3rd Issue of 2008 No,148

Market Research Company in Osaka Investigates Locations of Buraku Neighborhoods

A market research company in Osaka was revealed to have conducted investigations into the locations of Buraku neighborhoods in preparing reports for its clients. BLL Osaka convened a meeting to address this discriminatory scandal on February 2nd, and committed to uncovering the whole truth. The discovery was made when relevant information was provided to Osaka Prefecture in January 2007. The same information was also given to BLL Osaka, which conducted its own inquiry.

The discriminatory investigations were conducted by the Osaka branch of a Tokyo-based market research company. Upon requests from ad agencies and developers, the company conducted regional appraisals around condominium construction sites and collected information on market price trends.

The report included information about the locations of Buraku neighborhoods under the subtitle "locality." Osaka Prefecture began an inquiry under the Osaka Prefectural Ordinance for the Protection of Personal Information. Information on whether or not a neighborhood is a Buraku is particularly sensitive information requiring special caution. Furthermore, as the report included prejudiced language that could foment Buraku discrimination, Osaka Prefecture questioned the company, which acknowledged the issue and deleted the information in question according to the prefecture's recommendations. The company also prepared a plan for self-improvements and a declaration not to repeat the same behavior in the future to submit to Osaka Prefecture.

BLL Osaka also collected relevant information and held a meeting with the company in November 2008 to confirm facts and interview company researchers. During the meeting, the company admitted to the facts, made an apology, and promised to cooperate in uncovering the complete truth regarding the incident.

According to BLL Osaka investigations to date, the company sent its researchers to sites upon clients' requests. The researchers collected information from neighborhood residential builders to identify the presence and locations of Buraku neighborhoods. This information was shared by all company staff and the reports were made available to the entire company. The reports were also used when clients asked about Buraku neighborhoods. This indicates the information on Buraku locations was used not only in the preparation of reports, but also for other purposes. As this represents a malicious discriminatory scandal based on land, BLL Osaka will further investigate the case and approach the company's clients and relevant industrial bodies to resolve the issue and seek improvements.

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