Panel Unable to Find Cover-Up over Japan Labor Survey

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Jan. 22 (Jiji Press)--A special investigation panel in a report released on Tuesday stopped short of confirming a cover-up by the labor ministry of irregularities in its monthly labor survey that have led to underpayment of jobless and other benefits.

Still, Yoshio Higuchi, head of the panel, said at a press conference that division-chief-level employees concerned at the ministry, including former workers, have continued to use a flawed survey method "unthinkingly" despite their knowledge that the method is improper.

After receiving the report from the panel, labor minister Takumi Nemoto announced punishments on a total of 22 incumbent and former officials over the labor survey fiasco. Of them, vice labor minister Toshihiko Suzuki was given a warning and will voluntarily return 10 pct of his pay for one month.

Nemoto himself will return all salaries and bonuses he has received since assuming the post of labor minister last October.

While the survey is supposed to cover all business establishments with 500 or more employees, the ministry switched to a sampling method for businesses in Tokyo in 2004.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press