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Japan Tells Its Companies Abroad to Prevent Sexual Harassment

May 21, 1996

TOKYO (AP) _ The labor minister urged Japanese businesses Tuesday to prevent sexual harassment at their overseas companies and said it would draw up anti-harassment guidelines for domestic companies.

Takanobu Nagai’s comments, reported by Kyodo News, follows a major sexual harassment suit against the U.S. subsidiary of a major Japanese automaker.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a class-action lawsuit against Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America, alleging harassment of more than 300 women who worked at the Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Ill.

Some experts have said that permissive Japanese attitudes may have made harassment more likely there.

``I would like to urge business groups to take sufficient measures so a similar problem will not arise at other Japanese companies operating abroad,″ the news agency quoted Nagai as saying.

He said the ministry expects to finish the domestic guidelines soon.

But he reportedly indicated the guidelines would not be written into law, because sexual harassment ``is difficult to define and is a matter of morality.″

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