Fifty-three of the nation’s top 100 companies have created sections for accepting in-house whistle-blowers’ reports about wrongdoing in their companies, according to a Kyodo News survey released Monday.
One of the remaining 47 companies said it has devised a plan to set up such a section, with 30 others are considering setting up such sections, according to the survey of 100 firms selected according to such standards as profitability and public familiarity.
Seven of the 47 said they have arranged for existing departments, such as personnel affairs sections, to collect tips from whistle-blowers.
Nine firms said they have no plans to establish such contact venues.
The Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) has been requesting that its member firms set up in-house divisions for whistle-blowers to forestall a recurrence of scandals like those that have recently hammered Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Mitsui & Co.
Responding to another query in the questionnaire-based survey, 72 of the 100 said they have already set up or decided to create in-house sections for securing compliance with laws so they can improve corporate governance.
Fourteen of the remaining 28 firms said they plan to ensure legal compliance by enhancing the functions of their existing legal affairs departments.
Only 37 of all responding firms said they have a mechanism for shielding whistle-blowers from possible internal retaliatory steps.
Another 11 said they plan to introduce such mechanisms, while 20 said they will consider doing so.
Whether in-house sections for whistle-blowers prove useful hinges on the efficiency of the mechanism for shielding them from retaliation.
Five of the 100 said the government needs to enact legislation similar to the U.S. law for shielding whistle-blowers from internal retaliation, while another 39 said the necessity of enacting such legislation appears to have risen.
But 36 companies said they are against such legislation, as scrupulous whistle-blowers should be protected “on the basis of a company’s own efforts.”
Sadayuki Sakakibara, president of Toray Industries Inc., said, “I question the appropriateness of creating a mechanism that could encourage in-house accusations.”
Nintendo Co. President Satoru Iwata said priority should be placed on forestalling corporate wrongdoing on the strength of “a company’s own ability to rid itself of any wrongdoing.”
Shiseido Co. President Morio Ikeda, who spearheaded Nippon Keidanren’s efforts to devise measures to forestall a recurrence of corporate scandals, said, “Priority should be placed on fixing the ethical values of top managers.”
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