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A male employee of trading house Sumitomo Corp was arrested on suspicion of raping a student after getting her drunk in March. The two met when the student visited the company to get help to procure a job.
After the employee was arrested, Sumitomo announced prevention measures, including a ban on drinking with job-hunting students. The firm has also limited meetings between its employees and students to between 1pm and 6pm on weekdays. They are supposed to take place at facilities within the company. It has also prohibited the use of matching apps.
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Another case involved an employee at a construction company who was arrested after allegedly committing an obscene act with a female student. The two had met via an app intended to link up students and employed alumni.
But companies and universities are striving to address the issue – with Aoyama Gakuin University recently posting an advisory on its website for students, advising job-seekers to steer clear of meeting workers in “closed places such as private homes, pubs and karaoke booths.”
The career centre at a private university in Tokyo got a request for help from a student who said she was receiving numerous messages from an employee of a firm she wanted to join, Nihon Keizai Shinbun reported.
They met at a company-sponsored information session for potential job applicants but she continued getting messages asking her for drinks afterwards.
While current law requires firms to take measures to avert sexual harassment in the workplace – the labour ministry already has established detailed guidelines for firms to follow – the legislation does not cover students searching for jobs.
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The issue of sexual harassment continues to be prevalent in the country. A recent survey of 1,000 working women carried out found that 42.5 per cent had experienced sexual harassment and that more than 60 per cent did not report it.
Japan ranks bottom of the G7 countries on female representation in politics and business. A number of medical universities in the East Asian country last year admitted to meddling with entrance exam scores to deliberately put female applicants at a disadvantage.