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Japan fire department head warned for pressuring workers to get 'My Number' cards

Fire engines are seen in this file photo. (Mainichi)

KOFU -- A central Japan fire department issued a warning to a section head who told workers in an email that their periodic pay raises would be affected if they didn't obtain a "My Number" social security and tax card, judging his actions to constitute power harassment, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.

The head of the general affairs section of the fire department in the Yamanashi Prefecture city of Koshu reportedly told about 30 workers in an email that their pay raises would be affected without the cards, which are based on the individual number issued to all citizens and residents of Japan. People can apply for the cards but are not legally required to have them.

According to the fire department, the email was sent on April 22 to workers who had not applied for the cards. Part of it read "I'm absolutely shocked that applications (for the cards) have not been made," and "It makes me wonder if you're really a public servant."

The email was uncovered after workers who received it made inquiries with the general affairs section. The section head admitted that he sent the email and commented, "I wasn't intending to force anyone. I went too far in what I said."

A representative of the fire department commented, "It's not compulsory to obtain a My Number card, and the section head has no authority to decide on periodic pay increases."

(Japanese original by Shota Kaneko, Kofu Bureau)

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