Apparently, there are around 4,000 companies in Japan notorious for forcing young employees to work extremely long hours for minimal compensation, and Japan’s Ministry of Labor is set to start a crackdown on these outfits to end dissatisfaction in the young members of the country’s labor force, and stop exploitative business practices. The ministry has revealed that if gross labor law violations are discovered in their month-long investigation, it would have no choice but to send papers to prosecutors and publicize the names of the offending companies.
A 26-year-old employee – relatively younger than Japan’s median age for workers – has come forward with his story. The employee, a Tokyo resident, joined a clothing company after graduating from university in the spring of 2011 but soon found himself in a terrible working environment. The employee said that his boss yelled at him at a daily basis, and there were not a few times where fists and blows would be traded. “If you don’t reach your sales targets, don’t take holidays,” he was reportedly told. “You’re just a waste of space.” Because of this kind of pressure, the man was forced to do overtime work daily, even coming into the office during weekends. He said that he had clocked in more than 100 hours of overtime every month, but he did not receive overtime pay. Unable to take the environment anymore, he resigned in the autumn of 2012. “I hope the crackdown can prevent even a single case like mine from happening elsewhere,” he said, hopeful of the ministry’s actions.
The ministry has not provided a clear-cut definition of a “black company”, but from common knowledge, they typically tend to hire younger staff members and then make them work so hard that most of them feel compelled to resign. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry labels them as “companies suspected of treating young workers as expendable.” The crackdown will look into the records of companies whose staff turnover rate is higher than average, and those where there have been reports of rampant unpaid overtime.