The Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW) has reported that the number of consultations about bullying and harassment made to prefectural labour bureaus and others in fiscal 2016 reached about 71,000 cases, marking a record high for that category of consultations for the fifth consecutive year. The number of consultations overall was about 255,000 cases, a rise of about 10,000 cases over the previous year.
According to the MHLW, besides bullying, categories with a high number of consultations included voluntary retirement in which workers were not being allowed to quit even though they wanted to (about 40,000 cases) and dismissal (about 37,000 cases).
Analyzing the results, an MHLW official commented, "Since social interest in the issues of bullying and power harassment in the workplace has increased, workers are more actively seeking consultations. The number of cases in which people suffer in silence has maybe decreased."
In order to prevent and settle problems between labour and management, Japan operates an individual labour dispute resolution system in which professional counsellors in labour bureaus and labour standards inspection offices respond to consultations. As well as these consultations, labour bureau heads offer advice and guidance toward settlement, and dispute coordinating committees set up in the labour bureaus mediate between the two sides by promoting discussions.