According to the Asahi article, the labor bureaus have been sending warnings to such companies for at least two years. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry conducted a survey in 2004 and estimated that there were 870,000 ukeoi laborers in Japan at the time. What’s more, most of the workers who replied to the survey were under the impression that they were temp workers, not contracted workers. When I read this a red flag went up in my mind. Two years? More than 300 companies and 870,000 workers? Why is this news now? Why wasn’t it news last year?
Actually, it was. It’s just that the media covering it don’t answer to advertisers. The muckraking weekly Shukan Kinyobi has mentioned giso ukeoi in its coverage of labor disputes, and the Communist Party organ Akahata has made something of a crusade out of the issue. In addition, there are blogs and Internet Web sites that have talked about the problem. There’s even one in English.