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

3. An employee of a construction firm inquired about the location of Buraku areas.

On March 24 the Osaka Prefectural Federation of the BLL held a denunciation session over a discriminatory inquiry of Mr. C, an employee of Ohkura Kensetsu, a major construction firm, whose main office is in Osaka City. The session was attended by C, Mr Kawai, the President of the firm, and staff from the Daito City and the Osaka Prefectural governments, in addition to members of the BLL.

BLL's Denunciation Session
Photo by the Kaiho Shinbun Osaka

According to the findings of the session, C inquired by himself at the Dowa Education Section, Daito City Hall (Osaka prefecture) in October 1996 about the location of Buraku areas in the city because he wanted to have the information in relation to a housing project of his firm. He explained at the session that he thought the housing project would be negatively affected if the project site was located in a Buraku area.He never had any idea that such an inquiry constituted discrimination. According to him, he attended a human rights course at university although he was not given Dowa education during his high school days. However, he did not seriously study the subject since he did not recognize the Buraku issue as an important matter. He was prejudiced that he personally did not want to live in a Buraku area which he thought to be a terrible place, he recalled. On the other hand, Ohkura Kensetsu has belonged to the Osaka Entrepreneurs Liaison Association on Dowa Problem, an organization aimed to promote concern for the Buraku issue among private firms under the jurisdiction of the Osaka Prefectural government, for more than 10 years. However, the firm never had a curriculum of human rights, such as Dowa education, in their training courses designed either for new employees or administrative posts. Even a senior managing director of the firm who attended the session manifested that he had a negative image toward Buraku areas. Criticized by the BLL, Mr Kawai, the President of the firm, apologized for C's inquiry, promising that they would actively take measures to eliminate the discriminatory character of the firm, which he considers to be the company's responsibility in society. The BLL pointed out at the session that medium and small-sized construction firms might have a similar kind of discriminatory character, considering the case of a big firm, such as Ohkura Kensetsu, which has more than one thousand employees. The BLL requested the local government agencies concerned to research on how awareness-raising training is being done among some 160 construction firms which are members of the association and have staff assigned as a Training Promoter on the Dowa Problem. The Osaka Prefectural government responded that they would initiate the investigation in the current year in cooperation with the business circle. In Osaka Prefecture alone, discriminatory incidents related to estates business occurred eighteen times from 1988 to 1994, according to the BLL. Buraku Liberation News reported a similar incident which occurred in Tokyo in No. 93 issue.