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EXCLUSIVE: Japan Defense Ministry eying new measures against power harassment

  • May 3, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 6:22 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, May 3 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s Defense Ministry plans to compile this summer a set of new measures to prevent power harassment, a senior ministry official told Jiji Press on Friday.

The ministry believes that existing measures have been ineffective, with the number of cases of those being punished over power harassment continuing to increase.

While receiving advice from two outside experts, the ministry will draw up within June a specific direction for new measures, possibly including a review of the defense minister’s orders related to the execution of duties, the senior official said.

One of the external advisers is University of Tsukuba Prof. Ichiyo Matsuzaki, the author of a book called “Crusher Joshi,” or Crusher Bosses, in which he analyzed harassing bosses. The other is Yoshitomo Takahashi, professor at the same university, who is versed in issues related to suicide.

In the book, Matsuzaki says that diversity in human resources tends to be poor at workplaces where crusher bosses have a strong presence.

Measures taken so far by the ministry, including the establishment of a consultation hotline and education against power harassment, have failed to produce results.

The number of cases of power harassment-related penalty at the ministry and the Self-Defense Forces rose to 94 in fiscal 2016 from 42 in fiscal 2013, and to 114 in fiscal 2017.

Apparently behind the increase is the organizational culture at the SDF in which lower-ranked personnel must follow orders from those in higher positions.

The senior official stressed the need to get rid of such internal culture, saying that the SDF cannot be truly strong if superiors use power harassment as a tool to control subordinates.

The plan to work out new measures against power harassment is also believed to reflect the ministry’s hope to change the image of the SDF, mainly among young people, after the number of newly hired SDF personnel has been short of targets in recent years.

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