22 December 2004

Whistle-blower laws go global...

As the U.S. recovers from yet another accounting scandal at Fannie Mae, other countries are getting on board with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Japan is considering a new whistle-blower law if a local worker has his way in court.

A JAPANESE executive allegedly forced to weed the company car park for 30 years is at the centre of a major shake-up in corporate whistle-blowing law.

Tomorrow a district court in Toyama will hand down a verdict that could shape Japanese business practice for years to come. If Hiroaki Kushioka is successful in his suit against his employer, Tonami Transportation, the way could be open for startling revelations from within corporate Japan. If he fails, the culture of bullying and cover-ups will be given a tacit vote of support. The Kushioka case comes as Japan is preparing a massive overhaul of its legal treatment of whistle-blowers.

Fannie Mae executives may be some of the first to be successfully prosecuted under the laws in the U.S. that require companies to set up a whistle-blower program. It seems that Mr. Kushioka is finally getting his revenge for ratting on workers over 30 years ago thanks to the trend in improving corporate governance across the globe.

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