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73.8% of Japan workers in the service sector are harassed by customers: survey

JIJI

A labor union survey showed Tuesday that 73.8 percent of Japan workers in the service sector have faced harassment from customers.

Of them, over 90 percent felt stressed due to such unreasonable acts, according to the survey by the Japanese Federation of Textile, Chemical, Food, Commercial, Service and General Workers’ Unions, or UA Zensen.

The proportion of male workers who have faced harassing customer behavior stood at 79.5 percent, and that of female workers at 69.7 percent.

Use of abusive language was most cited, by 24.8 percent, followed by threats or intimidation, by 21 percent, and repetitive complaints, by 14.9 percent.

In one of the reported cases, a worker was given a death threat from a customer, according to the survey. In other cases, a customer put a lit cigarette on a worker’s skin and another pointed a cooking knife at an employee.

Various cases of sexually harassing behavior were also reported, including the use of offensive language and physical contact.

“It’s important for companies to draw up measures to protect their employees,” said Jiro Shimo, deputy chief of UA Zensen.

“Society as a whole should promote necessary measures, including the establishment of related legislation.”

The survey was conducted in February-May, with 30,396 workers from 95 unions giving valid answers.