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Labor bureaus to streamline corporate harassment complaint desks

Kyodo

The labor ministry will in April carve out a new, single department to address all workplace harassment complaints to improve corporate consultation services that have been dealt with by different departments, officials said Thursday.

The ministry will set up a single counter at each of its labor bureaus. Currently, sexual harassment (sekuhara) and maternity harassment (matahara) complaints are handled by one section, while so-called power harassment cases are dealt with by different departments. Matahara cases involving pregnant women and mothers have been on the rise.

The segmented approach has led to inefficiencies in cases involving multiple instances of harassment and also has seen different departments issue overlapping admonitions to the same company, prompting the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry to aim for a more integrated approach, they said.

The new integrated department will deal with all harassment cases, from the start of consultations to settlement.

The ministry will also strengthen efforts toward establishing better working environments for both men and women by raising to 271 the number of special officers in charge of giving guidance and raising awareness to companies, according to the officials.

The number of harassment consultations at labor bureaus is on the rise. As of fiscal 2014, consultations for power harassment totaled 62,191, while those for sexual harassment stood at 11,289, followed by matahara at 4,028.