Survey: Customer harassment affecting lives of many workers

TOKYO (Jiji Press)—A survey showed Monday that 76.4% of workers in Japan who had experienced harassment by customers have had their lives affected, such as feeling depressed about going to work.

The survey was conducted by the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, or Rengo, via the internet in November on workers aged 18-65. Rengo analyzed answers collected from 1,000 people who themselves or someone at their workplaces have experienced so-called customer harassment in the past three years.

Among those who themselves were customer harassment victims, with multiple answers allowed, 55.3%, the largest group, said that they experienced verbal abuse, followed by scolding or other authoritative attitudes, cited by 46.7%, repeated complaints about the same issues, by 32.4%, and intimidation or threat, by 31.9%.

Regarding influences of customer harassment, the largest group of 38.2% said they felt depressed about going to work. The second most common answer was mental or physical illness, followed by being unable to concentrate on work, sleeplessness and becoming afraid to meet people.

Of respondents who quit or changed jobs, the share of those whose workplaces had training programs for dealing with customer harassment came to 8.5%, compared with 67.6% who said they had no such opportunities.

As many as 36.9% of respondents said customer harassment has increased over the past five years, far exceeding 7.7% who answered the opposite.

Asked about possible reasons for the increase in customer harassment, the largest group of respondents cited stresses due to a sense of stagnation in society.