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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 March 14 - 20  > Japan Post awarded contracts to its outside board members’ companies
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2007 March 14 - 20 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Japan Post awarded contracts to its outside board members’ companies

March 18, 2007
In the past four years, Japan Post awarded contracts of nearly 700 million yen to a staffing agency run by Okutani Reiko, an outside board member of Japan Post Corp., which is operating as a preparatory company and will become a holding company when Japan Post is privatized in October 2007.

In response to Japanese Communist Party House of Representatives member Yoshii Hidekatsu’s request, Japan Post released contract record showing this transaction.

During the period from April 1, 2003 to February 23, 2007, the staffing agency, The R Co., received 35 Japan Post contracts of 684 million yen. The projects contracted out to the staffing agency include a program to improve postal workers’ customer service (38.25 million yen).

Japan Post also adopted the “Toyota methods”, Toyota Motor’s production system, in order to reduce its workforce and increase workers’ workloads.

According to the material obtained by Yoshii, Japan Post gave Toyota Motor contracts to provide consulting services in order for the “Toyota methods” to take hold, and paid Toyota 297 million yen from FY 2002 to FY 2007.

JCP House of Representatives member Shiokawa Tetsuya revealed in the Diet that Japan Post’s “rationalization” of operations making use of the “Toyota Formula” is essentially nothing but forcing its workers to work without wages. Faced with criticism in the Diet and through postal workers’ struggles, Japan Post paid the workers 3.2 billion yen in back pay for unpaid work.

Five influential figures in business circles became Japan Post Corp’s outside board members, including Okutani and Okuda Hiroshi, a Toyota Motor Corp. advisor and former chair of the Japan Business Federation.

Okutani, who is also a member of the Labor Ministry’s advisory panel on labor policies, has been criticized for her remarks, “Karoshi (death from overwork) is a question of workers’ self-management.”

National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)-affiliated Postal Industry Workers’ Union Secretary General Hirooka Motoho said, “Companies owned by Japan Post Corp’s outside board members are exploiting the postal services.” He went on to say, “We will continue to oppose the privatization of Japan Post and pressure it to make efforts to fulfill its primary duty to provide public services, not pursue profits.”
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