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 number of people injured in the earthquake that struck northern Nagano Prefecture over the weekend has risen to 45, according to prefectural authorities, while 690 houses were left without running water. (Japan Times)
The strong earthquake that rocked central Japan on Saturday shifted the skiing city of Hakuba in Nagano prefecture southeast by almost one foot, according to the government's mapping agency. (Wall Street Journal)
Japan's transport ministry last week set up a special task force to deal with air bag-related recalls and has urged automakers to speed up replacements of potentially defective Takata-made air bag inflators, Transport Minister Akihiro Ohta said on Tuesday. (Reuters)
The fraudulent composer once dubbed "Japan's Beethoven" is facing a lawsuit over the cancellation of his tour after it emerged he lied about his work and relied on a ghostwriter, reports said Tuesday.
Police in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, said Tuesday that around 16,000 New Year greeting cards ("nengajo") have been stolen from 26 Lawson convenience stores. Security cameras have captured footage of two men who are believed to be the thieves. (Japan Today)
Murder suspect Chisako Kakehi invested most of the about Y1 billion she inherited from her spouses and lovers in futures trading and other financial products over the past few years, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned from investigative sources. (The Japan News)