Regarding the May 23 Kyodo article “Hashimoto: Answer tattoo survey or else“: The debate surrounding tattoos on public employees in Osaka can evoke a lot of emotion, so it is helpful to approach it from clearly defined principles.
First, there was no past restriction on hiring people with tattoos.
Second, tattoos are not illegal. They may be associated with organized crime, but that is based on perception, not reality. Additionally, although I am not an expert, aren’t organized crimelike tattoos quite distinct in size and subject matter from tattoos that the average person might have?
Finally, all hiring is based on the concept of a contract. Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto is proposing to unilaterally change the conditions of that agreement by demanding previously private information from employees about whether they have tattoos.
People may agree with Hashimoto that tattoos do not belong on public employees, but I think they would also agree that it is unfair to change the rules of the game while the players are on the field. A compromise would be best in this case.
Let employees who have tattoos remain eligible for promotion, provided they make a reasonable effort to cover them, then inform applicants that the city will no longer hire people who have tattoos.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.