NHK: TV Program In Japan About The Whistleblower Who Revealed Meat Hope's Dirty Practices

I'm definitely going to try to remember to watch the program tonight at 22:00 on NHK about the whistleblower who revealed the dirty practices at Hokkaido-based Meat Hope:

Being a whistle blower isn't easy anywhere... The story of Kiroku Akabane, the man who alerted the authorities to the mislabeling of ground beef products at his company, Meat Hope, in 2007, risked more than just his job, as shown in the docudrama "Tatta Hitori no Henran" (The Rebellion of a Single Person; NHK-G, Tues., 10 p.m.).

Using interviews with Akabane and dramatic recreations, the program explains what became the first in a series of labeling scandals that rocked the food industry. Akabane revealed that Meat Hope was mixing bread crumbs and even rotten meat into its ground beef products, and did so without hiding his own identity. As a result, the president of the company went to prison, and is still there.

Akabane paid, too. He faced stiff opposition from his colleagues and the food industry in general. What's more, his family was dragged through the dirt.

(From The Japan Times column Channel Surf)

The docudrama たったひとりの返乱 was originally aired in July 2008. Henran also means uprising or war. Nice choice of word for an effort that really shook up Japan's insular and secretive meat industry back in 2007.

Let me add this:
内部告発 naibu kokuhatsu is the Japanese kanji compound for the noun whistle blowing, and it works as a verb like in English if you add -suru. A whistle blower is a 内部告発者 or naibu kokuhatsu-sha.

The legislation from 2006 is called 公益通報者保護法 (Japanese) and an English translation is available here: Whistleblower Protection Act (pdf). I prefer the term Public Interest Disclosure which is 公益 koueki (public interest) 通報 tsuuhou (disclosure, report or tip) - perhaps a better translation and a little more positive - any thoughts?

The system is explained in more detail on the government's
Consumer Affairs Agency page. There is also a hotline website with telephone numbers if you need help.

Good to know if you are working in Japan and thinking of exposing something particularly nasty your company is involved in.

More on Kurashi: Meat No Hope Co.


Geoff Carr said…
Looks like a good story - I'm going to try to find a copy of the broadcast to use in a class. A quick word though - the title should be たったひとりの反乱, not たった一人の変乱, shouldn't it? I just happened to catch that when I clicked through to the link.
Martin J Frid said…
Thanks for the comment, kanji corrected. NHK uses the simple form while I used the complicated.

Good program to use in class, if you can find it. It had a lot of depth about the moral dilemma and the difficulties to decide to do the right thing. "I didn't want to become a hero" was Mr Akahane's conclusion.

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