TOKYO May 12 The Japanese government for the
first time released a nationwide list of over 300 companies that
have violated labour laws, hoping this name-and-shame tactic
would help eliminate abuses and prevent "karoshi," or death by
In the list published this week on the labour ministry's
website, major companies such as advertising agency Dentsu Inc
and electronics maker Panasonic Corp are named
for illegal overtime, and a local unit of Japan Post, a
subsidiary of Japan Post Holdings Co, is mentioned for
failing to report a work-related injury.
Abuses such as illegal overwork have become so common in
Japan in the past decade that such companies have been dubbed
"black" companies in the media. Public outrage over long working
hours and the suicide of a young worker at Dentsu in 2015, later
ruled by the government as karoshi, have pushed Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe to make labour reform a key policy plank.
The labour ministry's list includes 334 companies that have
received warnings for excessive overtime and other labour
violations between last October and this March. Regional labour
bureaus had already individually made these cases public, though
they had sometimes withheld the company names.
However, not all companies under investigation are
publicised or included in the list, a labour ministry official
said. The ministry publicises the companies' names only when it
decides doing so would help encourage compliance and would be in
the public good, she added.
The nationwide list will be updated every month.
Abe's government in March endorsed an action plan for
sweeping reforms of employment practices, including caps on
overtime and better pay for part-time and contract workers.
The proposals, which may come into effect from 2019, will
only add to strains already felt by firms grappling with a
deepening labour shortage due to a rapidly ageing population.
That said, more pressure to boost productivity is seen as long
overdue and could boost growth in the long term.
Lawyers and activists, however, have said the steps the
government has so far proposed do not go far enough.
A spokesman for Dentsu declined to comment, and Japan Post
could not be immediately reached for comment. A spokeswoman for
Panasonic said the company takes the labour violation case
seriously and that it will work to prevent such future cases.
(Reporting by Minami Funakoshi; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)