“Work to the death”: Fukuoka city mayor’s request recognized as harassment by city council committee

 On the 14th, the City Council’s 100 Articles Committee compiled an investigative report certifying a total of eight cases of harassment against employees by Hidetoshi Shiokawa, mayor of Miyawaka City, Fukuoka Prefecture. The results of the investigation will be presented at a general meeting on the 20th. Following the city fairness committee’s recognition of the harassment in February, the city council also criticized the mayor’s actions.

 The 100-article committee investigated the facts of the harassment based on the results of a survey of the city employee labor union and other factors over a period of about six months from December 2023. In February, they questioned Mayor Shiokawa as a witness. On that day, the 100-article committee passed the draft investigation report by a majority vote.

 The 100-Article Committee recognized Mayor Shiokawa’s harassment as including repeated comments to employees, “I work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You guys have no time to sleep either. Work to the death.” Seven other instances of power harassment, including comments to an employee who took three days off for bereavement, such as, “What are you talking about taking time off at a busy time? What did you do for those three days?” Additionally, comments to a female employee after asking her age, such as, “Do you have any children? Were you late in giving birth?”, were deemed to constitute sexual harassment.

 The report pointed out, “Mayor Shiokawa’s words and actions are unacceptable, regardless of the trust he has with his staff. He also showed a lack of consideration for the human rights of his staff, and his conduct was inappropriate for the mayor, who is the person ultimately responsible for city administration.”

 Mayor Shiokawa is scheduled to hold a press conference after the general meeting on the 20th. [Takashi Okamura]

Miyawaka City Council’s 100-Article Committee Deems Remarks by Mayor Harassment, Fukuoka Prefecture.

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▽Power harassment

・Repeatedly stated, “I work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You guys have no time to sleep either. Work to the death.”

・To an employee who took three days off for bereavement, “Why are you taking time off during such a busy time? What did you do for those three days?”

・”Is a simple ‘I’m sorry’ enough?”

・Tell staff to stop

・Slamming the desk and shouting at staff

While being briefed on the matters under his jurisdiction in the mayor’s office, he suddenly became enraged and shouted, “You are not the ones who decide policy. Why are you making these decisions on your own?” while repeatedly slamming his writing implement on the desk.

“That’s why Miyawaka City officials are no good.”

▽Sexual harassment

– After asking the female staff their age, they asked, “Do you have any children? Were you late in giving birth? Did you have a normal birth or abortion?”

20% of workers in Miyawaka City, Fukuoka say they have been harassed by the mayor

FukuokaFukuoka city mayor'sMiyawaka Cityharassment against employees by Hidetoshi ShiokawaPower  harassment

 The results of a survey of employees conducted by the Miyawaka City Employees’ Union in response to the issue of Miyawaka City Mayor Hidetoshi Shiokawa repeatedly harassing employees in Fukuoka Prefecture have been revealed. Approximately 20% of respondents said they had “been subjected to harassment,” and approximately 60% said they “had witnessed or heard about harassment,” with many calling for the mayor to resign.

 According to sources, the survey was conducted in December 2023 among around 240 employees, including managers, with 138 people responding.

 Specific examples of harassment experienced by employees included when they took three days off for bereavement, they were told, “Hey, what are you talking about taking time off at a busy time? Tell me what you did for those three days,” they were told, “You’ve completely disappointed me. If you can’t do your job, quit,” they were called suddenly into the mayor’s office and severely reprimanded, with “You’re late, I’m the one calling you,” and they were told, “Information leaks to the assembly right away. All section chiefs are your enemy.”

Fukuoka City Mayor “Acknowledges Harassment” in Response to Corrective Recommendation from City Fairness Commission

FukuokaFukuoka city mayor'sMiyawaka Cityharassment against employees by Hidetoshi ShiokawaPower  harassment

 In response to a joint petition filed by several employees of Miyawaka City, Fukuoka Prefecture, requesting improvements to the workplace environment, alleging that Mayor Hidetoshi Shiokawa (75) had repeatedly engaged in power harassment against employees, the city’s Fairness Committee on the 13th acknowledged the acts of harassment and recommended that Mayor Shiokawa take corrective measures.

 According to the city fairness committee, in September 2023, Mayor Shiokawa scolded the male section chief, saying, “You should be told off now. If you can’t stand it, quit.” In January 2023, a married couple of employees…

Parents appeal lawsuit to clear son’s name after teacher’s power harassment – difficult to predict suicide

 ”He told me that watching people like you makes him want to kill people.” Six years ago, a male Ground Self-Defense Force member (22 at the time) committed suicide, leaving a suicide note in which he described the pain he had endured from power harassment by an instructor. The Kumamoto District Court handed down a ruling on the 19th in a lawsuit filed by his parents seeking a total of 81 million yen in damages from the two instructors and the government, but the parents appealed on the 28th. The ruling ordered the government to pay 2.2 million yen, but what exactly did the court admit, and what did it not admit?

 The man was a corporal in the Western Army (Kumamoto City). He had been deployed to a training unit in Nagasaki Prefecture since September 29, 2015, aiming for promotion to sergeant, but took his own life in his lodgings about a week later, on October 7. In his suicide note, he wrote that he had been told that he “felt like killing people” and that “the thought of being humiliated every day in front of 103 people was unbearable.”

“Power harassment by Fukuoka’s Miyawaka mayor” – Multiple employees file complaint with city fairness committee

 It has been revealed through an interview with the city fairness committee that several employees of Miyawaka City, Fukuoka Prefecture, have jointly petitioned the city fairness committee to improve their working environment, accusing Mayor Hidetoshi Shiokawa (75) of repeatedly engaging in power harassment against employees. He is said to have made abusive remarks such as telling employees to “quit.” The city fairness committee has also received audio recordings of some of the remarks, and said it “wants to confirm the facts before deciding how to respond.”

 According to the city fairness committee, nine complaints of power harassment were filed on the 27th. In September, at a meeting attended by several city employees, Mayor Shiokawa scolded a male section chief, saying, “You’d better be told off now. If you can’t stand it, quit.” In October, he also allegedly told the same section chief, “Wear your helmet. If you do, I’ll hit you with a bat.”

“It’s like a time bomb” – Akashi Mayor retires after making another abusive remark – why is he so angry?

FukuokaFukuoka city mayor'sMiyawaka Cityharassment against employees by Hidetoshi ShiokawaPower  harassment

 ”I won’t forgive you if you vote in favor of the censure motion,” “I’ll definitely defeat you in the next election.” To take responsibility for his intimidating remarks to city council members, Mayor Fusaho Izumi (59) of Akashi City, Hyogo Prefecture, announced in mid-October that he would step down from politics at the end of his term. He said that his “pent-up anger just exploded,” and in an instant, his 11-year career as mayor, which included implementing generous child-rearing support measures, was blown away. What is it about Izumi that makes him so angry? We explore his personality through the testimony of people involved.

 The abusive language was made on October 8th. A ceremony to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of Akashi Municipal Futami Elementary School, Izumi’s alma mater, was being held at the gymnasium where about 100 people had gathered.

 According to a source close to the matter, after checking in, Izumi spotted a female city council member from the Komeito Party on her way to the guest seating and slowly got closer. “You know, if you vote for the censure motion, I won’t forgive you,” he said three times in a low voice. Once he was seated, he also threatened the city council chairman, who was a member of the Liberal Democratic Party faction and was sitting next to him. “Don’t mess with me, you’ve brought up the censure motion. I’ll definitely defeat you in the next election.” The atmosphere was so tense that people around him rushed in to stop them.

Fuse of Anger

 The motion to censure had been submitted two days earlier by 13 city council members from the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito. It called for deep reflection, stating, “We can see an attitude of making decisions based on one’s own subjective opinion and excluding opinions that contradict one’s own.” The background to the motion was the issue of Izumi posting tax data for certain companies on Twitter.

 ”Zero doesn’t really mean anything,” Izumi tweeted in February 2022, showing a document listing the tax rates of companies with factories in Akashi City. It was later deleted, but criticism swirled in the city council. In June, the special investigation committee (Hyakujo Committee) passed a report stating that there was a “strong suspicion that this constituted a leak of secrets.” Some city council members filed a complaint with the Kobe District Public Prosecutors Office in August on suspicion of violating the Local Tax Act, and Izumi was cornered.

“I have citizens behind me.”

 Izumi does not have a strong power base in the city council. His family has been fishermen in Akashi for generations. After working for NHK and as a secretary to a member of parliament, he became a lawyer and served one term as a member of the House of Representatives before running as an independent in the 2011 Akashi mayoral election. Having narrowly defeated the candidate supported by the majority of the assembly, including the Liberal Democratic Party, he has been in conflict with the assembly over personnel and business matters since taking office as mayor.

 ”I’m the one who proposes things. The council members are the ones who decide. If it doesn’t work, you can oppose it.” That’s Izumi’s favorite saying…


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