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 Hifumi Okunuki

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Hifumi Okunuki
Hifumi Okunuki teaches at Sagami Women’s University and serves as the executive president of Tozen Union (Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union). She can be reached at [email protected]. On the second Thursday of the month, Hifumi looks at cases in Japan’s legal history to illustrate important principles in labor law.
For Hifumi Okunuki's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
Dec 12, 2018
A new law regarding foreign workers brings up old problems
Activists in the field bring up concerns with Japan's new approach to manual laborers from overseas.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
Oct 31, 2018
For work rules in Japan to legally count, employers must hammer them home
Court precedents in Japan have reinforced that work rules lack legal power if they are not easily accessible and known to employees.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
Sep 23, 2018
Abe's work-style reforms give Japan's employers the green light to demand unpaid and unsafe overtime
New law caps overtime at unhealthy levels and sets up a system that will legitimize the principle of working for nothing.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
Aug 26, 2018
Tokyo Medical University scandal is a throwback to when discrimination against women was the norm
Listening to the excuses being given for discrimination today, it's almost as if 1985's Equal Opportunity Act never happened.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
Jul 30, 2018
Japan's courts don't share Mio Sugita's views on supporting LGBT people, precedents show
The country's courts are drawing a line in the sand over discrimination against LGBT people, even as far-right LDP lawmaker Mio Sugita slams support for 'unproductive' members of society.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
Jun 24, 2018
Two Japan Supreme Court cases clarify when discrimination against fixed-term workers is OK
June 1, 2018, saw two verdicts from two similar cases handed down by the Supreme Court, both based on the 2012 amendment to the Labor Contract Law.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
May 27, 2018
Devilish Japanese TV drama makes a mockery of workplace rights
In "Miss Devil," each firing has some deeper purpose that in the end benefits the hapless victim. The lesson boils down to "I know what's good for you more than you do yourself."
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
Apr 29, 2018
Abe walks a tightrope on Japan's foreign worker policy
The foreign proportion of Japan's population remains tiny compared to that in European countries or North America, yet the impact of the growing ranks of foreign workers is considerable.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
Mar 25, 2018
Dodgy data spared Japan's workers from a labor system that's ripe for abuse, for now
At first glance, the discretionary work system looks like a dream come true in terms of work-life balance. On closer inspection, though, it has the potential to be a worker's nightmare.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
Feb 25, 2018
Lessons on life, love and compassionate leave from a silly old bunny
Having just suffered a string of painful losses, this month I will explore compassionate leave (kibiki kyu016bka), the days you take off in Japan after the death of a close family member.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Our Lives / OBITUARY
Dec 24, 2017
Ryan Smith: Father, husband, communist
During the early hours of Tuesday, Dec. 12, Tozen Union member Ryan Smith (aka Jon Doe) took his own life. He was 37.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
Oct 29, 2017
TV drama glorifies the Japanese scourge of working illegally for nothing
In the TBS drama "Rikuo," female factory workers work all hours — some of them unpaid — to make a new type of running shoe.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
Oct 1, 2017
NS Solutions case is latest battle in long war against sexual harassment
The ruling in the NS Solutions case should say a lot about where Japan stands now on the issue of sexual harassment, nearly three decades after the first ruling on this issue.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
Jun 25, 2017
One woman's suicide shines a harsh light on the plight of Japan's doctors
I think many people hold the following preconceived notions of what it means to be a physician. Doctors, we believe, are:
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
May 28, 2017
Job-juggling in Japan: a risky stunt with no safety net
The government has been pushing job-juggling lately, but I have reason to believe that its interests lie not with workers' health and security.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
Apr 23, 2017
The cost of convenience in Japan: when foreign students work instead of study
It's midnight at the convenience store I often patronize near my home in Tokyo's central Shinjuku district. The store's open all day and night, 365 days a year.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
Mar 26, 2017
Overtime deal marks total capitulation by labor
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, long the champion of labor law deregulation, last year announced it was time to place a legally binding upper limit on overtime hours.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
Feb 26, 2017
Japanese need to take more leave, starting with when beloved pets pass
A recent survey corroborates the stereotype many folks have of the Japanese worker: In short, their work is endless and breaks are few and far between.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
Jan 29, 2017
Tokyo court rulings chip away at labor unions' right to free speech
Workers sued for millions of yen over protests outside the company that fired them take their case to the Supreme Court.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LABOR PAINS
Dec 25, 2016
Worrying times for job security in Japan
The year 2016 was no walk in the park for workers nationwide. At one extreme, we have Matsuri Takahashi, a 24-year-old worker who felt she had no other choice but to take her life as a result of overwork.

Longform

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