Dentsu may be stripped of 'family-friendly' certification

Kyodo, AP

The labor ministry is considering stripping advertising giant Dentsu Inc. of a certification that shows it is a “family-friendly” company, following the death of several employees from conditions related to overwork.

“We want to take strict measures, including taking back (the ministry-given certificate),” Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki said at a news conference Friday.

The government certifies companies that support workers raising children after they meet criteria such as a high ratio of workers taking child-care leave and efforts to reduce extra work hours.

Companies that obtain the certification are eligible to use a special logo to promote their efforts.

Dentsu was certified as a family-friendly company in 2007, 2013 and 2015. As of the end of June, 2,570 companies had been given the certification.

Shiozaki said the labor authority is now investigating working conditions at Dentsu, noting, “We’ll respond strictly based on the results of the probe.”

He added that the ministry may consider tightening the certification criteria.

Dentsu employee Matsuri Takahashi, 24, committed suicide on Dec. 25 last year after working more than 100 overtime hours a month. Earlier this month, the Tokyo Labor Standard Inspection Office determined that overwork pushed Takahashi to take her own life.

Two other former Dentsu employees have been previously also found to have died from overwork — a 24-year-old in 1991 and a 30-year-old in 2013.