Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co. said Monday it has reached a negotiated settlement with labor union members over alleged discrimination targeting employees who are members of the Japanese Communist Party.

In the settlement mediated by the Tokyo District Court, IHI, a Tokyo-based builder of ships, heavy machinery and aerospace equipment, agreed to pay a total of 168 million yen.

Three current and five former employees sued IHI in March 2000, demanding it pay 340 million yen in damages over discrimination related to pay and career advancement.

IHI voiced regret that its personnel management had provoked accusations of discriminatory treatment, including sexual discrimination, the plaintiffs told a news conference.

One of the eight plaintiffs is a woman.

IHI agreed to pay compensation, including an amount equivalent to the difference in wages received by the plaintiffs and other employees, retroactive to 1985, they said.

The plaintiffs alleged in court that IHI drew up a list of employees with JCP membership on the basis of an in-house policy document dubbed the “ZC plan administration list.”

ZC is short for zero communists.

Plaintiff Ko Watanabe told the news conference: “This is epoch-making in that we have secured a victorious out-of-court settlement in an extremely short span of time for a lawsuit of this nature.

“We hope the company will correct this abnormal ideological clampdown that has been in place for many years at this company.”

IHI said in a statement: “It is a fact that we have settled a lawsuit filed by some employees after the court recommended that we reach an out-of-the-court settlement.

“We will make efforts to ensure that a dispute of this sort will not take place again.”

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