Buraku Liberation News May 1999 No.108

Industrial Federation for Dowa Mondai Issued Report on the Discriminatory Background Investigation.

Some of the member companies of the Industrial Federation for Dowa Mondai, Osaka (Osaka Dokiren), that has been working for eliminating Buraku discrimination, were among the 1400 companies registered as clients of the investigative agencies which made the discriminatory background investigations on job applicants. (please see BL News No. 104&107) The fact was controversial even though they did not necessarily inquire if their applicants were of Buraku origin.

In response to requests from the Osaka Prefectural Government and the BLL, the Osaka Dokiren set up a Fact-Finding Committee, consisted of 44 members. The committee met several times to investigate and review its findings, making a final report in January 1999.

The Osaka Dokiren is a liaison federation established in 1978 for the purpose of committing themselves to eliminating Buraku discrimination as well as to promoting human rights in their corporate activities. The Osaka Dokiren was organized after it was discovered in 1975 that many private firms had purchased Buraku Lists locating Buraku communities. As of April 1999, it has 146 member companies.

Its main activities include holding corporate in-service training and awareness-raising seminars to educate employees on the Dowa issue as well as to reorient the company so that human rights are respected. In addition, the Osaka Dokiren advocates fair screening aimed to promote equal opportunity in employment.

According to the final report, some of the member companies of the Osaka Dokiren (including their related companies) commissioned the investigative agencies to inquire about the background of their job applicants and employees ( including the consultation service), and to conduct aptitude tests as an examination for service.

The items of the background investigations include address, job career, performance of former jobs, reason of retirement, academic career, personality, debt, and political affiliation. The final report pointed out that no counter measures was taken by the clients, although the reports to inquiries that led to discrimination were submitted to them, such as those concerning political ideas and affiliation, religious activities, and family background. In addition, the following are the problems pointed out in the final report.

Those companies put less importance on fair screening in employment. There was a gap between the enlightenment activities on human rights and the daily practices of the companies. The member companies did not provide their related companies with sufficient information on human rights.

Based on such findings, the Osaka Dokiren suggests in the report that background investigation in employment by any means should not be conducted, considering the principle of fair screening in employment and the starting point of the Osaka Dokiren's activities.

In addition, the Dokiren suggests to member companies to organize effective training for awareness-raising, aimed to promote human rights in management and to review day to day practices in the company.

In a corresponding move, the Industrial Federation for Human Rights, Tokyo, also released its comment in March, regretting that they themselves were involved in discriminatory background investigations. They vowed to reestablish the employment system from the viewpoint of human rights protection.

On the other hand, the Labor Minister sent a letter on April 1 to 107 economic and industrial associations, including four major business organizations; the Federation of Economic Organizations, the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Japan Committee for Economic Development, and the Japan Federation of Employer's Associations, asking them to establish a fair screening system in employment by avoiding background investigations.

| Back |