Reporting Of Faulty Surveys Delayed By Five Days

Reporting of faulty surveys delayed by five days

A Japanese labor ministry official says after learning that some of the ministry surveys had been faulty he did not immediately report the problem to his superiors.

Yasuyuki Onishi spoke at a Lower House committee as an unsworn witness on Friday.

He was dismissed last week as director-general of statistic after the revelation that the ministry had conducted its monthly surveys on wages and working hours using inappropriate methods.

An opposition lawmaker asked Onishi about how many times and to whom he reported the flawed surveys since the scandal surfaced on December 13.

Onishi says he remembers that his colleague informed a superior about the problem on December 18.

He also said he himself informed other senior officials the following day.

He said he explained two points: the ministry conducted the survey only on selected firms in Tokyo although it should have covered all major businesses; and the ministry released data without necessary adjustments.

The ministry drew further criticism after it was discovered that its officials accompanied members of an outside panel looking into the scandal when they conducted interviews with ministry employees.

Panel leader Yoshio Higuchi also attended the committee. Higuchi is president of the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training.

He repeatedly declined to disclose his view on the scandal, saying that he is attending in the capacity as the head of the institute. The head of the labor ministry's secretariat, Yumiko Jozuka, said ministry officials created a draft report upon instruction from the panel.

Jozuka said the panel later approved the draft and made it public as the final report.