National

Dentsu ranks say president's exit over overwork scandal only natural but many doubt firm will change its ways

Kyodo

Workers at scandal-hit Dentsu Inc. said Wednesday night that President Tadashi Ishii’s decision to resign was a natural course of action after the suicide of a young employee that was blamed on overwork, while others questioned if it will really change the ad giant’s corporate culture.

“His step-down is a natural decision to avoid the company’s image from deteriorating further,” a midcareer employee said, after watching the president’s news conference aired on the web. Reactions of his colleagues, who also watched the president talk at the news conference, were similar, he said, adding that they had thought Ishii could not avoid resignation.

The news conference was held after the labor ministry referred the top advertising agency in Japan and one of its executives to prosecutors the same day on suspicion of forcing 24-year-old Matsuri Takahashi to work long hours, causing her to commit a suicide a year ago.

“I feel so ashamed and it makes me think of quitting the company. It had scandals before, but this is the first time that a president has to step down,” the employee said.

Another employee said: “Everyone is workaholic here and I don’t think they blame anyone for that situation. It is a bit questionable whether the company can change,” he said.

When the company turned off its lights at 10 p.m., a decision made after Takahashi’s death to keep its employees from working too much overtime, a number of workers rushed to go home. Asked what they think about the president’s resignation, they declined comment.

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