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By imposing a suspension order on the temporary staffing agency Goodwill, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has shown a complete disregard for the people it’s supposed to be helping. The suspension won’t affect only the handful of managers who made decisions that broke the law; it will disrupt the lives of many thousands of people who had nothing to do with the malpractice.

Companies that rely on Goodwill for temporary staff, the temporary staff themselves, and Goodwill’s own employees, with homes to pay for and families to support — all of them will suffer from this ill-considered ruling. As companies go elsewhere for temporary workers, it’s more than possible that the loss of revenue will force Goodwill to reduce its operations and lay employees off.

There are two possible explanations for the ministry’s decision. Either they don’t know that innocent people will suffer, which makes them incompetent; or they don’t care, which makes them inhumane. Whichever is true, it’s hard to avoid the impression that the ministry just took the option that involved least effort on their own part.

It seems that ordinary working people need protecting from their government as much as from bad employers.

peter sidell