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Event Report: Job-hunting Harassment Seminar

On Thursday, August 28th, some members of WomEnpowered International (WE Int.) had the pleasure of joining the “Shu-katsu Harasumento (Job-hunting Harassment)” Seminar hosted by WITS Kabushiki Kaisha, a company heavily involved in children’s education founded in 2003.

The event was the first-ever to be hosted at WITS new Tokyo headquarter and WE Int. members were joined by other job-hunting students and representatives from several companies. WITS President and CEO, Masayuki Kitano opened the event by warmly welcoming everyone to their new office and briefly introducing his company.


Mr. Kitano’s speech was then followed by Ms. Moeka Ono, the night’s guest speaker and representative director of Japan Mental-Up Support Organization. Ms. Ono enlightened the audience on the overall recent trends regarding workplace harassment in Japan. Her affiliated institution holds seminars to prevent corporate harassment at the same time, promote workers’ productivity. Her presentation was very informative and engaging as she allowed us time to analyze situations she mediated in the past as a corporate harassment counselor. The Japanese mindset of “Iwanaku-temo wakaru” (Eng. You (must) understand without explicitly telling you) inevitably reduces the needed communication, and this lack of communication increases distrust between co-workers (e.g. Junior-Senior) which makes it easier for harassment to occur.


What I found really curious was that various harassment cases resulted from miscommunication or lack of communication. For instance, what used to be considered as a joke can easily be misconstrued as harassment or an innocent comment may be taken as harassment when there’s no rapport between the commenter and recipient.


However, because Power Harassment Prevention Act was ratified in May 2019 and will be enforced from April 2020, companies are expected to hold seminars preventing power harassment in the workplace from occurring.


Before the session closed, WE Int. members presented our organization and shared with the audience our members’ thoughts and experiences in Japanese job hunting. The presentation concluded that, as the labor market in Japan is becoming increasingly internationalized, Japanese companies and government must recognize and modify the structural barriers hindering international talents from participating in the mainstream “shu-katsu.” One was is a conscious information-sharing on how Japanese job-hunting works, and another way is to do away with some of the unsaid rules such as OGOB visits (a job applicant must visit one’s college seniors working at the company one is applying) and handwritten resume and personal statements (students fear that if the application documents are typed, the company may think they are “not serious”). The audience was very receptive to our presentation, saying they would be very eager to support the activities of WE Int.


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