DO NOT PUBLISH IR GABA – Labor Commission Report

2月 19, 2009

Giving evidence on the 10th February, 2009. Getting started The two preconceptions I had, before going in, were that there would be some formality, and the furniture would be better. Having been to a Labour Standards hearing about Berlitz in Tokyo, I expected some formality. But there was hardly any. We did not even have to stand when the commissioners came into the room, or when they left. The only real formality, the only serious matter, was taking an oath to tell the truth, and not give opinions. After this, I signed a statement to that effect. Utilitarian would be the adjective I would choose in describing the furniture. It was OK, but nothing great. In short, it did not really have the look of a courtroom. Just the facts Just like the police, the commissioners only wanted the facts. They were not interested in opinions, but hearsay evidence and descriptions are OK. Also, leading questions are OK, too. I had been told that it would last for two hours, but we were told by the head commissioner to finish by 12 o’clock. So that was a plus. I was sitting at a desk, immediately in front of the commissioners. For those who don’t know the system, there are three “judges” — the head commissioner, a commissioner who works with the labour (or union) side, and another who works with the company side. As this was our side giving evidence, Mr. Tononobu from the union, asked a series of simple statements and questions about what I had written in my testimony. And that was it. I gave a verbal explanation of the outline in my testimony. All the while, the translator at my side was working like crazy, scribbling out notes, and working between Japanese and English. Except for getting flustered once she did a great job. Very quickly, I noticed that I had to break my explanations into smaller chunks than I expected. This was for the sake of the translator, as it was impossible to accurately translate what I had said if a statement was too long. On a personal note, my testimony got a bit rough at the end as I had a cold, and my voice was almost gone after an hour of talking. Even small sips of water did not take the rasping tone off my voice. The outcome? – Give me a clue One interesting point was the reaction of the company-side commissioner — he appeared to fall asleep. I had noticed he had closed his eyes, but I was really paying attention to the questions, and giving answers. I was told he was definitely asleep for at least five minutes. Could it be he was thinking about how this company (GABA) could possibly think they could get away with these practices?