RSS   Newsletter   Contact   Advertise with us
Post Online Media

Japan's labor ministry launches probe into faulty labor data scandal

Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn
Staff Writer | Friday January 18, 2019 4:44AM ET
Japanese worker
Asia   The ministry is supposed to survey all businesses with at least 500 employees

Japan's labor ministry on Thursday launched a probe into the release of faulty jobs and wage data spanning a period of a decade or more that resulted in more than 20 million people not receiving their full benefits.


Japan's Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry convened a meeting comprised of lawyers and statisticians to look into whether top bureaucrats at the ministry knowingly and systematically covered up the improper method for collecting the data, which serves as a recognized barometer of the nation's employment situation.

Government sources said Thursday that some top bureaucrats and other ministry-linked officials will be reprimanded over the matter, which has seen key data collected from only a third of the 1,400 companies required to be surveyed in Tokyo since 2004.

The ministry is supposed to survey all businesses with employees totaling at least 500 people to compile its official Monthly Labor Survey.

Sources revealed Thursday that a systematic practice of referring to a manual mandating a diluted method of gathering data available inside the ministry, may have led to the years of faulty data being collected and released.

Kyoda News reported that the manual, updated every few years and given to those in charge of the survey, included nebulous phrases such as "accuracy of the data can be ensured without surveying all businesses."

The deletion of such phrases since 2015 has led to suspicions that those in charge had tried to conceal their wrongdoings.

Labor Minister Takumi Nemoto told a press conference that the vague phrasing had indeed been removed form the manual and that government statistics that are supposed to be accurate at all times, as they serve as the basis for policy making, had been undermined.

At the inaugural meeting of lawyers and statistics experts convened to probe the issue, Nemoto described the situation as an "extremely grave issue that undermines the credibility of government statistics" and undermines the public's trust in official statistics.

The improper method used for data collection has led to the government being forced to revise the state budget for fiscal 2019.

The government also has to address the fact that unemployment insurance and workers' compensation in some fields applicable to 20.15 million people and to the tune of 53.75 billion yen (493 million U.S. dollars) has gone unpaid.

Vice Labor Minister Toshihiko Suzuki and others involved in the wrongdoing will be reprimanded as early as Friday, sources close to the matter said.

 

What to read next
POST Online Media Contact

 More inside POST