Burakku kigyou, literally translated as black companies, are companies with physically and mentally terrible working conditions. These kinds of companies treat their employees very badly, for example making them work excessive overtime, but then not paying them properly for it.
Recently a map of black companies has been released, plotting such companies on a nationwide map. This has received a big response online since the beginning of December when it was initially released. The companies, each represented as a skull icon on the map, are ones listed in a report on violations of relevant Labor Standards Laws recently released by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
The image of Japan covered with skull icons has shocked a lot of people.
On the website, you can also find a list of burakku kigyou and furthermore search for companies by the law and regulations they violate. In addition, you can also search by prefecture.
Although there is no standardized definition of “black company”, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare states some general features. For instance, they force their employees to work an unreasonable amount of overtime, or assign an extreme level of responsibilities. Other issues include having a poor sense of compliance, not paying for overtime and/or letting abuses of power run rampant. Furthermore, they put certain employees in a disadvantageous situation when making decisions involving all the staff.
Regarding the working conditions of foreign staff in particular, issues such as not paying foreign technical intern trainees for overtime, and terrible working conditions have recently been highlighted as especially problematic. In fact, the Ministry of Justice documents disclosed the fact that the number of deaths of technical intern trainees has risen to 174 over the last eight years, since 2010. The news caused a lot of controversy just before the reform of the Immigration Control Law.
When looking for a job, it is advisable to decide on a company to enter after making sure that the employer doesn’t have any troublesome issues like ones stated above.
We also hope that by putting out things like the map of black companies and making this kind of information public like this will motivate corporations to improve their working practices as much as possible.
［Reference］A map of black companies