Manga publisher hit with lawsuit

Kyodo

A former employee of Akita Publishing Co. is suing the company for ¥3.3 million in compensation and her job back after she was fired for pointing out the company was lying about how many free prizes it was giving to readers.

The suit against the Tokyo-based firm, which publishes Mystery Bonita, Princess and other manga magazines for girls, was filed Wednesday with the Tokyo District Court by the 28-year-old woman, for whom sending gift products to lucky readers was part of her duties.

Akita Publishing said it fired the woman for pocketing some of the gifts.

According to her lawsuit, the woman joined the firm in 2007 and was assigned to the editorial department, which produces manga for female readers aged 10 to 18. She said when she learned about the inflated number of prizewinners, she reported it to her supervisor.

She claims she was told “not to breathe a word of it to anyone.”

According to her suit, after she protested such conduct, her supervisor and other employees repeatedly harassed her verbally and attempted to force her to quit, saying she would have to leave if she wasn’t going to listen to them.

She says she suffered severe health problems due to the abuse and overwork.

The woman was officially told she would be fired for disciplinary reasons when she was on medical leave in February 2012 for an adjustment disorder, and the dismissal was made official a month later.

“I’ve dreamed of becoming an editor of manga stories since my childhood and this dream has been shattered,” the woman said at a news conference after she filed the suit. “I have never stolen any gifts. I have not received any apologies and I can’t forgive the company.”

The Consumer Affairs Agency determined in August that Akita Publishing had overstated the number of gift winners and ordered the company to take measures preventing any future violations.

Instead of 50 winners who were supposed to receive barrettes with ribbons, only three got their prizes.

Two Nintendo DS Lite game consoles and six ¥10,000 gift certificates good at department stores across Japan also were never sent.

  • Denny Pollard

    Many Japanese companies have learned from the American scam companies and are making claims that are not true to lure more people to purchase their products. Then when a person with ethics stands up to the abuse they are then abused themselves. For all the good things Japanese companies do it’s these companies that lie and cheat that will defeat the Japanese economic boom. The few rotten apples will spoil the whole basket and investors will not come to Japan to do business for fear of being part of the problem of lying and cheating to make a yen (buck). At least Japan still has a few people that will stand up to the company abuse, but the government needs to back the whistle blowers who are trying to protect Japanese integrity by exposing abuse.
    The world see’s Japan as being a honest country and all Japanese as be honest in everything they do. The lying companies will tarnish the Japanese for ever just like in China and the world will turn against them.

  • Heather Murray

    That is sad. Hopefully they find out the truth of it all. I love manga.