Harassment endemic in Japan’s service sector

A new survey from one of Japan's largest unions has found that almost three quarters of Japan's service sector employee face harassment from customers.
By: | September 13, 2018

It’s not easy working on the frontlines. A recent survey conducted by the Japanese Federation of Textile, Chemical, Food, Commercial, Service and General Workers’ Unions (UA Zensen) showed that a staggering 73.8% of Japan’s service sector workers have faced harassment from customers, in various ways.

The union survey showed that the use of abusive language was most cited example by the affected workers, followed by intimidation, threats of violence, and repetitive complaints. Sexually harassing behaviour was also reported.

In one case, a worker was on the receiving end of a death threat from a customer. In another case, a customer burned an employee with a lit cigarette.

Such hostile acts caused 90% of the workers polled to feel stressed, UA Zensen added.

The survey was conducted earlier this year, with more than 30,000 workers from 95 unions giving responses.

Jiro Shimo, deputy chief of UA Zensen, emphasised the need for companies in Japan to draw up measures to protect their employees.

The survey also revealed that more male workers have faced harassment than female workers – almost 80% versus almost 70%.