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Japanese studio Toei gets labor advisory over unpaid overtime on 'Kamen Rider' series

A Toei Co. employee is seen during a news conference on labor practices at production sites, in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on April 14, 2022. (Mainichi/Takashi Kokaji)

TOKYO -- Major film firm Toei Co. has been slapped with a labor inspection office advisory for failing to pay an employee for overtime work on the popular "Kamen Rider" action series.

    The woman in her 20s and the General Support Union labor group reported the development at an April 14 news conference. According to the union and other sources, the woman joined the company in 2019. She had been doing overtime of more than 45 hours per month at production sites -- hours arranged under a labor-management agreement. She started working on the Kamen Rider franchise's 50th anniversary title "Kamen Rider Revice" in November 2020.

    The Chuo Labor Standards Inspection Office in Tokyo had issued advisories to Toei three times since November 2011 over violations of the Labor Standards Act and Industrial Safety and Health Act. The office pointed out that the firm had failed to keep tabs on the woman's work hours and pay her for part of her overtime.

    The woman said it had become normal for her to work 13-plus hours a day, and she's been on leave since June 2021. She told reporters, "I hope this will create an environment where others in the industry who've been hurt feel they can raise their voices."

    A Toei representative commented, "We have already submitted a report (to the labor inspection office) on improvements. As we're in the middle of collective bargaining talks with the union, we'd like to refrain from releasing details."

    According to the company website, Toei was founded in 1951 and has 372 employees. Its business includes film and TV program production, streaming and educational movie production.

    (Japanese original by Takashi Kokaji, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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