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2013 June 5 - 11 [POLITICS]

‘Black Corporation’ Award winner for worst working conditions will run in summer election on LDP ticket

June 7, 2013
A CEO of a notorious restaurant chain winning the 2012 “Black Corporation” Citizens' Prize will run in the House of Councilors proportional representation election this summer backed by the Liberal Democratic Party.

The “izakaya” restaurant chain, Watami Co., Ltd., last summer won the very top placement in an Internet vote to decide the worst company in Japan in regard to working conditions.

Company Director and Chairman Watanabe Miki entered the Tokyo Metropolitan gubernatorial election two years ago with support from the major LDP rival, the Democratic Party of Japan.

A Watami-affiliated casual dining restaurant in 2008 forced a female employee to work overtime for more than 140 hours a month, driving her to commit suicide. The Labor Standards Inspection Office later recognized her death as work-related.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, in response to Japanese Communist Party Dietmember Yamashita Yoshiki demanding the eradication of black corporations, stated that the government “will instruct that long hours of work should be restrained and will strictly deal with serious violations of the law” (March 6, UH plenary session).

However, Watanabe stated that he was asked to become an LDP candidate directly by the prime minister at a dinner meeting just one month after this Diet deliberation. The prime minister’s and his party’s sense of ethics deserves to be questioned.
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