Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Power to the Whistle-blowers!

Japan's new Whistle-blower Protection Act came into force 1 April 2006. There have been 2-3 examples recently from smaller companies in the food industry that show how this reform has empowered workers who want to expose frauds in their companies. The effect is indeed contributing to "the sound development of socioeconomy".

Food frauds in Japan, although small in scale, are also getting much publicity abroad. Unfortunately, New York Times journalist Norimitsu Onishi, always eager to paint Japan in the blackest of colours, gets it all wrong in his rambling article, Japan sees candy scandal as a cultural betrayal (link to International Herald Tribune). Eh?

Why the US media thinks "tampering with expiration date labels or recycling supposedly fresh ingredients" will lead Japanese people to think in terms of "cultural betrayal" (or that it "stuns Japan", as NYT put it) is beyond my comprehension. Rather, the fact that workers are now more forthcoming about mistakes and eager to set things right - under the new Whistle-blower Protection Act - strikes me as a very positive development.

1 comment:

Pandabonium said...

I think they mean that companies who do these things are betraying their customers and Japanese culture itself because of the importance their foods have gained over the years in traditions. Not that the fact they are caught is a betrayal. That is a good thing as you say.

That's how I interpret that article anyway.