The Japan Times
Tokyo, Japan
Sunday, April 4, 1999

Labor scofflaws still running amok
           The March 29 article, "Assaulted woman calls for a victim's rights law," which described Raelyn Campbell's plight with Japan's legal system and her press conference at the Foreign Correspondent's Club, brought back memories for me – some of which I related in this scolumn Dec. 14, 1997 ("Labor scofflaws often go unpunished).
          I fully support Campbell's fight for justice, but I don't think her case is just about women.  Rather, it's about all of Japan's victims.
           Like Campbell, I wrote letters to politicians and the press.  However, no one seemed to care that an English school I had worked for was hiring teachers from overseas to help "internationalize" Japan, but refusing to pay them their wages after they arrived (even though management had already been taken to court by former employees for delinquent wages a few months beforehand).
           Virtually no one, including the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, answered my letters.  In desperation, I once wrote to U.S. President Bill Clinton, whereupon I got replies from the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. State Department, which seemed to suggest that Japan's legal system was the answer.  However, the legal system is the problem.
           In the picture of Campbell's press conference, I notice that she had apparently armed herself with a tape recorder in order to document her story.  This reminded me that the tape I had used to document mine was stolen by the president of the company I worked for.  I went to the police to report the theft, but they suggested I was to blame because I had initiated the lawsuit against the president's company for not paying employees.
           The last I heard, the man who refused to pay us was running a vocational school in Utsunomiya, Tochigi – still hiring people to "internationalize" Japan by teaching English.