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Japanese government gives teeth to revised Whistleblower Protection Law

  • August 19, 2021
  • , The Japan News , 3:45 p.m.
  • English Press


The government has drawn up a guideline to protect whistleblowers who report corporate malfeasance, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.


The guideline’s main pillar requires companies to punish executives or others who have demoted or cut the salaries of whistleblowers.


Following the passage of the revised Whistleblower Protection Law in June last year, which includes measures to strengthen protections for whistleblowers, the Consumer Affairs Agency has outlined practical applications of the law. Under the law, companies with more than 300 employees are required to set up a reporting channel and investigation system.


Companies will be required to establish a contact point and identify the official in charge in documentation. The guideline also calls for the creation of a system to ensure independence from executives because such officials may deal with accusations involving other executives.


To prevent retaliation against whistleblowers and ensure they are protected, the guideline specifies that companies take disciplinary or other appropriate measures against executives or others who engage in conduct disadvantageous to whistleblowers.


The government is expected to provide guidance or recommendations to companies that violate the guideline and disclose their names if firms fail to make improvements. People in charge of the reporting channel will be required to ensure confidentiality and face a fine of up to ¥300,000 for noncompliance.


Companies with less than 300 employees will be obligated to make efforts to adhere to the guideline, but will not be subject to penalties.


The government plans to release the guideline soon and implement it by June next year.


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