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.
The Diet, Japan's parliament, on Thursday enacted revisions to the My Number law to link the new national identification numbers to bank accounts on a voluntary basis from 2018 and to basic pension numbers by May 2017. (Jiji Press)
Japan's government and ruling camp are considering unifying liquor tax rates on beer and quasi-beer that now depend on the amount of malt the beverages contain, informed sources said Thursday. (Jiji Press)
The North Pacific Fisheries Commission on Thursday agreed to take steps to curb an increase in saury fishing boats to help protect fish stock in northern Pacific waters over the long term. (Jiji Press)
The town of Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture began its controversial dolphin hunt on Thursday after bad weather delayed the start, according to a local fisheries official, while a separate whaling hunt is due to start at the weekend. (Japan Today)
Police charged 689 people in January-June for the possession, smuggling and use of government-designated "dangerous" drugs, or quasi-narcotics, and related crimes and accidents, the National Police Agency said Thursday. (The Japan News)
Police investigating the murder of a 25-year-old woman in her apartment in Tokyo's Nakano Ward last week, said pieces of a man's skin were found under her fingernails. However, police said a DNA analysis was unable to match it with any of the victim's male acquaintances, Fuji TV reported Thursday. (Japan Today)
Osaka Prefectural Police on Wednesday announced the arrest of a 20-year-old university student for the theft of two sports cars, one of which was used at a racing circuit, reports the Asahi Shimbun (Sep. 3). (Tokyo Reporter)
After a week of speculation, law enforcement said on Tuesday that Japan's largest crime syndicate has chosen to expel 13 affiliate groups, a move that essentially results in the dissolution of the gang, reports the Kobe Shimbun (Sep. 1). (Tokyo Reporter)
Chiba Prefectural Police on Wednesday busted a hostess club in Chiba City for licensing violations, with the business being a source of revenue for organized crime, reports TBS News (Sep. 2). (Tokyo Reporter)