Buraku Liberation News, Sep 1998 issue (No.104)

A Large Number of Discriminatory Inquiries were Disclosed. The BLL Osaka Organized the Task Force to Find All the Facts.

It was recently found out that two major investigative agencies had made inquiries about the background of job applicants, based on the request of their clients, and reported the results to them. On July 2, the Osaka Prefectural Government entered and inspected the agencies on the spot, on suspicion of violating the 1985 Prefectural Ordinance to Regulate Personal Background Investigation Conductive to Buraku Discrimination.

The agencies admitted that they actually conducted the discriminatory investigations. This is the second time for the Osaka Prefecture to inspect investigative agencies since December 1996 based on the Ordinance. The Ordinance prohibits detective agencies from inquiring and/or reporting whether any person lives in a Buraku area.

On the other hand, the Buraku Liberation League Osaka obtained information about the inquiries and has been trying to find out the facts. The companies agreed to participate in a fact-finding session that will be organized by the BLL Osaka.

It has been proved that the two agencies, provisionally called P and Q, made inquiries and reported to their clients about the background of job applicants, including Buraku origin, nationality, ideology and religion.

In documents obtained by the BLL Osaka, the address written on the curriculum vitae of a female applicant was underlined and a mark * was put on it. This mark indicates the applicant is of Buraku origin, according to P and Q. In addition, a note was added that her house was located in a place next to a Buraku liberation community hall, suggesting she lived in a Buraku area.

In the curriculum vitae of a male applicant, a comment says that he may not exactly be of Buraku origin but a similar, though different comment says that he is gentle and diligent. Based on the occupation of his father who is engaged in making leather bags, the agencies apparently concluded that it was better not to hire him.

According to the results of the investigation by the Osaka Prefectural Government so far, from 1992 to 93, P and Q made background investigations of at least 7 people upon receiving requests from 6 corporations.

They made inquiries by dispatching their survey staff to the place where job applicants lived. In reports submitted to their clients, they put a mark* and a comment "It's no longer possible to inquire", suggesting that the applicants were of Buraku origin.

When interviewed by the BLL Osaka, the companies admitted their discriminatory inquiries and expressed their regret for them. They agreed to submit relevant documents, such as a list of their clients, and to attend a fact finding session.

On July 23 the BLL Osaka formed the Task Force to Denounce the Discriminatory Inquiries with Mr. Toru Matsuoka, President of the BLL Osaka, as head, in order to find all the facts, to denounce the investigative agencies and to pursue the responsibility of the clients, as well as to reform the society that has embraced such inquiries.

While P was established in 1979 as a management consultant firm offering several kinds of services, including staff training, manpower resource, planning and public relations, Q was formed as a subsidiary conducting "research", or background investigations.

The clients allegedly requested the services they wanted after becoming members of P. Under such a system, the clients allegedly became members just because they wanted to ask Q to make inquiries about the background of their job applicants.

While many things remain unclear, it was disclosed that more than 1,000 companies registered as members, even including social welfare and medical institutions, extra departmental organizations of the Osaka Prefectural and City Governments, and corporations belonging to the Industrial Federation on Dowa Problem, organized to eliminate Buraku discrimination in regretting their purchase of the so-called Buraku List in 1970's.

The items of the Q's inquiries include applicants' reputation among neighbors, ideology, performance in the previous workplace, in addition to the ideology and life style of their families. Synthesizing the observation of each item, they classified people into four ratings.

Rate A means 'excellent' and rate B means 'ordinary'. While C is 'something to consider', especially concerning the ideology of the parents, they advised their clients not to hire a person with rate D.

If they found out that an applicant was from a Buraku community, they stopped the survey and indicated no rating except * mark.