Do Japanese companies have banishment rooms?

This seems speculative, but of interest nonetheless:

Basically, banishment rooms are departments where companies transfer surplus employees and give them menial or useless tasks or even nothing to do until they become depressed or disheartened enough to quit on their own, thus not getting full benefits, unlike if they were actually let go. Imagine having to stare at a TV monitor for 10 hours at a time each day, in order to look for “program footage irregularities.” Of course companies would not admit to doing this, and instead will make up generic (or even creative) titles and department names like “Business & Human Resource Development Center” or “career development team”. And it’s not small companies that are doing this, but big ones like Hitachi Ltd., Sony Corp., Toshiba Corp., Seiko Instruments Inc., a NEC Corp. subsidiary, and two subsidiaries of Panasonic Corp.

A public relations from the main office of Panasonic said that the BHC section is “training employees to acquire new skills so they can work at different sections,”. 468 employees were added to this department in April, mostly coming from sections that were doing poorly. In short, 1 in 10 workers at the company are at the BHC. So far, only 35 employees have left the company while 29 got transferred to other departments.

Via Mark Thorson, the story is here.  Here is another article about banishment rooms, with more documentation and more legal detail about the difficulties of firing employees.

Elsewhere from Japan, a new and possibly very effective malaria vaccine has been invented.  Here is electronic Samurai sword quick draw and cut trainers.  Here is an argument that competitive vending machines make Japanese inflation more difficult to achieve.


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