Terrie's Take 944 - Feudal Bank Culture Collides with International Laws, e-biz news from Japan

Terrie's Take terrie at mailman.japaninc.com
Mon May 14 00:04:22 JST 2018

* * * * * * * * TERRIE'S TAKE - BY TERRIE LLOYD * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd, a long-term 
technology and media entrepreneur living in Japan.

General Edition Sunday, May 13, 2018, Issue No. 944

- What's New -- Feudal Bank Culture Collides with International Laws
- News -- JPY8,630,000 of debt for every resident...!
- Upcoming Events
- Corrections/Feedback - No nightlife in Kyoto
- Travel Picks -- History and Sorrow in Tsuwano, Shimane-ken
- News Credits

SUBSCRIBE to, UNSUBSCRIBE from Terrie's Take at:

http://www.japaninc.com/terries_take, or,


Feudal Bank Culture Collides with International Laws

Even in 2018 the capacity for Japanese major corporations and 
politicians to shock us with their obliviousness towards social trends 
and changing standards is astounding. Such as the comments by 72-year 
old living fossil Kanji Kato, an LDP MP who reckons that aged single 
women are a burden to the state, and that young couples have a national 
responsibility to raise at least three children. One wonders if Kato's 
ideal world would be a Japan stuck in the Tokugawa era?

http://bit.ly/2IaEabX [Perhaps this is Kato's idea of the position of 
women, young followers, and probably foreigners, too?]

The senior management of some large Japanese companies, especially those 
focused on manufacturing or finance, don't seem much better. The 
hard-headed punitive ideas of these dinosaurs running billion dollar 
businesses, is that men sacrifice to the company, and women sacrifice to 
their men, and both should show absolute loyalty as one would expect 
from one's "soldiers" (oh, sorry, today they're called employees...). 
Yes, well needless to say, this smacks up against the realities of the 
21st century, where if you want to participate in such international fun 
stuff, like politics, military alliances, trade, and tourism, then there 
is a price to pay - that being an expectation to adopt the social 
standards of the global society you want to scrounge off. Samurai pride 
and slash-and-suicide just doesn't cut it any more.

In today's Take we interview someone who thought they were joining a 
Japanese multinational investment banking corporation, only to discover 
that in reality, they had stumbled into a feudal society that Saigo 
Takamori would have been proud of. That corporation was Mitsubishi UFJ 
Morgan Stanley Securities (MUFJMSS). Our interviewee is Glen Wood, who 
was until recently one of MUFJMSS's top sales managers. We think readers 
will agree that his case is a classic clash between a feudal senior 
management and an international employee, and, inconveniently, national 
labor law.

Also interesting is the fact that Mr. Wood's case is not the only one 
with the firm, and a similar case will be tried in New York shortly, 
which will force MUFJMSS to face up to its international obligations - 
especially considering the billions in assets the company has at work in 
that country.


[Interview starts here...]

TT: Your story is well disseminated in the press. Essentially you 
claimed paternity leave, a legally provided employee entitlement, and 
you were harassed and eventually fired from your position at Mitsubishi 
UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, here in Tokyo.

GW: That is correct. My son was to be born overseas. I inquired with the 
Canadian Embassy to see what the process was to get him a passport so 
that he could return to Japan. It meant that I would need to be overseas 
for a period of 3 to 4 weeks at least to get the passport and return. 
When I first approached the firm about this they said that there was no 
company policy allowing such leave, and so I should "look into it" myself.

I did this, and discovered that Ikujikyugo or Maternity/Paternity Leave 
is a very liberal and strong program in Japan with a strong legal 
backing.  Any mother or father can take up to 12 months off per child. 
Compensation during this time off is from the government - not the 
corporation. The responsibility of the corporation is two simple things: 
1, to accept the application, and 2, to return the person to their job 
upon return from leave. Unfortunately, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley 
Securities did neither and instead started treating me badly - giving me 
the proverbial runaround with bureaucratic forms, asking for DNA tests, 
verbal harassment, etc.

https://bloom.bg/2Gb7Tf3 [Bloomberg coverage of the case]

TT: What are your key legal arguments as to why what MUFJMSS did is illegal?

GW: There are 4 key claims in my case: 1. Blocking me from taking 
Paternity Leave, 2. Taking away my job when I returned, 3. Stopping my 
salary while still under contract (the company stopped paying me in 
October last year), and 4. Wrongful Dismissal - the company suddenly 
decided to fire me in April this year. The key reason they give is my 
performance (and that I spoke with the media about this case). However, 
my evaluations were always very positive, I performed well above 
expectations - doubling the revenue made by the team under my 
management, and there was never any "warning". We are asking for my job 

----- Foreign Entrepreneurs Business Plan Competition -----

Tokyo Star Bank's new initiative, the Foreign Entrepreneurs Business 
Plan Competition 2018, gives foreign entrepreneurs an opportunity to 
become the next star in Japan's business scene. The Grand Prize winner 
of the competition will be awarded a whopping JPY1,000,000 in funding. 
Only foreign nationals living in Japan or foreign-born Japanese are 
eligible to apply. In addition to judges, the final selection stage will 
also be attended by venture capitalists and private equity funds looking 
for new businesses in which to invest. The deadline for applications is 
June 8. Applicants must submit several documents including a business 
proposal in Word or PowerPoint that is up to 20 pages long.

For more information: http://bit.ly/2HhXZul

[...Article continues]

TT: Why do you think you were targeted? Or is this systemic?

GW: Our team was about 30 people globally. Doing some basic research I 
found that 14 people over the past 10 years under the current management 
had  faced harassment. Most cases ended in monetary settlements with the 
company and where they signed non-disclosure agreements. Several had 
gone to court. There is currently a second lawsuit by one of the team 
members based in New York. His claims are already public information and 
revolve around harassment/discrimination from the same management team.

http://bit.ly/2Ihs258 [Coverage of Mr. Fujii's case in New York]

TT: We understand that the senior manager responsible for the original 
bullying, is going to retire shortly. How do you feel about that? Do you 
think he is being let go quietly as the company realizes that his feudal 
attitudes have damaged the company?

GW: I understand 7 people of our current 30-member team have already 
"left" the company. This includes the head of New York and the head of 
London. Tokyo management is said to be leaving in September. The company 
has also recently set up "harassment training" which seems to show that 
they know they have a problem and are at least superficially trying to 
make adjustments. On the other hand, they continue to deny any 
responsibility for both of the current lawsuits.

TT: We find it amazing that MUFJMSS has willingly allowed such a torrent 
of bad PR to besmirch the company name. Surely it would have been better 
to release the perpetrator after it became clear that you wouldn't give 
in without a fight? Is this all about pride? Or something else?

GW: It is puzzling for sure. As a manager I would have dealt with both 
of these cases as soon as they emerged. It leaves me to believe their 
strategy is: 1, realizing there are many outstanding "me too" cases they 
don't want to set a precedent, 2, by dragging this on in the courts they 
hope the plaintiffs will run out of resources and walk away, 3, by 
dragging the process out they hope that public attention will wane, 4, 
they are trying to save face and avoid admitting any problem and/or 
responsibility - although as I said, by starting harassment training and 
dismissing the perpetrators, they appear to be essentially admitting 
fault, and 5, simple hubris.

TT: Management-level bullying of employees, male or female, is endemic 
in "traditional" Japanese companies. It's even viewed as a time-tested 
martial training technique. Surely you knew this when you joined the 

GW: I have been in Japan for 30 years. I read/write/speak Japanese 
fluently and have worked in Japanese companies and for the Japanese 
Government in the past. I love Japan and always strive to be overly 
culturally sensitive. Perhaps I was naive in this case but I never 
imagined how extreme the harassment could be until I saw it first hand 
at MUFGMSS. I have, needless to say, had a great education through this 
experience and I hope to leverage that experience in jobs going forward, 
either returning to my job at MUFGMSS or by applying that experience 

TT: When and how were you finally fired?

GW: April 9th this year, by letter.

TT: What are you doing now, apart from preparing for the law suit?

GW: The law suit is taking a great deal of my time, however I am also 
writing a book about my experiences that I hope this will highlight the 
key issues and perhaps help corporations and individuals to avoid these 
types of situations in the future. In the end this is about Human 
Rights, such as the basic human right to have children and continue 
one's career while doing so. Or the right to get sick and yet still be 
able to return to one's job. Or the right to be able to work without 
being harassed.

TT: What is the timeline for the lawsuit, and apart from your own 
lawyer, have you been given any informed opinions about your chances?

GW: Apparently these types of lawsuits typically take about 2 years in 
Japan. If we continue on to the Supreme Court it will take much longer. 
We are prepared to persevere and I look forward to the educational 
experience. The opinions from my lawyers as well as several other third 
party lawyers are that we have a very strong case. It is quite black and 
white really, which makes MUFGMSS actions even more puzzling. 
Buttressing my case will be what happens in New York, which is also very 
clear cut. In Mr. Fujii's case, his legal team have applied via the EEOC 
(Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and they that received the 
Right to Sue already.

TT: What's the significance of the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity 
Commission) in the New York case?

GW: The EEOC is a US federal organization. Typically it gets involved in 
issues directly or indirectly related to discrimination, where it has to 
rule that an EEOC filing is appropriate. To get such and ruling, the 
EEOC does an investigation and then issues a "no cause" or a "right to 
sue" decision - so it's powerful. If a right-to-sue ruling is issued 
then the employee has the right to file a suit within 90 days and the 
ruling is a very positive influence. Mr. Fujii in New York was granted 
right to sue and has recently officially launched the lawsuit in the 
southern NY district.

TT: What are the core claims in the New York case and how will they 
influence your case?

GW: The lawsuit is actually quite explicit in describing what happened 
with Mr. Fujii. It's disgraceful to be honest. Discrimination, 
harassment, wrongful termination, abuse described in detail. And, 
obviously, the management is the same as in my case - it's a very small 
Global team. The lawsuits will be evidence in each other's cases and 
from any vantage point they show a clear pattern of harassment.

TT: What about opinions saying you will lose?

GW: In many ways, we have already won. Changes are occurring and the 
message is out. I have been contacted by many in Japan saying that their 
situation improved because of this case. Great news indeed. I'm not on a 
crusade to change Japan, I just believe in Human Rights and believe that 
Japanese corporations should follow Japanese Law. I have not heard a 
lawyer say they thought we could lose.

TT: Given that the Japanese legal system doesn't support the concept of 
punitive damages, what can you realistically expect as compensation?

GW: We are asking for my job back. If the company does not wish to do 
that, then they will need to take monetary responsibility for forcing me 
to retire early.

TT: Is it worth the effort?

GW: Yes indeed. As I said, we have already achieved many wins here.

TT: While all the publicity has been great in raising awareness of the 
feudal nature of some of Japan's bedrock companies, at the same time, 
your name on the Internet will be forever tied to this case. Do you 
think this harms your prospects in the future?

GW: I can't imagine a better education than the personal and direct 
experience I'm getting in dealing with this issue here in Japan and with 
a company like MUFJMSS. I believe this experience will put me in good 
stead for future management roles in Japan and abroad.

TT: What have you learned from this experience? What should other people 
be aware of?

GW: Only 3% of Japanese men take Paternity Leave. The Abe government 
says they want to increase that to 11% by 2020. Of the 3% who take 
paternity leave, some 60% are harassed and/or lose their job. Many women 
just quit when they pregnant and if they return their responsibilities 
are greatly diminished and they are harassed. This provides great 
perspective as to why this nation's people do not have children. It is 
also a tremendous opportunity for employers who are willing to treat 
people with respect and to be flexible in encouraging families, to come 
out publicly and say so.

TT: Are you done with the investment banking sector? What do you plan to 
do next?

GW: I love my job and would be happy to continue. That said, I come from 
a very diverse background, having been a pianist and having worked in a 
government think tank previously. so I am considering a variety of options.

TT: How old is your son now? How is his health?

GW: Alexander is 2 and a half now. He came prematurely and it was 
touch-and-go for a while. He was in NICU for several weeks. Although my 
paternity leave was not approved and I was forced to take Kekkin 
(absence from work) in order to be with him at the hospital, thankfully 
he is doing well now.

...The information janitors/


--------------- Cycle Japan's Highest Road ----------------

Japan Travel is proud to announce the next it its "Explore Japan" series 
of get-aways. This time it's our Cycling and Sightseeing Tour from the
Japanese Alps to Kyoto, scheduled to run from September 1 - 10, 2018. A 
highlight of the tour is traversing Japan's highest road.

Join this carefully designed bike tour for advanced cyclists, and get 
ready to explore the nature, history and culture of Japan along stunning 
rural roads and the famous Nakasendo Trail and through the ancient 
capital of Kyoto. For this special tour, Japan Travel partners up with 
Peter Link, a knowledgeable, experienced and reputable guide and cyclist 
who will bring you the best of Japan and make sure your trip is truly 

Shop the tour here: http://bit.ly/2jX9kFv

+++ NEWS

- Kinshicho crows are the smartest
- Real cost of hay fever in Japan
- JPY8,630,000 of debt for every resident...!
- Kerfuffle over arrogant military man
- SoftBank gets extra US$35m bill on tax haven income

=> Kinshicho crows are the smartest

Cute article about a crow in Kinshicho that swiped a women's card while 
she was recharging her pass, and subsequently tried to use it on another 
ticket machine. The video is now unavailable on Youtube.com, but as the 
article states, there is no doubt that crows are super smart birds. 
Twitter user @kinoshi42155049, who posted the original video to Twitter, 
apparently said the crow returned the card to its owner. ***Ed: How many 
readers know about the "Crow Prison" at Yoyogi Park, where the wardens 
lock up crows who have been bad boys (dive bombing kids, stealing food 
from picnickers, etc.)? To lock them up means the wardens think the 
birds are smart enough to figure out why they are there and get trained 
out of such behavior once they are released again...** (Source: TT 
commentary from sciencealert.com, May 10, 2018)


=> Real cost of hay fever in Japan

Interesting article from CNN about the real cost of hay fever in Japan. 
Apparently the Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute has calculated that the 
country will lose about JPY200bn in productivity because of hay fever 
sick days and partial incapacitation of employees who do show up. 2018 
will be one of the worst hay fever years on record, with about 50% of 
Tokyo residents suffering effects of pollen allergies. This is up from 
30% of residents in 2008. Authorities finger the over-planting of cedar 
and cypress trees around the capital after WWII. ***Ed: Of course, on 
the upside, pharmaceutical firms are doing a roaring business with mask 
and drug sales.** (Source: TT commentary from money.cnn.com, May 04, 2018)


=> JPY8,630,000 of debt for every resident...!

While we're being distracted news-wise by the rise in the stock market 
and various political events, we should remind ourselves that nothing 
has changed at the core of the government, and the politicians are still 
spending like crazy and doing very little to curb their excesses. The 
finance ministry says that central government debt for FY2017 (through 
to March 31st, 2018) is now at JPY1,087,813,000,000,000 - a new record 
high. This is an increase of about 10% over FY2016, and looks ready to 
continue at a similar pace through this year as well. ***Ed: We also 
need to be reminded that this level of public debt is the worst, by far, 
of any advanced nation. Currently we're at 240% of GDP, followed by 
Greece at 180% of GDP!** (Source: www3.nhk.or.jp, May 05, 2018)


=> Kerfuffle over arrogant military man

Japan Time's Phillip Brassor covers an incident where anti-rearmament 
lawmaker Hiroyuki Konishi was harangued on the street near the Upper 
House members' office building in Tokyo by an off-duty officer of the 
Self-Defense Forces. Apparently the SDF officer's vitriol included 
telling Konishi that he was "disgusting" and an "enemy of the people" - 
similar phrases used by the Japanese military before WWII. The tirade 
continued for a full 30 minutes. The Defense Minister has since 
apologized for the officer's behavior. ***Ed: As Mr. Brassor points out, 
the SDF is becoming more politicized as its leadership pander to PM Abe 
and his revisionist colleagues**  (Source: TT commentary from 
japantimes.co.jp, May 12, 2018)


=> SoftBank gets extra US$35m bill on tax haven income

The Japanese Tax Office has presented SoftBank with an additional tax 
bill of US$35m for income relating to three international subsidiaries, 
owned out of Bermuda and Singapore. The Tax Office declared that US$875m 
in earnings over the last four years should have been reported in Japan 
as well as in the jurisdictions they are based in. Softbank apparently 
disputes the findings, but seems resigned to pay. The company said that 
the extra tax amounted to double taxation. ***Ed: Indeed, they might 
have had a stronger case if they hadn't sought to shield the income in 
Bermuda...** (Source: TT commentary from bizjournals.com, Apr 18, 2018)


NOTE: Broken links
Some online news sources remove their articles after just a few days of 
posting them, thus breaking our links -- we apologize for the inconvenience.


------ www.Japantravel.com Community Manager Vacancy ------

The Japan Travel community is made up of over 30,000 people in Japan and 
around the world, consisting of journalists, photographers, 
videographers, tour guides, and more. We have created over 30,000 
articles, complete with 200,000+ photos and 1,000+ videos. Our web 
presence includes the eponymous www.japantravel.com and related social 
media, available in 13 languages and counting. The Japan Travel 
community operates on a creative reputation-building model, whereby 
members contribute on a points and rewards basis. As they invest time 
and energy to help Japan Travel, we offer our active supporters 
commercial opportunities for additional revenue.

Our community manager role will be a bit different to the normal 
description - which is usually about building brand to a relatively 
passive audience. Rather, we are looking for a highly motivated person 
to build the community as a business. Responsibilities will include 
increasing the work-reward value for our contributors, increasing new 
contributor intake and engagement, and helping to shape the 
contributions to match market needs. More details available to 
interested parties.

All inquiries to info at japantravel.com.


=> No events this week.



*** In TT-942 we ran a news item about tourist night life options 
missing the mark. A reader responds about the situation in Kyoto.

=> Reader: A bit of feedback from my experience in Kyoto with the 
tourism industry and small businesses, including nightlife. Tourism is 
up but it's not doing much at all for the nightlife industry, such as 
bars, pubs, clubs, late-night eats, etc. The biggest chunk of traffic 
increase is people from East Asia and Southeast Asia, who are just not 
into the night scene.

Take Chinese tourists for example. They typically travel in big groups 
with or without family. They visit the famous places, shop, dine, and 
then go straight back to the hotel, which means zero gains for the 
nightlife industry. But it does boost sales at the combini next to the 
hotel. Western tourists do go out, but it's generally limited to the 
more adventurous types or those being guided by locals. A lot of people 
would like to experience the nightlife here but don't know where to go 
and can't read up about it. Too many obstacles.

"Hey look! An Irish pub. I know what that is. Check it out, English 
menu! Great. I guess I'll have a Guinness." --> Misses the unique 
experience you can have at a Japanese bar, unless you meet a friendly 
local at the pub to help you navigate the scene. BTW, I have a friend in 
Kyoto whose small tour company actually does offer nightlife tours. 

As was pointed out, public transport is also a big issue. It shuts down 
too early. This limits your transport options if you want to stay out 
without taking an expensive cab ride. Walking in an unfamiliar city or 
illegally riding your bike after drinks (if you could even find legal 
bike parking to begin with) don't cut it. I sometimes wonder if some 
almighty taxi industry lobbyists are behind the early public transport 
shutdown times! I often hear western tourists complaining about this 

Westerners are indeed fascinated by the exotic services offered in 
Japan, but this industry is just not open to non-Japanese. Language 
barrier, cultural barrier, safety concerns, etc. I don't see that 
changing any time soon.


--- Japantravel.bike fully operational - rent one today ---

The www.japantravel.bike One-Day Rental Cycle Pass service is officially 
launched, and we offer more than 5,800 power-assisted bicycles all over 
Tokyo. The service is developed on top of the DOCOMO BIKESHARE bicycle 
rental platform, and offers a new smartphone interface, which provides 
international tourists easy access, a fast-payment system, and 
multilingual customer support. Passes start at a flat rate of JPY1,620 
for a basic rental at the bike port (more for pre-bookings), and renters 
can use the bicycle or any replacement, for up to 24 hours (from 00:01 
to 23:59 each day). 500+ bicycle ports across Tokyo allow convenient 
rental and return to any port within the area. JapanTravel.Bike is 
currently available in Tokyo and Nara, and will be coming soon to other 
major cities in Japan.

To rent one: www.japantravel.bike


=> Tsuwano Japan Heritage Center, Shimane
A look back in time: Tsuwano from 150 years ago

"Tsuwano: Then and Now: A Walk through the Hyakkeizu" (One Hundred 
Views); has been designated as one of Japan's National Heritage stories 
by the Agency for Cultural Affairs in 2015. The Tsuwano Hyakkeizu 
depicts the Tsuwano Domain at the end of the Edo era, about 150 years 
ago. It is a fascinating work that provides a glimpse of the scenery and 
customs of that time. However, it is not just the book's drawings that 
have became part of Japanese Heritage but the town of Tsuwano itself and 
the efforts of its people in preserving their traditions and heritage.

Thanks to these peoples' efforts, some of these book's scenes can still 
be seen today in Tsuwano such as: Youmeiji Temple, Yasaka Shrine 
Tsuwano, Taikodani Inari Shrine, Tsuwano Castle Ruins, Washibara 
Hachimangu Shrine and the Waterfalls of Tsuwano. The festivals of the 
Tsuwano domain are also represented in these drawings, like the Yabusame 
Horse Archery festival in spring, the Heron Dance and the summer Tsuwano 


=> Otome Toge St. Maria Chapel, Shimane
The place of martyrdom for the hidden Christians

Tsuwano has many famous historical spots, but Otome Toge is one where 
the history itself is not one of achievement, but rather of hardship and 
sorrow. Christianity was forbidden for most of the Edo period (1600 - 
1868), but in the first year of the Meiji period (1868) hidden religious 
followers revealed themselves in the hope that thawing foreign relations 
would create more religious tolerance. Unfortunately, for a five year 
period, the prosecution of Christians became even stricter than before. 
The Meiji government arrested 3,000 believers and sent them to different 
parts of Japan. It was in this turbulent time, when 154 Christians were 
sent to the Tsuwano domain, where they were put in out buildings around 
the former Korinji Temple, near Otome Toge pass in the mountains behind 
the Tsuwano castle town.

The Tsuwano domain itself did not have a community of Christians (that 
we know of), and taking in these prisoners was an undeniable order from 
the central Meiji government. For five years, the believers were 
tortured with different methods, from being ordered to abandon their 
faith and trample on holy paintings, being starved to the brink of death 
from hunger, through to being thrown into the semi-frozen pond next to 
the temple during the winter. Very sad.




SUBSCRIBERS: 6,121 members as of May 13, 2018 (We purge our list regularly.)


Written by: Terrie Lloyd (terrie.lloyd at japaninc.com)

HELP: E-mail Terrie-request at mailman.japaninc.com with the word 'help' in 
the subject or body (don't include the quotes), and you will get back a
message with instructions.

Send letters (Feedback, Inquiries & Information) to the editor to 
terrie.lloyd at japaninc.com.

For more information on advertising in this newsletter, contact 
ads at japaninc.com.

Get Terrie's Take by giving your name and email address at 
http://www.japaninc.com/newsletters/free_sign_up, or go straight to 
Mailman at:

http://www.japaninc.com/terries_take or, 

Copyright 2018 Japan Inc. Communications Inc.

----------------- Japan Inc opens up Japan ----------------

J at pan Inc authoritatively chronicles business trends in Japan. Each 
posting brings you in-depth analysis of business, people and technology 
in the world's third largest economy.

Visit www.japaninc.com for the best business insight on Japan available.

More information about the Terrie mailing list