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Activists push to halt sexual harassment of job-seeking students

29 Comments

Japanese activists on Monday called for drastic steps by the government, companies and universities to stamp out sexual harassment of job-hunting students, a problem they said lurks in the shadows because victims fear speaking out.

Although the labor ministry drafted guidelines in October to prevent power harassment in workplaces, it said only that such measures were "desirable" for students and other non-employees.

Despite some diversification in recruitment, many Japanese firms tend to hire new graduates, who begin the job hunt while still at university.

Many feel too vulnerable to denounce harassment, members of Safe Campus Youth Network (SAY), a volunteer group of professors and students at six Tokyo universities, told a news conference.

"Today, harassment against job-hunting students, especially sexual harassment against female students, is a serious issue that could interfere with life choices on their career path," the group said in a statement demanding action.

"These cases are almost never reported and employees can say anything they like because students are the weak ones," said Rhea Endo, a 19-year-old student at Tokyo's International Christian University. "People suffer in silence and offenders are not punished."

Harassment runs the gamut from forced sex and inappropriate touching to verbal harassment, such as asking the job-seeker what kind of sexual relations she has, the activists said.

The guidelines against power harassment are expected to be finalised this month after a period of public comment, but have come under fire from some experts who say the definition of power harassment is too narrow.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments
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Harassment runs the gamut from forced sex and inappropriate touching to verbal harassment, such as asking the job-seeker what kind of sexual relations she has, the activists said.

A spade is a spade. Forced sex is rape.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

The guidelines against power harassment are expected to be finalised this month after a period of public comment,

Glad to see the public was consulted. Is there any news about the period of public comment or results. I'm interested to hear how the public comment was done. Was it done through a web poll or an actual town hall meeting?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Once again (and again...), so much for the baseless stereotypes of Japanese citizens as apathetic and/or too afraid to be vocal about political issues.

Yet another shining example of how many Japanese people DO in fact speak out on social issues they are passionate about.

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

Harassment runs the gamut from forced sex and inappropriate touching to verbal harassment, such as asking the job-seeker what kind of sexual relations she has, the activists said.

Surprised that these corporations/businesses have ANY employees at all!

Personally speaking, the places that have been found to be guilty, NOT just by hearsay or rumor, should be publicly outed and those guilty, should be held responsible, again in the most public way possible.

One of the ONLY ways to pressure these businesses/corporations, to change their habits is to out them in the court of public opinion here!

,

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Once again (and again...), so much for the baseless stereotypes of Japanese citizens as apathetic and/or too afraid to be vocal about political issues.

Baseless? If it truly was baseless then there would be no need for articles like this. Another thing, and you seem to miss the most important part, it's Japanese that are complaining about this, and it has been going on for lord only knows how long, and it's just getting commentary NOW?

Seems to me you are one of those "foreigners" who live here in Japan, and have never taken off the rose-colored glasses!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

There must be a lot of creepy employers out there if this kind of legislation and support group are necessary. It's just another example of how women are exploited and abused in Japan.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

I've worked closely with many corporations anywhere from engineering firms, construction, manufacturers etc. and have never ever seen nor heard of any such issues occurring within these companies. Leaves me to wonder where are these kind of acts occurring? I have many women employees I have met over the years and they too have never had nor seen such acts occur within their professions. It would be more helpful if the article was too name the sector where this is occurring.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Harassment runs the gamut from forced sex and inappropriate touching to verbal harassment, such as asking the job-seeker what kind of sexual relations she has, the activists said.

What? The moment these kind of questions are asked, you just stand up and leave. Parents really need to teach their kids to stand up for themselves in these situations.

There must be a lot of creepy employers out there if this kind of legislation and support group are necessary. It's just another example of how women are exploited and abused in Japan.

This.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This is employees of companies, often alumni of certain universities, meeting students of those universities as advisors about joining those companies. This is presented as giving those students an advantage in recruitment, but exposes them to sempai-kohai sexual harassment, everything up to casting couch.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Time to wear a wire.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Time to wear a wire.

Yeah, and then get nailed for entrapment! If someone is going to go to THAT length when looking for a job, they should be looking elsewhere!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The internet age and social media age really does force changes. These issues are not recent and they are not one offs. These are cultural problems. By culture, I don't mean Japanese culture, but culture of people in higher positions that believe they can do what they want and have what they want. It's why businesses have always gotten away with this behavior. It's why monsters like Jeffrey Epstein was able to get away for so long and create all those victims.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Such a Shame for Japan, keeping their history in mind.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

So stand up and tell the interviewers that you would never work for a company that treats women this way, then leave.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So stand up and tell the interviewers that you would never work for a company that treats women this way, then leave.

I agree that’s the right thing to do... but where do you expect young people to learn such a reaction? They certainly aren’t taught to react like that in school, nor are they encouraged to speak out against superiors, people in authority, elders etc. They are conditioned to sit there, take it, not question it publicly, and move on.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So easy to just say get up and leave. The act itself is criminal and is preventing a woman from getting a job she may want, This exploration will not stop until some of the creeps are in jail.

This is equivalent to telling women do not ride trains as they are filled with chikan. It is the chikan that need to be punished, not the women who ride the trains.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So, in effect, the "interview" starts when these so-called career advisors rock into town. "Give me a reach around and I'll forward your job application" sounds like a HR department's nightmare. Oops, sorry, they're in on it, too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Baseless? If it truly was baseless then there would be no need for articles like this. Another thing, and you seem to miss the most important part, it's Japanese that are complaining about this, and it has been going on for lord only knows how long, and it's just getting commentary NOW?

Seems to me you are one of those "foreigners" who live here in Japan, and have never taken off the rose-colored glasses!

Classic straw man. Addressed absolutely nothing of what I posted.

To make this simpler for people out there to understand, this article once again highlights native Japanese citizens who are passionate and very vocal about what they perceive to be social injustices in their society. Just like many other such articles that have been posted on Japan Today. Not to mention numerous other articles and videos showing ordinary Japanese citizens publicly demonstrating against a variety of things, such as solidarity with other countries undergoing crisis, to demonstrating against right wing fascists.

The point being, a common and very baseless stereotype that continues to be perpetuated on this website, is that Japanese people as a whole do not speak out, do not protest, do not engage in any form of activism. Totally false and without merit.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I can’t imagine a situation where a prospective employee is forced or otherwise coerced into having some kind of sexual relationship with the prospective employer. This seems more like a scene out of a adult video than real life.

can anyone add some insight?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

There are countless other examples of people in power - usually men - forcing, coercing, harassing, abusing, raping, , their employees, coworkers, or wannabe employees - usually female. We've heard hundreds of stories like this since the 'me too' movement started. It's a shame that Japan still lags behind in this regard.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The point being, a common and very baseless stereotype that continues to be perpetuated on this website, is that Japanese people as a whole do not speak out, do not protest, do not engage in any form of activism. Totally false and without merit.

What you fail to understand is that it isn't about whether or not they do, this is how much of them do relative to the entire population. And the answer is awfully low in comparison to many other industrialized nations and that's a fact whatever your distorted view of the world is.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The point being, a common and very baseless stereotype that continues to be perpetuated on this website, is that Japanese people as a whole do not speak out, do not protest, do not engage in any form of activism. Totally false and without merit.

I'm not sure anyone would state Japanese people 'as a whole' don't speak out, protest or engage in activism, but it certainly appears that the overwhelming majority don't.

It seems to me that most people prefer to ignore controversial issues, and avoid conflict - which is fine, but then they shouldn't expect anything to change or improve. Putting up a poster in a corridor is not going to have any effect on stopping harassment in the workplace - it only makes the people who make the posters feel like they've done something. Maybe we'll start seeing a new poster soon titled 'STOP sekuhara in job interviews'.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Harassment runs the gamut from forced sex

Forces sex is called rape in civilized nations and this is a serious criminal offense. This is not a matter of activism to deal with that, this must be law enforcement and justice.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Although the labor ministry drafted guidelines in October to prevent power harassment in workplaces, it said only that such measures were "desirable" for students and other non-employees.

Speaks volumes about how serious they really are about it. How hard is it really to just include them too!?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I've worked closely with many corporations anywhere from engineering firms, construction, manufacturers etc. and have never ever seen nor heard of any such issues occurring within these companies. Leaves me to wonder where are these kind of acts occurring? 

Just because you haven't heard about it, or witnessed it, doesn't mean it isn't happening.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This seems more like a scene out of a adult video than real life.

Do you live here?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do you live here?

yes. And I have not heard any examples yet.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What you fail to understand is that it isn't about whether or not they do, this is how much of them do relative to the entire population. And the answer is awfully low in comparison to many other industrialized nations and that's a fact whatever your distorted view of the world is.

And right on cue.

When people here are called out on their falsehoods, then cover it up.

When it's proven false that Japanese people are not vocal about political and social issues, then change the criteria so now it becomes, Japanese people are not as vocal about political/social issues compared to people of other industrialized nation's.

Or when it's proven false that Japan has 'never' apologized for its past, then change the criteria to, Japanese apologies are meaningless because the apology was not given on bended knees and with tears. Classic tactic by the usual crowd on here.

Please do give me links that show Japanese activism is 'awfully low' as compared to many other industrialized nation's. And down voting this post is not a proper response.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@oldman_13

Please do give me links that show Japanese activism is 'awfully low' as compared to many other industrialized nation's. And down voting this post is not a proper response.

What you are asking people to prove is unprovable. The same can be asked of you. Provide proof that Japanese activism is on par with the other industrialized nation? The burden of proof would fall more on you as you are going against the popular opinion.

The only thing you can factually state is that Japan has a culture based on not rocking the boat. Furthermore, when it comes to doing those things, they tend to see it as "めんどくさい." Also, stating that problems are under reported or pushed under the rug here is something that the Japanese media and govenrment agencies has stated.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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