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.
Increased seismic activity raised concern Tuesday about the possibility of another eruption at a Japanese volcano where 36 people were killed, forcing rescuers to suspend plans to try to recover at least two dozen bodies still near the summit. (seattletimes.com)
The eruption of Mount Ontake in central Japan has revealed serious holes in efforts to ensure the safety of tourists and local residents near volcanoes, gaps that can be remedied only through more communication between local governments and the country's climate agency. (Nikkei)
Police in Tokyo said Saturday they have arrested a 24-year-old clerk at the Tokyo District Court and a 39-year-old employee of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ on suspicion of molesting a woman in her 20s on the subway. (Japan Today)
The summit of Mount Fuji for the first time has been successfully photographed in far-away Kyoto Prefecture, one of 20 prefectures where, given the right conditions, the mountaintop can be viewed. (Japan Times)