A nameless Osaka transit employee who stood up for his rights in the face of an intrusive survey was vindicated this week when a district court ruled in his favor and found the city’s tattoo survey is unconstitutional. The city tried to fire him when he refused (repeatedly) to disclose whether or not he has tattoos.
Why tattoos? Japan still has this perception that tattoo = criminal, even though Yakuza tattoos are pretty distinctive. Earlier this year there was a “scandal” (huge scare quotes) when a city employee showed his tattoo to someone in public. The resulting outcry of complaints from stupid people prompted the mayor to use a survey to find out which city employees had tattoos and whether or not they were visible.
Responding with “none of your fucking business”, a number of city employees refused to answer the survey. After being warned that silence would cost them their jobs, most of the holdouts relented - but not all. Six remained steadfast in exercising their rights, including the transit employee who ended up suing the city to protest his dismissal.
Not only did the court decide that he couldn’t be fired for refusing to answer personal questions, it also awarded him 5 million yen (over $63,000 US) in damages.
The kicker? Word is this guy doesn’t even have a tattoo. He just stood up to the system at great personal risk and he won.
I salute you, anonymous transit worker. As much as I believe in Hashimoto’s proposed reforms (seriously, Japanese bureaucracy is bloated beyond all reason) his social views are backwards and oppressive. Don’t forget, this is the guy who made it a law that teachers must sing the national anthem under penalty of dismissal. And let’s not even get into his revisionist views of history.