Buraku Liberation News, May 1997 issue (N0.96)

2. A detective agency was given administrative guidance for their discriminatory investigation.

The Osaka Prefectural government gave administrative guidance on March 31 to a detective agency based in Osaka City for violating the Prefectural Ordinance to Regulate Personal Background Investigation Conductive to Buraku Discrimination, which prohibits detective agencies from inquiring and/or reporting whether any person lives in a Buraku area. This is the first time for the Osaka Prefectural government to give such a guidance against a violator since the enactment of the ordinance in 1985(*1). According to the result of the prefecture's investigation, in November 1996 a retailer requested the agency to inquire into the background of job applicants, including their educational and employment history (*2). In reporting the outline of the results to the client by phone, the agency informed that one of the women applicants was from a Buraku area. This was done even without the client's request for such an inquiry. When the Osaka Prefecture entered the agency and made an investigation on suspicion of violating the ordinance, the agency denied the allegation in the beginning. However, the agency admitted the fact after the Osaka Prefecture's continued investigation. The guidance includes the four points : to establish a system in the company to comply with the ordinance; to conduct a training course to educate about the concept of the ordinance; to keep and properly use the investigation record; and to submit their detailed reports to the prefecture form now for the next three year. This incident first became known through anonymous letters sent to the Osaka Prefectural Federation of the BLL which disclosed that the agency always used two sets of Buraku lists locating Buraku areas and reported to its clients whenever a job applicant of whom the client asked to investigate was found to be from a Buraku area. The letters also indicated that the agency sometimes investigated if a job applicant had relatives with either mental or physical disabilities. While the agency denied the possession of any Buraku list, the BLL requested the prefecture to investigate the fact. Under Article 5(1) of the ordinance, a detective agency shall not investigate and/or report whether any person or relatives of him/her lives or lived in a Buraku area. In case of violation against it, the governor of Osaka Prefecture is authorized to give administrative guidance to the agency. If they fail to comply with the guidance, the governor is authorized to order the agency to suspend its operation for not exceeding one month (Article 9). If they violate the order, they shall be punished with penal servitude not exceeding three months or with a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand yen(Article 13). Editor's notes
(*1) This report is a follow-up of the news published in No. 94 issue.
(*2) It is quite common in Japan for private companies which recruit employees to ask detective agencies to investigate the background of the job applicants, before making a decision regarding employment.