Nearly half of female temp workers who became pregnant or gave birth while employed have experienced various forms of "maternity harassment" at the workplace, more than double the rate for those with full job status, the welfare ministry's first survey on the issue has found, indicating people in weaker positions are prone to being tormented.

The survey by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare covered some 3,500 women aged between 25 and 44 with jobs or work experiences in the past. It was conducted in September and October.

According to the survey, 48 percent of female temp workers responded that they have experienced harassment at the workplace after becoming pregnant or giving birth, compared with 21 percent of women will full employment status.

The termination of job contracts is a typical consequence of such harassment against temp workers, the survey said.

Inconsiderate comments from bosses, such as "You are annoying" and "You'd better quit" are also common, according to the survey.

The outcome may question the policy drive of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has championed empowering women and focused on support measures for working women.