Don't allow parent firms to bully subcontractors -- Akahata editorial, November 8 (abridged)

A law to protect subcontractors was revised in April as a result of the Japanese Communist Party and small- and- medium-sized subcontractors' efforts.

The new law prohibits parent companies from cutting subcontract costs, delaying payments to subcontractors, and unfairly returning or refusing to receive the goods they ordered from subcontractors.

However, large companies continue to bully subcontractors while making unprecedented profits.

During the first half of this year alone, the Japan Fair Trade Commission issued an administrative warning 811 times, up 43 cases from the previous year.

Behind the bullying is corporate restructuring by large companies pursuing more profits.

Large companies are cutting subcontracting costs to a level comparable to that in other Asian countries through sorting out or consolidating subcontractors, procuring supplies from abroad, and standardizing the parts.

A subcontracting machinery maker says, "We receive more orders, but due to the parent company's cruel cost-cutting strategy, the unit price has to be very low."

Parent companies cannot prosper without subcontractors. They should not unilaterally decide the unit cost and instead should comply with the rule to protect subcontractors.

The number of exposed illegal cases is just the tip of the iceberg. In order to prevent parent companies from breaching the law and forcing unfair burdens onto subcontractors, it is essential to systematically carry out on-site inspections by administrative authorities and to increase the number of inspectors as well as impose stiffer penalties. (end)

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