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Criticism of 'professional system' continues in upper house labor committee

Yoshie Komuro (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- The House of Councillors' Health, Labor and Welfare Committee heard opinions from five people including experts on June 12 concerning a series of work-reform related bills passed by the lower house, with the controversial "high-level professional labor system" once again taking center stage.

"Currently, among the companies that have come to us for consulting, there are almost none that have said that they wish to introduce the high-level professional labor system," Work-Life Balance Co. President Yoshie Komuro told the committee of the system, which is designed to exempt some specialists with high incomes from labor hour regulations. Stressing the difficulty of putting such a rule into practice, she continued, "Any company that introduced the system would have their management abilities called into question."

Japanese Trade Union Confederation (JTUC-Rengo) Executive Deputy President Naoto Ohmi also commented, "No matter the kind of work or job type, even if it is high-level or there is high pay, we cannot allow for the corrosion of the bodies and minds of workers due to excessive labor," showing strong opposition to the proposed system.

Emiko Teranishi, representative of the "Zenkoku Karoshi o Kangaeru Kazoku no Kai" (National association of families considering death by overwork), and Labour Lawyers Association of Japan secretary-general Ichiro Natsume were also present to make their opposition to the system known to the upper house committee.

On the other hand, Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) Labor Legislation Bureau senior officer Yuko Nunoyama showed support for the system, saying, "The revision reflects the changing times."

(Japanese original by Shunsuke Kamiashi, City News Department)

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