What can we do for potential whistle-blowers?

Tuesday, December 21 2004 @ 12:29 PM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

Today I received an anonymous mail at the TFP's mail account. The sender of the mail says he or she has personally witnessed, in a U.S-based financial institution doing business in Japan, various irregularities such as the use of unlicensed temp-dispatching firms to replace Japanese employees with foreigners who are often overstaying their visas or on the wrong visa status. Although I'm basically with him/her, this mail has prompted me to clarify, all a new, the roles the TokyoFreePress can play in bringing the wrongdoers to justice.

Admittedly the word WBing has a shady connotation in it. When an organization, or the whole nation for that matter, is equipped with a built-in self-purification mechanism, it's only cowards that think of WBing because all they have to do, instead, is to stand up, step forward and say whatever has to be said, addressing to the right person. But obviously that is not the case with this nation. Another way of saying what I wrote in our "Mission Statement" is that I think I should join forces with like-minded people, and help them join forces with each other, to bring up allegations against the government and the media establishment wherever they are not telling the whole truth. So WBing is the central and inherent part in the mission of this website.

Actually what I can do to help potential WBers with their endeavors to bring the wrongdoers to justice is very limited at this moment. When launching this blog 3.5 months ago, I couldn't afford to take any SEO (Search Engine Optimization) measures. But now thanks to the hard-working "bot", various search strings bring you to this website. Now I assume that in the not-too-distant future, the TFP will hit the critical mass needed to make our voices heard across the nation and around the world. According to the Site Statistics page of this blog, "Total Hits to the System" have topped 10,800 in the 3.5-month period since this website came into existence. A good part of these 10,800 people may have been those casual web-surfers and left the site in a couple of seconds but the other thousands must have accessed it for specific and serious reasons. Even among these serious visitors, there may have been some who felt like calling the site owner names, most likely name being Don Quixote. (BTW: I'm more like a sober-headed doomsayer than a Don Quixote.) But it's for sure that the number of serious visitors is increasing so rapidly that in the near future, your posts on the TFP will have a much greater exposure to the general audience all over the world.

Talking more specifically about what the TFP can do for potential WBers, I opt to confine our roles to support them to the following two categories:

1) If you are potential WBers, you are primarily invited to our "W-blowers' Bulletin Board" to openly discuss among yourselves, while sometimes involving the site owner as the moderator, any problematic business practices and behaviors that you have experienced or witnessed. By exchanging similar experiences among yourselves, you may sometimes be able to establish a solid case against the alleged irregularity out of just a weak grievance based on your spotty observation and experience, and come up with the most effective way to bring the criminal to justice. On the W-blowers' BB, you can even run into your colleague who shares, or shared, the same workplace with you, which will bring you an additional input to further solidify your case. You are the driving force here and the TFP just intends to enable you to make your own grievances and grudges grow into a full-blown criminal case.

2) In my Nov. 14 TFP piece titled "WBers to remain public enemy No.1 without all-out support by the media", I specified six major drawbacks involved in the June 2004 legislation to supposedly "safeguard" WBers' rights. If and when the potential WBer is prepared to face all of these drawbacks as well as some other difficulties, and I can afford to spare a certain amount of time then, I may opt to get personally involved in the case he or she has brought up. But even then all I could do is just to pass his/her allegation on to Japan's three major English dailies (i.e., the Daily Yomiuri, the Asahi Shimbun part of the IHT-Asahi and the Japan Times) in the way I think will be most effective. And I must point out here that chances are remote that these English dailies take up the allegation very seriously unless the case is highly news-worthy (from the media's point of view), celebs are involved in one way or the other, a life-or-death situation is up, or financial losses or damages caused by the wrongdoer is quantitatively substantiated and of a substantial magnitude.

Also I would like you to note that the above two are what we will be doing as far as our on-line interactions are concerned. It's a different story, however, when it comes to the interchange on an "off-line" basis. It will vary depending on the case being brought up off-line how I will respond to the sender of the mail.

Once again let me solicit your contributions to our W-blowers' BB. We are more than willing to do our utmost to live up to your expectations as long as they are based on a realistic assumption. For instance,
please do not assume that we have any contact with any supervisory authorities. Neither do we intend to act like a substitute for these governmental agencies.

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