Foreign Policy Blogs

TEPCO cuts salaries, cancels jobs

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday that it will cancel plans to hire 1,100 new employees and cut the salaries of all its employees in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

The company said in February that it planned to hire 1,100 upcoming graduates from 6,500 applicants. The company will forgo hiring new employees for the first time since 1951.

The company plans to cut annual salaries by 50 percent for its chairman, president, vice-president and managing directors; 25 percent for its managers and 20 percent for its rank-and-file employees.

TEPCO’s 19 board members received an average salary of 37 million yen ($450,000) last year. Under the 50 percent cut, the members will have to somehow make ends meet on 18.5 million yen ($225,000). While I agree the board members should take a pay cut, I don’t think it is fair to the rank-and-file workers to cut their pay by 20 percent. While TEPCO’s labor union accepted the pay cut because it “has taken seriously the fact that many evacuees are forced to live in shelters and (the nuclear accident) has had a serious social impact,” the nuclear crisis was the fault of the executives’ incompetence. Another reason the 20 percent cut for the rank-and-file employees is unfair is because the executives will be able to get by much more comfortably on 18.5 million yen than the rank-and-file will be able to get by on 80 percent of their former pay.

TEPCO workers will have no choice but to shut up and take the pay cut. In Japan’s hierarchical society, everyone learns from a young age to kiss up, put up and shut up. Japan has a duty-bound work culture, and it would be considered unethical for the employees to complain to their superiors that the 20 percent cut in their salaries is unfair.



Dustin Dye

Dustin Dye is the author of the YAKUZA DYNASTY series, available through the Amazon Kindle.

He lived in Okayama, Japan, where he taught English at a junior high school through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program for three years. He is a graduate from the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

His interest in Japan began in elementary school after seeing Godzilla fight Ghidorah, the three-headed monster. But it wasn't until he discovered Akira Kurosawa's films through their spaghetti Western remakes that he truly became fascinated in the people and culture of Japan.

He lives in Kansas with his wife, daughter and guinea pig.

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E-mail him: [email protected]