Sexual Harassment and the Law in Japanese Firms

By Éric Seizelet

The Japanese became aware of sexual harassment only since the mid 1980s. Before this period, sexual harassment was not identified by the firms as a crucial social issue. But in June l997, the revision of the 1985 Equal Employment Opportunity Law provides new provision related to the employers’s obligation of preventing sexual harassment in the work place. This article deals with this process of revision along with scholarly developments and judicial responses through tort and contract liability. Then it focuses on the role played by the Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry in order to ensure the implementation of the new amendment through administrative guidance. At last, on the base of numerous surveys conducted by the Labour Administration and the Institute for Work in the 21st century, it questions the companies’attitudes, balancing between indifference and positive action.


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