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Gov't under fire for watered-down sexual harassment countermeasures

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Interesting moves... Interesting in that somehow much too often and too often out of "context" the Japanese "over react" to foreign events and trends and make them into a "must have" or a "must do" situation, sometimes making them a political and moral issue. Good to be literate and well informed... but too often they miss the larger whole picture...

Not saying that this case and situation is irrelevant or not pertinent or even meaningless.., just that personal issue matters get blown out of proportion much too often and often ignore the "context" in which certain issues must be addressed. Japan is not the US and vice versa, with radically different history, culture, societal make up, political and legal processes and all are handled and resolved differently than the US.

Also, there is no "requirement" or "obligation" morally, ethically, legally or otherwise that Japan or any other country "must" keep up with or conform with what is happening in the rest of the world.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

So they do not want to specifically outline prevention methods or tackle who should specifically handle these issues because it may disrupt business continuity and end up costing business money by handling these issues and/or having to acknowledge these issues in a legal setting.

Sexual harrassment should be handled by both the government and a business itself. Anonymous hotlines should be setup within companies to handle these things. Also, a special department within HR should be created to tackle these issues. Investigation should not be left up to individual managers because they may be too close to the actual issue that is transpiring.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Victims tend to avoid taking their cases to court

If the alleged is about to lose his/her career and all opportunities for future employment isn't he/she entitled to defend themselves in a bona fide court of law.

Since when are HR staff judge, jury and executioner?

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Also, there is no "requirement" or "obligation" morally, ethically, legally or otherwise that Japan or any other country "must" keep up with or conform with what is happening in the rest of the world.

This is true. My daughter, born and bred in Japan but college-educated in the US, has chosen to pursue her career there. A major reason is the above. Too bad: with a declining population, Japan still cannot figure out how to hold on to its female workers. So go ahead and don't "conform" and see what happens.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

HR is frequently tasked with the investigation, but it is top management (and the rules of employment, following Japan labor laws) which decide upon the punishment. Companies I worked for had strict rules against harassment of any sort, and specifically listed some forms, including sexual harassment. Plus in one firm employees were treated to a participation required seminar, provided by an outside consulting firm so no doubts about what constituted harassment entailed. Enshrining in law, these steps would seem prudent to me, possibly in the labor laws.

As a member of an HR incident review committee in one firm, and head of HR in another, I dealt with several sexual harassment cases – one where a sequence of new hires suddenly quit before one raised the alarm. In that case, the head of HR himself was taking female new hires to an ‘introductory lunch’ at a hotel, where he had already booked a room. Those who quit confirmed the pattern.  He was fired.

Workplace harassment, and in particular sexual harassment needs to be discovered and dealt with at the earliest possible opportunity as it is a cancer upon the firm and society and severely damages the wellbeing of victims. The law should have teeth.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Most Japanese today including politicians and company executives were educated after the war. I feel it strange they still hold on to the idea of old fashioned men centered Japanese society. However, in advanced country of America it also happens and dignitaries are sued by women for their indecent attitude to ladies.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

While this is a sad situation it is hardly surprising. Japan has a long history of sexual harassment without any sincere apologies. Some little begrudging recognition is from time to time given with a little compensation. Refer to SK and WWII CW issue. However women in Japan seem to also get the "short end of the stick" in such matters and it seems that is not about to change any time soon.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

My daughter, born and bred in Japan but college-educated in the US, has chosen to pursue her career there. A major reason is the above. Too bad: with a declining population, Japan still cannot figure out how to hold on to its female workers. So go ahead and don't "conform" and see what happens.

Commonly heard anecdote from parents of mixed-heritage kids. What is so patently ridiculous about LDP inaction on things such as this, or child protection, or treating foreigners with some respect, is how hugely counterproductive it all is. Treat women as respected equals rather than objects or servants and presto, maybe they'll be more interested in marrying Japanese men or having their children. Treat the kids presently struggling to get by in this bullying/abusive culture better, do a better job protecting them, and surprise, people will be far more likely to bring children into this society.

Or just continue with the status quo, glossed over with catch-phrases and a few ornamental women in power, and continue watching the clock tick down to demographic collapse.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Also, there is no "requirement" or "obligation" morally, ethically, legally or otherwise that Japan or any other country "must" keep up with or conform with what is happening in the rest of the world

I would argue that it is in fact a moral obligation for the powers that be in Japan to end sexism and sexual harassment.

Sorry that it isn't a Japanese original concept.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

What a total waist of time, politicians, companies have decided that no way are they going to change anything. They are entitled to harmlessly grop, sexually joke. Comment on body shape. And have their drinks pored. Ask staff any woman they come across for sex. Why would they ever agree to a framework, penalties that would only hinder their "harmless " antics.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

My company has sexual harassment training and seems to take it seriously. I know of a very high level Japanese executive who was quietly canned for pushing the envelope, and a sloppy drunk high level foreigner also fired for indiscretions and incompetence.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Bottom Line, it seems, is to keep the Old Boys Club intact. Give lip service; OK. Whereever Japan’s at, it ain’t gonna change. Nothing. Japan’s here for Japan. Don’t expect more. It really hasn’t changed much since the Meiji Restoration until Black Ships force themselves through. Until it makes economic sense, we’ll have to accept things as they are.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It is interesting how japan likes to say 'this is Japan, we shouldn't conform to the rest of the world' and.. 'you should respect our culture'.

I would say they should at least try to conform to human rights and respect of others.. but.. they like loopholes to manipulate and have their way. dangerous and perverted culture.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Yet again, the 'do nothing' approach.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

*A report recently compiled by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's panel on workplace harassment and female empowerment did not call for punitive measures against sexual harassment*

Welcome to Japan, where form is more important than substance.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The business of Japan is business, and any minor considerations such as freedom from sexual harassment, life-threatening amounts of unpaid overtime or enforcement of safety regulations take a back seat to maintaining the status quo and the patriarchy that began it. Productivity and profits over people!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Might be time for a euphemism for these women, worked so well in the past? These LDP and business leaders have a knack for that. Do they not have mothers, sister? Empathy is just not in these peoples lexicon.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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