national

Gov't to release names of 'black companies'

36 Comments

As part of the government's crackdown on "black companies," the labor ministry plans to publicly announce the names of large companies that have repeatedly broken laws regarding excessively long working hours.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare says the results of a 2014 survey into so-called "black companies" in Japan reveal that over 80% of them are engaged in illegal business practices. The survey covered 5,111 companies.

The term "black company" (ブラック企業) refers to businesses suspected of violating labor laws, such as forcing employees to work great amounts of overtime without proper compensation, unfairly dismiss workers, refuse holidays and other illegal practices.

Of the 5,111 companies surveyed, 4,189 or 82% were flagged for violations, Fuji TV reported. The ministry said it surveyed companies with a high turnover rate of young employees, in collaboration with Hello Work government employment offices.

According to a ministry spokesman, the survey revealed that a high percentage of young people were leaving the work force due to excessively high unpaid overtime work. In some cases, employees reported being forced to work 100 hours of overtime a month, the survey revealed.

"Companies that have a long history of forcing their employees to work excessively long hours will have their names publicized, Labor Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki told a news conference on Friday.

He said the ministry will name companies at which employees have logged over 100 hours of overtime within a one-month period, and which have received reprimands on three occasions for such practices within a year.

Previously, the companies were only named when cases were referred to prosecutors.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

36 Comments
Login to comment

OK for starters. 100 hours paid overtime should be reported, too.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

He said the ministry will name companies at which employees have logged over 100 hours of overtime within a one-month period, and which have received reprimands on three occasions for such practices within a year.

This is far too lax or even negligent by the government, which we now need to be more proactive on the side of labour since union power has been crushed. Even 50 hours of overtime work a month, even if paid, means about an extra 2 hours of work a day, and considering the often long and tiring commutes, this can be excessive if it goes on week after week. It's no wonder faces on the train look so grim. Also, all companies that don't pay or under-compensate for overtime should be reported, regardless of the hours.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Japanese joke ! If a company violates workers, it is reported as "black" only after all possible warnings have been issued. It is good for your company to get free official advert within the majority of them. Who would like to join a company among the minority? Certainly not a Japanese. If karoshi is happening maybe 3 times for 5 consecutive years in 12 pure Japanese companies, maybe thry will try to enforce law and protect some employees. Waiting for that to happen ;) Even in a company I know very well and known to the world claiming best practices, no one cares to when there are some waves... Effect is that work is your life and get brainwashed to believe it is impossible to take 3 weeks of holidays LOL Japanese demography paying the toll, with Korea close by the way. Sincerity is not Japanese feature . Honesty is in business work only. It could change easily if Japan is reported by other countries ;) Hoping for the best for my beloved country.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

For a moment I thought "Phew, finally someone in the government is waking the f*&# up and doing something about the horrible practises that go on behind closed doors here". Until I saw this:

The ministry will name companies at which employees have logged over 100 hours of overtime within a one-month period

Excuse me? Only those that have logged (which naturally won't happen since their companies bully them into not logging it) OVER 100 hours in a one-month period. So that's 25 hours a week overtime. That's the bar? Jesus Christ.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

They're only going to publish when people have logged OVER 100 hours??? Well that's great. Companies will just not have their employees log their overtime hours. And the matter of what the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare considers to be "excessively long" is an other issue. Who determined that 100 hours is the definition? For anyone in Japan to even lodge a complaint of working too much overtime takes guts. I'd say even though offices in Japan are incredibly unproductive, almost everyone is "working" an excessive amount of hours at even 10 plus hours of overtime. If you're running your own company or need to work on special projects or it's just a busy time of the year I understand the need to put in some extra hours, but the fear that companies and middle management power mongers give employees forcing them to work overtime should be a criminal offense. Notice that there are no consequences listed in the article for these companies that make the "blacklist." Sorry MHLW making the list is not a punishment in itself.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

First offence: 30% of profit penalty (day fine); victims get overtime x2.

Second offence: 70% of profit penalty; victims get overtime x3.

Third offence: revoke corporate charter and distribute assets first to the victims then to the stock and bondholders.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

One way to encourage those black companies to give more funds to the ruling party. If the party was interested in doing something, it would have done so long before now, so I assume it is more squeeze money that they want. Certainly the companies can afford to be generous with the government that has let them slide for so long.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Of the 5,111 companies surveyed, 4,189 or 82% were flagged for violations, Fuji TV reported.

It really says all that needs to be said about Japan Inc and the liberal democracy Japan isn't.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Why's it gotta be "black", eh?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

The government must give a business suspension to those companies. But it has been to right way. I hope this momentum continues.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In my case, as I'm regularly sending money to my home country and living alone hence I've got a lot of free time, companies giving out overtimes are my preference. What I know, overtimes are 25% of basic rate. Unfortunately the line of business of my present work gives out lower rates than manufacturing ones. Hence, I tend to work longer. My first full month of salary in my new job was last Friday and got a net income of around 23 man. Not bad if I compare it to my other previous jobs. The OT time would be around 40 hrs. I could still work beyond those hrs hence I always welcome if some Jleaders would ask me to do OT in some other areas of the factory. Maybe what I receive is less than what the Jpeople doing the same job are receiving. Let's just accept the fact that some things are not created equal. And up to this day, I don't consider my previous even my current employers as black companies. Whoever thought of that word black companies never consider the idea that companies have to survive too. If too many young people are quitting companies. it's not because the company is black, I think they just didn't have the same drive that their fathers and grandfathers have.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

labor ministry plans to publicly announce the names of large companies that have repeatedly broken laws

I've been hearing them saying this for over a year, probably two by now. Hurry up and name them already. Besides, nothing much will change. It'll be as much lip service as everything else. Slap on the wrist, no punishment and the employee's exploitation will continue.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I agree that unpaid work is ludicrous, if there is a law requring overtime pay for overtime work, then that law must be enforced. If it is not, who is at fault? Businesses? Or the government which refuses to enforce the law?

Next, most Japanese companies are not very profitable, in fact, few Japanese companies earn any real profit. With consumption declining for more than two decades, it is becoming harder and harder for Japanese companies to make ends meet.

Many companies are in debt, and are struggling. In other countries, these companies would simply go bankrupt, and either shut down, or have their debts wiped away, and be reorganized by the court, and theIr owners can start over. But in Japan, bankruptcy laws are severe, and are consideted nearly a criminal offence. If a company goes bankrupt, it's the owners/partners/directors face loaing their right to vote, get credit, or their ability to get a full-time job. In order to prevent bankruptcy, labor costs are cut as much as possible.

The government understands this, and knows that if these companies were forced to pay full value to their workers, they would likely have to shut down. This would inevitably cause a collapse, and require fundamental changes to the way Japan does business. And one thing Japan and the Japanese hate is change, and this is why the government does bot enforce overtime laws.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Th government should include the Police Force in the naming and shaming. Many police friends are forced to work on a 32 hour roster with a 5 hour sleep break, and highway patrol officers sometimes work on a 24 hour roster!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

From my decade in Japan. From what I have observed pretty much 100% of EVERY single Japanese company or businesses expects, requires, or forces EVERYONE to work above and beyond what is contracted, agreed upon, and paid actually paid for.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

trinklets2May. 17, 2015 - 09:17AM JST

. My first full month of salary in my new job was last Friday and got a net income of around 23 man....The OT time would be around 40 hrs.

Basic salary with 40 hours overtime ..... Y230,000...... !!!!!!!!!!

And people wonder why the domestic economy is in crises.

Minimum basic monthly salary should be Y250,000 and so what if I have to pay a little more for my Big Mac and fries.

Then we might, we just might, if the government makes it law, have a true virtuous cycle of price and salary rises, and productivity growth.

Japan is a joke. A first world economy with first world prices and third world salaries.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

From an outsider perspective Japan Inc. could be considered the mother of all 'Black Companies'. The idea that these kind of companies are an anomaly that appear in a vacuum is laughable. The Government is trying to make itself look good as it pimps out taxpayer's cash for its own often very self-serving and narrow interests by saying 'Look, how bad these guys are...We're not at all like that...'

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So, from the statistics in this article, over 80% of Japanese companies are breaking labor laws? That is gonna be one heck of a long list!

I think this list should also include companies who reviewed tax cuts under Abenomics and refused to pass them on as salary increases. I just received a letter from one of the companies I work for informing me they have increased the hourly salary - by ¥10! Yeah, 10 measly yen! It cost them ¥200 to write the letter and post it! Japanomics!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Here's a wild idea: they are clearly violating existing laws, so how about the authorities make an exception to the Japanese norms and ENFORCE THE LAWS and shut the companies down?

2 ( +7 / -5 )

what a weak government. Start fining companies for violating laws, yo

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And here we have the hypocrisy of capitalism exposed.

Companies are legally people.

When people commit a crime they're arrested and sent to prison, normally losing a LOT more than they would have profited .

When companies commit a crime at worst they get a fine (normally less than the profit they made from the crime) and nothing else.

If companies want the RIGHTS of people they need the RESPONSIBILITIES of people. This means no more tax dodging, no more slaps on the wrist, no more soft punishments. Oh, and people can get the death sentence, and so should companies. Any company that contributes to the death of a worker should receive the death sentence - the company utterly annihilated and their assets/patents/copyright sold off to reimburse the worker's family.

Being soft with companies has just resulted in the mess we see now around the world, with companies routinely breaking the law. Its like being soft on crime, it just encourages criminals.

Of the 5,111 companies surveyed, 4,189 or 82% were flagged for violations

... when 82% of companies are criminals then this isn't isolated, this is the norm, and when criminal companies are the norm I don't think that companies have any right to complain when workers rip them off, after all its a 2-way street.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I would like to see their presidents were pelted with tomatoes and eggs on their way to work...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At the very least, some teeth should be put beyond putting them on a list. How about if things get so bad they are blacklisted, they are forced to comply COMPLETELY with the labor law - that is to say, employees ALL leave at 5PM no matter what.

(Oh of course, they should be complying with laws but usually there is a thing called Reality and if the violations are small employees themselves might well be the first to make a concession for "professionalism". That's fine and necessary but many companies clearly don't have what it takes to handle this responsibility).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Other Western societies cannot afford to sit back as nations with no compunctions about ruthlessly exploiting their workers parlay this into strategic stakes in societies where the rule of law is sacrosanct and human rights count for something more than empty platitudes. It is they who should be going on the offensive, by naming and shaming Japanese companies and forcing them to either get with the program or suffer the consequences. Nothing would clarify the issue better for Japan's Todai elites than to be told in no uncertain terms that access to overseas markets is a privilege to be earned, not an automatic right and that henceforth they will be held to account if they continue to connive in allowing an unlevel playing field that depends on the exploitation of workers to continue.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Abe's solution is not to force the companies to pay overtime, as required by law, but to abolish mandatory overtime payments. Problem solved. The LDP will benefit from more company donations as a result.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Do it already.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hey! Stop wasting time here and go back to work. Signed, You boss.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Abe's solution is not to force the companies to pay overtime, as required by law, but to abolish mandatory overtime payments

This plan only applies to people who already make more than 10 million a year.

Another policy Abe has hanged in the last two years is to increase the overtime rate at small and medium sized corporations from 25% to 50%. I believe this will kick in in the next few years.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

UpgrayeddMay. 17, 2015 - 02:27PM JST This plan only applies to people who already make more than 10 million a year.

So in other words Abe wants to make it easier for Japanese companies to require middle to top management to work ridiculous overtime - which will result in them being tired and making stupid decisions that cumulatively damage the Japanese economy.

Another brilliant decision from Abe!

Another policy Abe has hanged in the last two years is to increase the overtime rate at small and medium sized corporations from 25% to 50%. I believe this will kick in in the next few years.

Except that Abe won't actually punish companies for making employees do overtime for free. Now tell me, what's the difference between 0 yen x 125% and 0 yen x 150%? .... do you see the problem now?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This whole debacle is quite easy: if there are laws in place against this practice of exploiting workers, enforce them. I think one warning would MORE than suffice and these companies should be named as soon as possible. They should have all to lose from being exploitative companies.

If this so-called government really had any intention of punishing companies that constantly break the law, they would have come down on them like a sumo wrestler, without any warning.

But they don't.

Japan is one hell of a corrupt nation with most of ehat is being done merely lip service. Add to that the mentality that corporations are above individuals and you have a nice mix of non-action.

I find the whole place pathetic and can't wait to leave.

As the man said: "Good night, and good luck."

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Correct smithinjapan, there are too many face value laws cs actuslly enforced laws. What is the point of publishing these companies names if the victims never get compensated and if tgey are not made to follow the labour laws?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan itself is a huge company and look how they have screwed everyone with the regressive tax to 8% not giving a hoot about general food costs, medicines, health care etc. as living necessities and not excessive unneeded consumption. Shame on Japan shame shame shame.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Don't read this story as one of corporate power- Japanese corporation would like all sort of reforms but Abe's and other Japanese government has next to nothing. The only way to get ahead is for corporations to cheat. The story is one of weak government as far as acting as police. Japanese governments like gathering statistics, creating laws and spending money.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

companies at which employees have logged over 100 hours of overtime within a one-month period...HAKKEN employees need this companies just like myself, without an OT / 8 hrs per day / Y 20 man per month...frankly speaking not enough for a family of 4

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This shows us what a decrepit state Japan is in!!!! Salaries shrink,companies relocate and shady companies thrive !!! All the while companies have masses of money NOT being reinvested back into Japan.....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Gary, I just wish you'd have the resources to put up a business and hire me just so I can have that 25 man minimum basic salary. Though I'm a university grad in my home country and have my teaching licence there, I'm basically unskilled here. Don't have the luck of finding an office job where I can tinkle the company's computer and in company's paid time, one of the reasons perhaps some company's aren't doing well. So, us in the lower bracket just have to accept the fact that we aren't equals and strive to be fit to be able to work longer hrs for us to feed ourselves and some relatives in our home country. At my age now, I don't squabble about inequalities and what shld be since I know of some Jpeople who are earning less too. There are politics behind earning more. I rather stay behind.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites