Tokyo Medical University scandal is a throwback to when discrimination against women was the norm

Flabbergasted. That was my feeling last week reading the news of an example of brazen institutional sexism and fraud 33 years after the enactment of the Equal Employment Opportunity Law. Each year since 2010, Tokyo Medical University fraudulently lowered the scores of female applicants who took the annual entrance exam, keeping the percentage of young … Read more

Japan’s courts don’t share Mio Sugita’s views on supporting LGBT people, precedents show

Lawmaker Mio Sugita of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party found herself embroiled in controversy when the August edition of Shincho 45 was released on July 18. “Support for LGBTs has gone too far” screamed the headline of her article in the magazine. This hard-right politician is already infamous online for her claim that the wartime … Read more

Abe walks a tightrope on Japan’s foreign worker policy

The number of foreign nationals working in Japan reached its highest-ever level in October 2017 at 1,278,670, according to a study by the labor ministry (bit.ly/mhlwhoudou). The foreign proportion of the population remains tiny compared to that in European countries or North America, yet the impact of the growing ranks of foreign workers is considerable in Japan, where the myth of ethnic homogeneity stubbornly persists (despite the existence of minorities, such as the Ainu and Okinawan people). What is this impact?

Well, that depends on the type of citizen being impacted upon. Let’s divide the citizenry into three broad categories based on their basic attitude toward foreign residents in general.

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中労委は、組合妨害阻止命令を支持

中央労働委員会は、2018年3月29日(木)に、東ゼン労組が文際学園を相手に不当労働行為の救済を申し立てた件について、東京都労働委員会の命令を支持するという判断を下した。
東ゼン労組は、2013年に同学園が組合活動である情宣活動を妨害したと、主張して東京都労働委員会に不当労働行為の救済を申し立てた。それに対して、都労委は2016年1月に、文際学園に妨害を阻止し、組合に謝罪するよう命令した。

Lessons on life, love and compassionate leave from a silly old bunny

This month I will explore compassionate leave — called kibiki kyūka in Japanese — the days you take off after losing a close family member. I chose this topic because I recently suffered a string of painful losses. Please bear with me as I relate to you what has happened to my loved ones over the past couple months.

Do you remember my granny bunny? I told you about her and the need for pet loss leave exactly a year ago in my February 2017 column, “Japanese need to take more leave, starting with when beloved pets pass.” Readers from around the world wrote to me in response to that article, empathizing, expressing warm wishes, like “I wish I could have taken off work after I lost my hamster” and “I feel such sadness when I remember my cat’s death.”

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Court cases shine a light on Japan’s problem with paternity leave

BY 

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The Japanese government wants to raise the number of fathers taking paternity leave from 2016’s 3 percent to 13 percent by 2020, but two recent court cases show how hard it can be for some fathers to take their legally mandated paternity leave — especially if difficult pregnancies complicate the situation before the child is born.

On paper, mothers and fathers are entitled to take child care leave (ikuji kyūka) at the same time for up to a year and receive two-thirds salary for the first six months and half salary for the second six months. However, eligibility depends on having worked for your current employer at least a year and expecting to be employed a year later.

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Why Japanese people keep working themselves to death

TOKYO — Years after losing his son, Itsuo Sekigawa is still in shock, grief-stricken and angry.

Straight out of college in 2009, his son Satoshi proudly joined a prestigious manufacturer, but within a year he was dead. Investigators said working extreme hours drove him to take his own life.

The young engineer fell victim to the Japanese phenomenon of “karoshi,” or death from overwork.

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