Japan warms to whistleblowing

2007

Being a workplace whistleblower in Japan is slowly starting to earn its proper recognition as a virtuous action, according to this recent article in the Christian Science Monitor.

In a country where being conformist is widely viewed an asset, you can understand the reticence to go out on a limb. Indeed, whistleblowers hardly enjoy widespread positive recognition in Europe or North America, either, so why should Japan be any different?

While respect for elders or professional superiors are still positive character traits, doing the right thing and preventing criminal activity or conspiracy is equally virtuous. Japan seems to be going through changes at the moment, where values from older generations are possibly being re-examined through the prism of modern living. In short, why should we let a higher up get away with inappropriate activity because he or she is ahead of us professionally?

The courage to stand up and challenge old ideas in the workplace has led to some important discoveries in recent years. Perhaps corrupt employees banked too much on cultural stereotypes and only started getting caught once these trends shifted.

It's good to see Japanese workers placing what's right above what's done in order to help save the company. Now if we can tackle workplace corruption, we will really be on our way to workplace reform.

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