In my ongoing quest to destroy the myth concerning the supposed security in following the salaryman path in Japan, I spent some time looking online in Japanese while searching for the terms “restructuring” which is リストラ in Japanese.
I discovered an incredible new word in the Japanese vocabulary; it is called the 追い出し部屋 (oidashibeya) or literally translated “expulsion room” or as some English language news sites call the “banishment room”. Incredible!
Basically, large Japanese firms like Hitachi, Panasonic, Sony, Sharp and others are doing a really shitty job at business and have increased their core competencies of losing money in all of their primary divisions.
Because of this they are becoming forced to layoff more workers then ever before in Japan, absolutely obliterating the social contract of “servitude in exchange for financial security”. The Japanese flagship companies Panasonic, Sony, Sharp and NEC together laid off around 90,000 workers in 2012.
However, Japanese law has extreme protections for full time workers, so it can be legally difficult to fire workers without undergoing many time-consuming steps first. In order to get around these legal hurdles, Japanese HR professionals created new “divisions” that employees targeted for layoffs can be transferred and encouraged to quit voluntarily and/or taking part in early retirement programs.
However, there are tons of personal horror stories on the internet of the emotional shock of lifetime Salarymen who are told by their companies they are no longer needed and should quit. Even though companies give these new divisions cool names, critics call these divisions “Banishment Rooms”. One of my favorite names for these so-called “Banishiment Rooms” is Sony’s “Career Design Room”. The naming games are simply amazing……
In the next lesson I will introduce some actual stories from those brave souls who have experience the true nature of these banishment rooms…