New NHK President Katsuto Momii made headlines around the world with his claim that “comfort women” have been a common feature of conflicts involving “every country.” Using sex slaves in wartime, he said, was only wrong according to “today’s morality.” Causing great concern to press-freedom advocates, he also insisted that “when the government says ‘right,’ we cannot say ‘left.’ “
By Hifumi Okunuki Last month, a new ANA commercial hit the airwaves — and quickly ran into some serious turbulence. The scene is Haneda Airport. Two Japanese men dressed as pilots stand with their backs to the camera. “Haneda has more international flights nowadays,” says one. “Finally,” replies the other. “Next stop, Vancouver,” the first man says. … Read more
BY HIFUMI OKUNUKI First of all, I would like to wish a happy new year to all the readers of Labor Pains. While labor news has generally been a gloomy topic of late, it is my hope that this year will bring brighter things for me to write about. As I draft this first column … Read more
By Hifumi Okunuki Illustrations by Time O’Bree Japan’s old calendar called December shiwasu (師走). These two kanji mean “teacher” and “run.” The idea was that the last month of the year is so busy that even a staid, starch-shirted professor finds him or herself scurrying around like a rabbit, trying to get everything done on time. As … Read more
By Hifumi Okunuki Television meant little to me until this autumn. Now, every Wednesday at 10 p.m., I sit squarely in front of the tube, glued to the set for the next hour of the new comedy “Dandarin.” In the show, Yuko Takeuchi plays a stubborn, by-the-book labor standards inspector named Rin Danda who loathes … Read more
Changes to Japan’s employment law effective from 1 April 2013
As of 1 April 2013, Japan’s minimum retirement age will increase to 65 years, with further restriction on scope to refuse re-employment after an earlier company retirement age. New amendments to Japan’s Labour Contracts Act (“LCA”) will also come into effect, concerning fixed term employees and employment contracts.