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Home > Media Reiews > News Review Last Updated: 14:52 03/09/2007
News Review #8: February 26, 2002

Snow Brand Altered Butter Expiry Dates

Reviewed By Hitoshi URABE

"Snow Brand altered butter expiry dates"
Japan Times, February 24, 2002

Related Article:
Snow Brand Food to liquidate"
CNN, February 22, 2002

Snow Brand has done it again. Although the company explains that attaching a new expiry date to the produce following a specified procedure is perfectly legal, and the health authorities concur, the incident was revealed at the worst moment, when the whole Snow Brand group was viewed with suspicion not only by the law enforcement arm but also by the general public.

Only a few days ago, it was announced that the Snow Brand Food Products would be dissolved shortly, by its parent Snow Brand Milk Products. It is almost strange that the executives of the company had even for a moment dreamed of the possibility of rehabilitating the company, after all those wrong doings that became public in the past couple of months.

It is apparent that the people involved were obsessed with the notion that the company is of the utmost importance, taking precedence over society and law. The attitude is, however, more or less shared by many corporate workers and executives in Japan. You belong to a company instead of work for a company. The company, and the fellow workers are considered as a clan, rather than an objective oriented group of people bound with contractual arrangements. They begin to feel as though you would be worthless as a person if you lose your position in the company, and a distorted sense of loyalty creeps into them. This is a sentiment which had been pointed out as a remote cause for many of the corporate crimes in the past, though to be sure, it would rarely go so far as to commit a serious crime.

The mood is changing, they say, among younger generation. Many youngsters coming to working age choose not to be employed full time by companies and prefer to be part time workers. They say they would not feel comfortable to subscribe to a corporate culture. A Japanese jargon created from English, "freeter" ('permanent part-timer') appropriately expresses this phenomenon. To what extent, though, the young people really dislike a full time job needs to be scrutinized. As many freeters are reported to be such not by choice, but simply because they cannot find jobs. It might be a phenomenon only to show the grave situation of Japanese labor market, a reflection of the depressed economy.

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