Japanese Whistleblower Wins Damages in High Court

September 2, 2011

The still fledgling protection for whistle-blowers in Japan received a boost by a high court that reversed an earlier decision and rewarded damages to a worker who suffered retaliation through a transfer.

The Tokyo High Court ordered Japanese camera and precision-equipment maker Olympus Corp. Wednesday to pay 2.2 million yen ($29,000) in damages to employee Masaharu Hamada, 50.

Japan is a conformist society that tends to respect the power of companies and demand unquestioning loyalty. A law to protect whistle-blowers was enacted only in 2006.

Critics say it is still inadequate as it does not penalize companies that punish whistle-blowers.

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