ABSTRACT: We conducted a survey to clarify the present state of the occupational health practices (OHPs) of foreign-owned companies (FOCs) in Japan. The results reveal more strategic OHPs of FOCs located in Japan as local subsidiaries. Furthermore, the results should contribute to smoother global development of OHPs for international corporations with headquarters (HQs) in Japan.
A total of 1,220 FOCs in Japan with at least 50 employees that are listed in Gaishikeikigyo-Soran (Overview of FOCs) 2009 published by Toyo Keizai, Inc. were targeted in our survey. A questionnaire with items concerning the (1) present situation of global and local OHP standards, (2) relationships with overseas HQ, and (3) impressions regarding daily OHPs was sent to a high-ranking person engaged in OHPs at each FOC. We ask about renkei-kan (sense of cooperation with overseas HQ), a positive Japanese word, in order to evaluate preferable relationships between FOCs and their HQs.
There were 123 valid responses. Of these, only 50 had indicated the implementation of global standards (GS). Of the OHPs that were mentioned in GS, responses mainly included risk management for occupational diseases. With respect to local standards (LS), responses indicated that individual approaches toward each worker were an area of particular focus. Satisfaction with staff numbers and budget was high, although HQ involvement in staff numbers and budget control was low. Furthermore, 71.5% of respondents had low renkei-kan. We also found correlations among: renkei-kan, GS availability, frequency of reporting to overseas superiors, audit interval, and understanding of OHP organization at HQs.
We found FOCs established OHPs independently of HQs and that they were satisfied with the present situation. On the other hand, there are many respondents who do not have positive feelings, renkei-kan, toward their relationships with HQs. OHP staff of FOCs can enhance renkei-kan by making use of GS, identifying key HQ personnel, and implementing understanding for them and their organization through daily reports and regular audits.
Sangyo eiseigaku zasshi Journal of occupational health 12/2011; 53(6):211.