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WHO staff accuse Japanese director of racist, abusive behavior

87 Comments
By MARIA CHENG

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*The AP also has obtained recorded snippets of meetings where Kasai is heard making derogatory comments about staff based on nationality. Eleven former or current WHO staffers who worked for Kasai told the AP he frequently used racist language.*

Sounds a lot like the language I have heard in corporate Japan over several decades.

74 ( +91 / -17 )

It's regrettable, I've heard similar language in many Japanese offices. Bullying is a systematic problem in Japan.

82 ( +99 / -17 )

"It is true that I have been hard on staff, but I reject the suggestion that I have targeted staff of any particular nationality," he said.

Get with the times. If you want your staff to perform well, bullying is not the answer. In my former line of business they finally figured that out and productivity and results blossomed.

65 ( +74 / -9 )

A Japanese executive being abusive and racist to staff? That sounds about right. Nothing new to see here.

70 ( +85 / -15 )

What a nice human being,a real man worth the Nippon Kaigi and all the right wing trash.

Seriously,Japan has a deep and profound problem with racism that was never dealt with it.

The worst thing that he’s not the only one from his nationals that look down at foreigners.

Shame.

45 ( +59 / -14 )

toxic atmosphere" with "a culture of systemic bullying and public ridiculing

Well, to be honest that sounds like what I've seen and heard many times from friends of what a Japanese working environment is.

That's ones of the biggest ironies of Japan.

People are super honest in this country, when you drop your wallet or phone and get it back. Most of the time very polite when in public. But when it comes to the workplace? Backstabbers, toxidity and bullies north and south. Such an irony.

48 ( +64 / -16 )

Do some Japanese ever learn,that their are social unacceptable behavior outside Japan, even referring to Japanese,in the short spelling of Japanese is deemed racist unacceptable

23 ( +34 / -11 )

Amazing he's lasted almost 20 years at WHO.

29 ( +36 / -7 )

Dude didn't realize that he is not in Japan and people from other countries do not tolerate this kind of bullying like the feudal minded Japanese.

Also, great defense:

"It is true that I have been hard on staff, but I reject the suggestion that I have targeted staff of any particular nationality," he said.

"I'm not racist. I abuse and harass people from all nationalities."

58 ( +67 / -9 )

@Garthgoyle

Spot on. Personally, I think it has to si with how hierarchical Japan is.

To strangers, you want to keep face. However, having high amounts of power over others can bring out the worst in people.

I've had the misfortune of working at an office where I was one of very few non-Japanese. My place in the hierarchy was automatically at the bottom just by virtue of not being born here.

What doesn't stop amazing me is how these guys are so sure of these imagined hierarchies that they always seem surprised if you don't like being treated like dirt, especially if your nationality means you can't progress in the hierarchy through time or hard work. But nationalism is, by definition, delusional.

39 ( +48 / -9 )

What a horrible person to have to work for.

35 ( +41 / -6 )

Shocked. Not. He should have stayed in Japan where those are prized management techniques. But at least publicly this is being recognized as bad behavior here, which is encouraging. In a hundred years it may be less normal.

34 ( +45 / -11 )

This Kasai individual seems like a grub and a nasty piece of work. Shaming Japan and the good work many Japanese people are doing in the region.

How do lowlives like Kasai ever get promoted to these jobs? Thats the real question.

10 ( +23 / -13 )

WHO staff accuse Japanese director of racist, abusive behaviour

Why am I not surprised by this?

28 ( +38 / -10 )

Under WHO's structure, regional directors are largely answerable only to the member countries that elect them and to the executive board that confirms their selection. 

And more than likely these people to whom the doctor is beholden to love the manner in which he does his job!

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

These are some serious allegations that shouldn't be taken lightly.

I'm not surprised at all about the racist and abusive behavior. It's really common among Japanese workplace - especially casual racism and looking down on "poorer" nations.

I think a more serious issue is about sharing sensitive vaccine information to Japan. This sounds like nationalistic behavior with ulterior motives and should be investigated seriously.

This man needs to be put on probation immediately with serious consequences to set an example for other corrupt members of the WHO.

17 ( +25 / -8 )

a culture of systemic bullying and public ridiculing"

bullying is so deeply ingrained into the japanese culture , it’s almost impossible to get rid off

27 ( +36 / -9 )

Dr. Takeshi Kasai thinks what he says to other people that are not Japanese - is not racist. He is the one who needs to get educated. He needs to learn the basics in respect for other nationalities. He is not an educated man.

31 ( +39 / -8 )

Because of people like him Japan is loosing face.

21 ( +29 / -8 )

The AP also has obtained recorded snippets of meetings where Kasai is heard making derogatory comments about staff based on nationality. Eleven former or current WHO staffers who worked for Kasai told the AP he frequently used racist language.

Well, this is just unacceptable in terms of the International Community is concerned. Education is needed for Kasai san.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

bullying is so deeply ingrained into the japanese culture , it’s almost impossible to get rid off

Spot on. The whole kouhai/senpai "culture" exists primarily to allow bullying and to keep less fortunate people in their place.

27 ( +36 / -9 )

> Staffers have accused the top director of the World Health Organization in the Western Pacific of racist, unethical and abusive behavior

“Unpossible! He’s a Japanese!”

And he’ll probably blame the “foreigners” on his problems, forgetting that in Geneva, he IS a foreigner………

25 ( +34 / -9 )

Sad to say that Japan has started to loose the popularity.

1 ( +15 / -14 )

No matter how many witnesses attest to Dr Kasai’s abusive nature he still denies it all-what a piece of work!

11 ( +16 / -5 )

What are the chances that japan implements sensitivity training?

10 ( +19 / -9 )

So a typical Japanese manager. Glad they are shining a spotlight on this.

20 ( +28 / -8 )

I like the moment of “what-about” journalism mentioning completely different cases concerning allegations of sexual abuse in DR Congo. When you have to try justifying your bad behavior as less shocking by bringing up DR Congo, you know you are not exactly giving a shining example of yourself.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

This demonstrates precisely why these senior positions should be for fixed terms only; one should not be able to make one’s office one’s personal fiefdom. Kasai has either become jaded over the years, or brought an unpleasant attitude with him.

In either case, he has been in the job too long.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

From construction workers with sticks to international car companies, law courts, global managers it’s all abuse , the story is the same. Myopic racism at every level. And they call others barbarians.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

Anybody who's worked in Japan has been subject to his ilk.

Unfortunately, I've also come across foreigners who adopt this "management style" as well.

9 ( +18 / -9 )

Is anyone surprised? Ask any employee under a Japanese manager overseas how they treat them.

14 ( +20 / -6 )

Pathetic man with tiny man syndrome.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

Seems like Kasai was trying to turn WHO into a Japanese high school.

"Power corrupts, and absolutely power corrupts absolutely." But the situation is much worse when you have a leader with the typical Japanese hierarchical mindset.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

During my 10 years experience on top-level in a Japanese SME firm - it is quite familiar that you can face such formal and bizarre toxic type racism. Sometimes you need to go deeper into their very formal conversation as well.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

The internal complaint and email describe a "toxic atmosphere" with "a culture of systemic bullying and public ridiculing"...

Why would an internal complaint to WHO be describing the office I work in? Have they got cameras in here??

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Racism and bullying especially in Asian countries not unheard of. Japan is no different, bullying is so common in schools all the way up to corporate Japan. If these allegations are true, based on this story it appears so I’m glad this individual is being called out. Bullying needs to stop, no exceptions for any individual.

4 ( +14 / -10 )

Ah, yes, "the foreigner" comments that are not seen as racist but by any other assessment, standard absolutely are. Same as the sexist language you hear.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

Amazing he's lasted almost 20 years at WHO.

Why? WHO is the second most corrupt organization after the IOC.

12 ( +18 / -6 )

The detail and volume of allegations are concerning. There is bound to be a lot of truth in these allegations. it doesn't sound like like a matter of perception.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I have no respect for WHO whatsoever and don't believe any of their accusations. I think this organization should be dismantled.

-13 ( +9 / -22 )

Not surprised & I don't believe his excuses one bit.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

 Kasai blamed the rise in COVID cases in some Pacific countries on their "lack of capacity due to their inferior culture, race and socioeconomic level." Kasai said in numerous WHO discussions that the coronavirus response was hampered by "a lack of sufficiently educated people in the Pacific."

Is this piece of work related to Taro Aso of " Japan,s superior culture " fame ?

6 ( +13 / -7 )

Racist behavior by individuals from any nation happens on a daily basis. It seems the higher your position the longer you can be racist and get some protections. Average person on the street is made an example of when identified.

No nation is racist free. It is not just a Japan or Asian issue, or a White issue or Black issue. Where ever it happens it is wrong and needs correcting through better education and where necessary an appropriate punishment.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

This is awful and hardly surprising at all. Arrogance and bullying is what gets you to the top of organisations lie this, and without doubt is has been going on for a long time. Why has it take so long to come to the surface?

The WHO needs a good cleanout from the top down, including a full audit of where it gets its funding and who it goes to. Needless to say this won't happen under the current governance regime.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Kasai should be fired. Or, in euphemistic terms, "retired." Then he'll just be another barking dog without teeth.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Sounds like old school J-management stuff, which was pretty much the 'norm' at least until the 2010s.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

This will shine a light on what is pretty much standard behavior for many high end suits here. Just never got the memo, and too insular or arrogant to want it. To this fella Kasai, who even looks a bit like a closet sadist, he will have done nothing wrong. It’s just his brand of ‘tough love’. Japan will have to upgrade its mindset if it is to play its vital role in the region . Not an easy task for such a homogeneous and change resistant culture. Fact is though, you simply can’t run a team of international employees the way you run things here. They will fight back!

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Racism and bullying especially in Asian countries not unheard of. Japan is no different

Exactly; Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, etc.

It's all the same "management" style, all the same bullying, Confucian hierarchy, casual racism, etc.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

@Peter14 the problem is that Mr Kasai literally represents his country, which lobbied for his election, and he is unfortunately very representative of his government’s views on the matter. There’s nothing individual about it.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

I love Japan, but this always comes out from time to time, I even see it in friends and even my lady friend.

When it comes down to it, you are Japanese or not Japanese. I think China has it even worse.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

The internal complaint and email describe a "toxic atmosphere" with "a culture of systemic bullying and public ridiculing" at WHO's Western Pacific headquarters in Manila, led by Dr. Takeshi Kasai, 

So basically he ran his department like the average Japanese office in Japan.

Hope they fire him and maybe this will shine a light on the abhorrently unhealthy work environments in Japan. Bullying, threatening, insulting, and coercing employees don't result in increased productivity; quite the opposite actually.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

What are the chances that japan implements sensitivity training?

Pigs are more likely to sprout wings and fly before this happens. I don't even think the average Japanese company knows the existence of sensitivity training let alone what it means and does.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

I am just wondering how he never get punched in his nose. I mean office hierarchy is one thing, but if it gets personal it doesn’t work any more.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Nothing new here. Nobody was borned racist, a lack of education and narrow minded society as well as government create that...and lack of justice helps to keep racism.

Have you ever heard a Japanese condemned for xenephobia/racism ? In over 20 years, never.

Debito has thousand proofs for sure.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Sounds like any Japanese corporate office. Business as Usual.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

typical japanese management right there.... i'm sure there are a ton of old japanese dinosaurs reading this news and scratching his head as to what Kasai did wrong...

1 ( +6 / -5 )

The WHO has totally disgraced itself, so I don't know to believe this or not.

Also, I could see China wanting to get rid of people that have been critical of their handling of COVID.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

@Johnsawada

Pretty sure many will think there has been some misunderstanding, and "cultural differences" or something. Or, the ones accusing him are actually racist for not accepting the unique Japanese mindset.

These are all things I've heard or read as reactions to reports of this kind of stuff.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

compared to what goes on in Japan itself, it might not seem racist, but he needs to be judged by international standards

5 ( +9 / -4 )

All companies must enforce a zero tolerance approach to harassment and bullying.

A full HR policy to harassment, bullying, sexism, racism, bigoty etc. should have been presented to World Health Organization Regional Director for Western Pacific Takeshi Kasai, day one.

Takeshi Kasai must be suspended on full contractual obligations until a full independent inquiry is completed.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

dave:

When it comes down to it, you are Japanese or not Japanese. I think China has it even worse.

What is it with people like you? Whenever there's some article about a Japanese, China always comes into the conversation. His racism has got nothing to do with China and I'm willing to bet you know next to nothing about China and have never even been there or know any Chinese.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

"It is true that I have been hard on staff, but I reject the suggestion that I have targeted staff of any particular nationality," he said.

Well, because he do this other nationalities not Japanese?

It's hard to jump to conclusions, but if you have 30+ staffs saying the same thing, it's almost 100% true.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

All sounds extremely credible to me, a leopard cannot change its spots.

Then there's this:

Kasai ordered all his senior directors to "reject" the accusations in the email and to "totally support" him.

Reading between the lines this is an admission of guilt.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

its Takeshi Kasai arrogance, self belief that breathtaking.

A full, if necessary criminal investigation must be the next best practice.

Takeshi Kasai must be removed, suspended from duty.

And be cautioned that any further attempts to impede, obstruct, thwart by conducting a harassment campaign against his accusers be deemed a breach of contract.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I think a more serious issue is about sharing sensitive vaccine information to Japan. This sounds like nationalistic behavior with ulterior motives and should be investigated seriously.

This man needs to be put on probation immediately with serious consequences to set an example for other corrupt members of the WHO.

Absolutely. The racism and sexism are repulsive, but even more disturbing is the institutional problem of the Japanese government using its economic clout in the region to push its foreign policy agendas through high-ranking plants in international organisations like Kasai. What's it called, 'vaccine diplomacy'? In other words, it's not just one 'rotten apple'.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Wow.. Probably China will appoint a New "Tedros" to take his place.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I'm surprised WHO hasn't been criminally charged for their cover-up of the initial breakout in Wuhan. Valuable time was lost to prevent it from spreading across Chinese border, and millions of lives lost

0 ( +3 / -3 )

more than 30 current and former WHO officials were involved in writing the email.

wow so many! Even the WHO can't ignore it now. The staffers that are stuck can't leave due to the pandemic but they clearly cannot take it anymore.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

A horrible little man.

How embarrassing for Japan

0 ( +4 / -4 )

While he should be summarily dismissed and barred from publuc office due to his racism, the corruption allegations regarding vaccine information are far more concerning. The Japan government must have been complicit in such a scheme, and it is a huge black mark for them and the nation more widely if proven. So many here love to tout conspiracies, but to me this looks like the real making of a scheme to profit off the pandemic via corrupt means.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

He won't be reprimanded here, that's for sure... well, unless the world-wide embarrassment becomes too much for the nation. I mean, a LOT of people think the way he does, and even former PM Aso said Japan's low infection and mortality rate from Covid were due to a "superior level of social and cultural standards".

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/06/05/national/japan-low-virus-deaths-high-cultural-standard-aso/

Of course, he became pretty quiet when it was pointed out Japan's rates had surpassed South Koreas and had exponentially gone beyond Taiwan's, which would mean by his argument they are superior.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

smithinjapan,

These entitled fossils, are more prominent, in all shapes, sizes, gender is an after thought.

Women can spit nails, in some cases more venomous than men at there supposed underlings

The overriding quandary for World Health Organization Regional Director for Western Pacific Takeshi Kasai, may not be suspension, or in curcumin-specs even fully investigate his clear alleged bullying and harassing of staff.

All clearly point to WHO lack of statutory responsibility

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Takeshi Kasai should never been considered for the post,

Takeshi Kasai must had form. modus operandi, for his toxic form of management.

Takeshi Kasai needs to be relieved of duty forth with.!!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Bring him back home where he can continue with this attitude unchecked.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Send this moron back to where he belongs!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

When faced with this, it is best to just quit. If uploading footage of his behaviour to YouTube, make sure it cannot be traced back to you. You don't want to be identified as a whistle-blower. Look what happened to Assange. We live in a post-justice as well as a post-truth world, so withdraw your talent and ability, move on, and let any entity that employs such people rot.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Anti bullying laws exist in Europe and USA

Bullying there can direct you to Jail

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Wow! Is this guy for real? He sure doesn’t sound educated. In fact he sounds more like Captain Queeg (sic) in the Caine Mutiny. Relieve him quickly so he doesn’t further embarrass himself

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm surprised WHO hasn't been criminally charged for their cover-up of the initial breakout in Wuhan. 

One reads and hears comments like this all the time. But the questions I ask are this; what nation(s) laws were broken? Name the specific statute(s). To try someone in a court of law the prosecution has to be able to cite specific laws that were violated by the defendant and be able to show how those statutes were violated. Does the nation whos laws he is accused of violating even have jurisdiction to file charges? Can anyone prove there was intent to break the law? Example, Mr. Tedros was cautious with his words early in the pandemic and underestimated the danger in his earliest comments but if you read them he always hedged and qualified his statements that the WHO's evaluation of the situation could change as new information arrived. I know a lot of people here do not like Mr. Tedros but read his full statements and you will see what I say is true.

There are high officials in the CCP who are undoubtedly guilty of willfully hiding the severity of the then incipient pandemic early on and of failing to take measures to control the spread of the virus in a timely fashion, but how does anyone outside of China hold them accountable?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Anti bullying laws exist in Europe and USA

Bullying there can direct you to JaiI

Fired perhaps, even sued but such conduct in the US would be subject to civil rather than criminal law. One could possibly be liable for monetary damages for being a jerk and lose their job but it won't land you in a jail cell. The accused would have to have actually assaulted or battered a defendant, or knowingly discriminated against them in a way that caused the defendant measurable loss, in other words criminal offenses, to put the accused in jail. Just saying bigoted things is not a criminal offense.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

who is so corrupted, nothing came out from them that i can trust, see the way they handled the covid in china,

delayed and misinformed to the whole world. million lives lost. i wonder why the organization still existed,

does this organization deserved any contribution?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

abusive behavior? the way 'who' handled the covid finings in china abused so many lives. should think of what harm they caused the whole world before criticized others?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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