Gamemaker Sega confines disabled workers

In a revived "solitary confinement room," major video gamemaker Sega Corporation detains two disabled workers without letting them engage in any work together with ten other workers who are All-Japan Metal and Information Machinery Workers' Union (JMIU) members, reported Akahata of April 16.

One, Kusumoto Teruo, a 45-year-old veteran dealing with business game machines, is disabled in one leg. Another, Sonobe Takao, 49-year-old, is suffering from nephritis and undergoing artificial dialysis three times a week.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on April 13 visited some of the segregated workers to encourage them. Kusumoto's mother was also present and told Shii that what Sega has done to her son is merciless.

Shii said, "Sega has not only confined the workers in an 'confinement room' but is also abusing disabled workers. This amounts to infringing on basic human rights in a dual aspect. I want to take up the problem in the Diet in order to end Sega's abusive management techniques."

Facing public criticism, Sega closed the "confinement room" two years ago, but revived it this April to shut in the workers who have refused the company order to transfer to its subsidiaries.

With a plate reading "man-power procurement office" on the door, the 60-square-meter room has only desks, chairs, a desktop computer, and an in-house telephone. The 12 workers must spend from 9:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. just sitting on chairs without a single job to do.

Sendoda Kazuhiko, 55-year-old, says, "Everyday in the room, I never feel the satisfaction of completing a job." He is a skilled accountant to whom other workers come to ask for help.

Kusumoto says, "Sega is harassing us as a warning to punish workers for refusing to accept company orders of transfer to its subsidiaries, so that other workers would more willingly accept the order. We shall block the attempt." (end)