Japan's labour ministry has started a crackdown on about 4,000 "black companies" that force young employees to work extremely long hours for minimal pay, a step aimed at ending this exploitative business practice and improving their treatment.
If gross labour law violations are detected during the month-long crackdown, the ministry plans to send papers to prosecutors and publicise the names of the offending companies.
The crackdown is intended to help workers like the 26-year-old Tokyo man who joined an apparel trading company after graduating from university in the spring of 2011 and soon found himself in a hellish working environment. His boss yelled at him almost daily, and fists flew from time to time.
"If you don't reach your sales targets, don't take holidays," he was reportedly told. "You're just a waste of space."
The man was forced to work until late every night, and often came into the office on weekends. Although he clocked up more than 100 hours of overtime every month, he did not receive overtime pay. The company hired five new employees every year, but they would soon quit.
Eventually, the man could no longer stand the working environment. In autumn 2012, he resigned.
Japan's farm ministry said Thursday that the highly pathogenic avian influenza found at a poultry farm in the southwestern Japan prefecture of Kumamoto has been confirmed to be the H5N8 subtype, the same virus strain as the bird flu found in South Korea. (Jiji Press )
Train operators in Tokyo and surrounding areas will be shutting down coin-operated luggage lockers at main stations before and during US President Barack Obama's visit next week, as a security measure. (NHK )
Just over one ton of water contaminated with radioactive particulates leaked from one of the containment vessels at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Wednesday, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said. (Japan Today )
Japan is expected to secure the minimum required power supply capacity when electricity demand peaks in August, even if all the country's nuclear reactors remain offline, estimates by major regional utilities showed Thursday. (Kyodo )
Tochigi prefectural police said Thursday that they are questioning a man in his 30s over the murder of a 7-year-old girl in December 2005. Japanese media quoted police as saying that the man, who was arrested for dealing in fake brand-name goods, has hinted at his involvement in the murder. (Japan Today )
People enjoy viewing the 15-meter snow walls of the Yuki no Otani (Great Snow Valley), along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route that passes through the Northern Japan Alps to link Toyama and Nagano prefectures. (The Japan News )
Tokyo prosecutors plan to look into whether a man, who has been arrested for allegedly vandalizing copies of Anne Frank's diary, is mentally competent to be held criminally responsible for his actions, informed sources said Wednesday. (Jiji Press )