Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Hashimoto clashes with Osaka officials over tattoo survey"

And on and on it goes... From Japan Today, 5/23/12:

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, who launched a crusade to eradicate tattoos from the public sector last week, has announced plans to prevent the promotion and advancement of any city employee who declined to respond to a survey asking them if they have tattoos.

Although small tattoos are now a common means of self-expression in Japan and are no longer indicative of gang membership, the right-wing Hashimoto initiated a survey in Osaka that asked employees of the city government to provide information about visible and concealed tattoos, such as how long they had had them. He has also threatened to dismiss any city worker who has tattoos, Fuji TV reports.

The poll found that 110 workers reported having tattoos, including sea turtles, moons and dolphins. It has been reported that many of the respondents work in public transport and the city waste disposal departments. The government is considering whether to ask public servants with tattoos to find other employment, Fuji reported. 

“We need to have possession of this information. Anyone who doesn’t respond to the survey should be reported to HR and passed over for future promotion. This all goes without saying,” Hashimoto told a news conference, according to Jiji Press.

So far, 513 employees have declined to respond to the survey which was given to about 33,000 workers. Hashimoto says they will be pressed again to give the information before disciplinary steps are taken. “If they insist on having tattoos, they had better leave the city office and go and work in the private sector,” he said Tuesday after the results of the survey were released.

Around 800 teachers and other education professionals have so far refused to respond to Hashimoto’s survey, in the belief that it infringes on their right to privacy. A Kansai-based lawyers’ group has also reportedly asked the city to cease the investigation, which it claims violates workers’ human rights, Fuji TV reported. 

Education professionals were to be included in the “investigation” from Wednesday, but the city’s Board of Education has put off the start date and requested that head teachers’ opinions be heard first.

During Hashimoto’s mayoral campaign, weekly tabloids in Japan claimed that his father and uncle, now deceased, were both gangsters, although it was not reported whether they were tattooed. Nikkan Gendai also reported that a cousin of Hashimoto is in prison for manslaughter. Hashimoto has publicly commented on the stories and has not denied them. 


Update: New article from The Daily Yomiuri Online, 5/31/12: 

15 employees defy Osaka tattoo survey
A total of 15 Osaka city employees refused to respond to a survey conducted this month to search out tattooed employees, reportedly saying the survey "violated privacy" or "was not conducted in an appropriate way," it was learned Wednesday. 

The city government said it will take disciplinary measures, including salary cuts and reprimands, against those who did not complete the survey, as it considers their refusal to be disobedience of a direct order.

The survey was conducted on about 35,000 employees, according to a city official. After May 16, the city instructed 513 employees who did not respond to the survey to respond. Fifteen, however, still did not respond, including those who did not return the survey form and those who refused to fill in blanks other than the one for the respondent's name.

"There should not be an organization in which 'Honesty doesn't pay,'" Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto told the press, referring to employees who responded to the survey honestly.



Eva エヴァ said...

wow I thought the case cannot get any more disturbing but I was wrong, it can...
I wonder if this can somehow result in creating new gangs... perhaps a dolphin gang? :-D

Dan Moeller said...

When I heard about this story, I wondered how the public would react if something like this happened in the US. Crazy and unfair.