail that stands up must be hammered down!" TIJ!

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Good for this guy suing this company, but you be sure his contract will not be renewed at his next evaluation. You can also be sure they will cite some BS like company cutbacks as a reason for not renewing his contract.

Didn't read the article, did you.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

From the point of view of Jp’s declining population, maternity/paternity leave standards should be strictly enforced.

As as others have said above, the lines of communication between the father and MUFJ appear to have disintegrated and the result is a bad publicity and a lawsuit. It does not seem as if Mr. Wood was looking for trouble or that living in Japan would have made him “known better”; he was just worried about the health of his son.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

My daughter is going to be born in 2-3 weeks..

Congrats!

Thanks brother!

You're the first JT poster to congratulate me. means ALOT to me. Thanks again!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I am sympathetic with the idea that he was dismissed / fired unjustly.

That said, a few points to make.

First, he is a foreigner. Sorry, but that does not help his cause, particularly given the underlying challenges with a man going after a company in Japan in relation to paternity leave and unfair dismissal.

Second, he worked for a brokerage company. We are not talking about someone who worked in the depths of a manufacturing company. We are talking about a foreigner working for an international brokerage firm. Foreigners get fired all of the time from brokerage firms in Japan. Just a fact of life.

Third, while the article says that he has lived in Japan for 30 years, what it didn't say was how long he had worked at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley. Which is not 30 years. Actually, when this occurred, he had only been there 3~4 years. Just noting that fact.

Fourth, the article also makes no mention of whether he was a regular employee (seishain) or a contract employee (keiyaku shain). However, given that he was a foreigner who had joined mid-career at a brokerage, it is hard to imagine him being a seishain. And this matters in Japan when dealing with the labor law. Sorry, that is just the reality.

Fifth, as others have noted, there is no mention that he was actually married to his partner at the time of his son's birth. And, indeed, the fact that the company asked that he take a DNA test suggests that it is possible that he wasn't. Which matters when it comes to labor law in Japan. Benefits for employees in relation to family are very different depending on marital status. Rightly or wrongly, that is the reality.

So, just noting the challenges confronting him in relation to this lawsuit.

Sympathetic, but realistic.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

My daughter is going to be born in 2-3 weeks..

You're a good bloke Aly. Always civil to me. Best of luck mate.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

On the face of it, and I doubt we have all the facts, it seems pretty poor Japan Inc.

They should be encouraging paternity leave to encourage Japanese men to have kids

This doesn't help.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I'm a big supporter of generous parental leave laws but we have to draw the line somewhere. The policy goal behind these laws is to encourage an increase in the national birthrate by making it less of a financial and logistical burden to start a family here in Japan. Considering the amount that Japanese companies and taxpayers spend on maintaining this system, I think there's a legitimate case to be made for restricting parental leave for non-citizens who sire non-resident babies with non-resident mothers entirely outside of Japan. I fail to see how Japan stand to benefit from financing this. Yes, the mother and child might eventually join their partner in Japan,... but judging from the photo it looks like that may not have happened in this case.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I can't see any clear compliance or a law to say who is right/wrong in this column. I want to know what is his attorney statements on that alleging court. One example the world isn't the about working system is that in Europe you can get holidays of one month and every company has to follow. But not in USA, Japan and many other countries. It means that EU standard isn't a world one, yet. So, for a Canadian in Japan sue a court case should be clearly showing what is fairness to other co-workers mutually understand to take advantage of Japan's parental leave system, which does not differentiate between men and women when it comes to childbirth and child-care leave, to all workers share this period of time to one of them be off duty. However, "Japan's parental leave system is relatively generous by international standards — at least, on paper." means more steps ahead to find clear compliance or a law. It's difficult to this Canadian father win this court, but it will show a good example what Japan Inc. has to do to find fairness.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Aly

congrats to you and your wife on your forth coming birth of your daughter and we will miss you while you take a period of maternity leave from JT comments. Feel the love now bros?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

For older men in Japan, their responsibility toward their children covers making them, financing them and berating them. All the rest is the mother's responsibility. It is changing, slowly, but we (non-Japanese and more liberal minded Japanese) will need to realise "We're not in Kansas anymore" even though Toto is in Japan. Good luck to this guy. He may 'win' but he will never get 'satisfaction'.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

since he worked for UFJ Morgan which I had experience dealing with both of them before they merged, I can tell you that the people running global banks are worst kind of scumbags in the business world, regardless of where, what culture they are from.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Look, you old fools running the country/companies either want people to have more babies or you don't. We can't have babies if you are making it impossible to do so.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Japan isn't perfect in this regard, but before you criticize, read up on how the US handles maternity leave, let alone paternity leave.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Don't understand why anyone would think a company would be ok with having a full time staff member (regardless of industry, title, etc) taking off 3-6-9-12 months and happily come prancing thru the doors to take their seat at their desk and it's business as usual.

If the company can get by for that amount of time without you, seems they never really needed you to begin with.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Don't understand why anyone would think a company would be ok with having a full time staff member (regardless of industry, title, etc) taking off 3-6-9-12 months and happily come prancing thru the doors to take their seat at their desk and it's business as usual.

Maybe because we are human beings who reproduce, and need 3-6-9-12 months off to ensure the proper propagation of our species.

Once we start cloning and/or creating a birthing process that does not require a human mother, we can get off that. Until then...

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I have experienced the same attitude in the US. I once worked for a small company in the States many years ago. We had been working long hours for several days, and the owner invited us to his house for a BBQ/drinking party to show his gratitude. I opted to spend that time with my family, since I literally hadn't seen them in a few days. The following Monday, my supervisor stormed up to me and chewed my @ss in front of everyone and said something I'll never forget..."I don't give a sh@t about her (my wife) and I don't give a sh@t about him (my son)." All because I wouldn't kiss the owner's @ss.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

When my son was born, I was working in a Japanese company. They let me take two days of 有給 (ゆうきゅう - vacation days). Nothing else.

Although they did also give me some money now that I think of it. I think like 80,000 yen. It was some sort of 手当 (てあて - allowance). I appreciated the money, but I would also have appreciated spending the first week or two of my son's life with him.

Wow, you are lucky. I only got one measly day and 20000 yen.

How much days are men allowed to get according to the law in Japan, because im thinking of asking for more.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

You're a good bloke Aly. Always civil to me. Best of luck mate.

Thanks brother! right back at you

congrats to you and your wife on your forth coming birth of your daughter and we will miss you while you take a period of maternity leave from JT comments. Feel the love now bros?

Now wouldn't it be great if Zichi's comment echoed all Japanese companies' sentiments?? wouldn't we all just love to hear that from our bosses? Thanks Zichi. Its just a shame that more Japanese bosses are not as supportive as you.

Actually mate its paternity leave. I'm not the one giving birth. But thank you for your support. I will be taking time off from posting once she is born, but I will let everyone when she is born.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

My daughter is going to be born in 2-3 weeks..

You're a good bloke Aly. Always civil to me. Best of luck mate.

I,ll second that...

Aly, we all know you are a good guy and no doubt will be a great dad to both of your little ones. Hope it all goes well brother :).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Aly, we all know you are a good guy and no doubt will be a great dad to both of your little ones. Hope it all goes well brother :).

Brother- I don't know what to say.. Thank you! Thank you so very much!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I do hope he wins.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Congratulations Aly. Exciting times.

As for the story, its a bit convoluted and hard to work out the exact chronology. It says "the law guarantees" in several places, and if that is true, he must have a case.

The biggest problem in Japan is not that labor laws don't exist, it is that they are routinely ignored. So good luck to anyone tried to get them enforced.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Japan isn't perfect in this regard, but before you criticize, read up on how the US handles maternity leave, let alone paternity leave.

At the national level in the US, employees are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid Family Medial Leave pursuant to the 1993 FML Act, which includes bonding with a new child.

In the state of California, 6 weeks of that are paid at 70% of your regular salary. FYI, in labor-friendly states like California, workers' rights such as overtime pay, paid time off, and workplace safety, are generally respected, promoted, and enforced, as opposed to lack of workers' rights in "right-to-work" (for less money and no benefits) states.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Good luck to him.

In Rome do as the Romans, is applicable for culturally aware working people.

Congrats to all new parents !

Talking about socially wrong individuals, my boss in Japan would tell me the truth once that if he could get rid of employees and run the company alone (hundres of staff), he would...

Even better luck for Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Now I am the boss in my own company and I respect my employees right to take time off as they are human like me. It's not hard at all to achieve. They actually work harder when you treat them right.

This!!!^^

It's just common sense. Japan is too paralyzed to do anything their abhorrent labor practices.

I was once fired from a job because I had to rush to be by my brother's side, on his deathbed... They made me choose. It was an easy decision. I couldn't believe it when the manager tried to explain how work has to come before family. I was just astounded.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I am lucky I guess, every time one of my kids was born, they told me to take a week off, and when my youngest daughter was in the hospital numerous times as a toddler they told me to take off, as I had to stay with her at the hospital at night, usually with pay! I will say this, none of my jobs were white collar, so there may lie the difference!

As for ゆうきゅう, I never had a problem taking a day off here or there, but others who wanted to take consecutive days off did.

The only time I have run into trouble at work was if I got hurt and it came to using the Workers compensation insurance (Rōsai hoken). I was hurt at work right in front of my supervisor, and he said "maybe you should go to the hospital", so after work, I did , and the next day all hell broke loose! They accused me of lying, the supervisor acted as if he knew nothing. Even after the doctor told them this injury could not have happened at home, the called my wife and ask if she knew that she was married to a liar! So I worked with my arm in a sling for a month, with no one talking to me, I had enough and turned in my resignation, they won! That was 26 years ago, it is not as bad nowadays, as my oldest daughter is told to use it at work all the time, glad times are changing!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If Japanese won't stand up for their rights, it's up to long-term resident foreigners to do so for them. Lead by example - it's better to lose standing your ground than live grovelling on your knees.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

expat- so well said! Thank you.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I can see the Canadian dad’s dedication to his family. He is a good father. But here in Japan, we must accept business comes first. And that means putting the Company above family. Sacrifice has to be made, but an excellent Company pension after 62 will be the handsome reward.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

"I love my job," he said.

That statement is hard to believe. In any case I hope he succeeds. The vast majority of reasonable people don't make a federal case out of every slight or grievance.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sacrifice has to be made, but an excellent Company pension after 62 will be the handsome reward.

You still don't get it. That attitude actually has the opposite effect as far as doing good for the company goes. But don't make my word for it as Japan slides further and further into obscurity and debt.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@Sam Whitte

Yet there are countries with generous maternal/paternal leave (where people actually take advantage of it) and it still works out. To be brutally honest, most people can be replaced in a corporation for a period of time. Very, very few people actually hold everything up, so no, a business probably won't die from someone being away a number of months. It really comes down to having the human decency of allowing someone to spend time and bond with their new child without having to worry about where they'll get their income from.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

 was once fired from a job because I had to rush to be by my brother's side, on his deathbed... They made me choose. It was an easy decision. I couldn't believe it when the manager tried to explain how work has to come before family. I was just astounded.

I cant believe that those a holes would make you choose in a situation like that. Glad you told them what to do with that job. How can anyone try to stop an employee from being by their family members side at a time like that is beyond me.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I was once fired from a job because I had to rush to be by my brother's side,

Something similar happened to my husband, many years ago, he was expected to choose between his seriously ill mother or his job. He chose being with his mum. He set up his own business after that. Japan PLC is failing in the global economy because it treats it's staff like indentured servants.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

“The baby was in intensive care at a hospital in Nepal, where his partner was working and had given birth.”

His partner? What does that MEAN? His wife? His girlfriend? His business partner?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

^^^^^^ Does it really matter? However else you word it, it's still the mother of HIS child and it's not uncommon at all for western couples to have and raise children out of wedlock.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Rolf Anderson, “His partner? What does that MEAN? His wife? His girlfriend? His business partner?”

Many months ago when Wood gave a press conference, “partner” was the term he used but even then she was an ex-partner. He was raising the child as a single father with the assistance of hired help. I recall that he said he and the ex-partner had agreed that he alone would raise the child and, unless memory fails, she does not live in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wood was told to take a DNA test to prove he was really the boy's father. He did that.

Am I the only one who thinks this is just a bizarre thing for a company to request someone to do?? I know he wanted to stay employed and was deserving of his rights, but geez, if the failure to follow through on promises wasn't enough, "you have to take a DNA test" would make me drop that company like a hot potato.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

OMFG...this is so utterly ridiculous. Is there any humanity left in this work. US financial firms are so fricken corrupt and evil. And I am so GLAD that I divested from MUFJ. They were horrible to begin with, but now even more horrible for participating in this harassment.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

But corporations are ultimately based on profit no mater how much they proclaim to care about the environment, animals, people, etc. If it came down to choosing a quarter or more of zero profit in order to help others, you'd see that company swallowed up by the competition.

Of course everyone is replaceable. And some industries may be more open to people stepping away and coming back, but many aren't. And they shouldn't need be, either. This is one of the imaginary myths of sjw's about the supposed pay gap between men/women.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I can see the Canadian dad’s dedication to his family. He is a good father. But here in Japan, we must accept business comes first. And that means putting the Company above family. Sacrifice has to be made, but an excellent Company pension after 62 will be the handsome reward.

Sorry the Japanese law says otherwise. If you break the law you should be punished. Every I think you can agree to that.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Wow! 12 months of leave and getting your paid job back?? Guess all foreign workers should move to Japan, get hired and take one year sabbatical/parental leave; travel with kids.....it's unheard of, even in western standards.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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