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The Konami exodus (nikkei.com)
391 points by slantyyz on June 15, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 291 comments

One thing we're overlooking is that even if these actions are illegal, employees are rarely in a position to do anything about it. The power asymmetry is vast. Most employees don't have savings, especially in the game industry, and they'd regret spending any of it on courts. Could the courts even do much?

Having newspapers write an article about it is probably one of the more effective ways of dealing with this.

Well, this is what unions are for. In the countries I know, union membership gets you legal costs insurance for work related cases (for exactly these power dynamics). And economies of scale usually mean that unions have pretty good employment law attorneys.

Granted, I have no idea how it works in Japan.

Union can't force a company to rehire you when you're "untouchable". In a lot of these environments corporations like Konami have enough power to essentially make you unemployable. Not having a positive reference (or even having an unofficial black mark against you) from them can easily be end of your career in the field. Especially if you slandered (or, god forbid, sued!) your previous employer.

As said, I have now clue about things in Japan, but in Germany, a court can definitely order the company to rehire you if the reason for firing was unlawful. In smaller companies coming back to that job usually isn't fun (as your boss usually was directly involved in the case), thus in these cases you usually get compensation of about a year's worth of wages.

Bigger companies are usually pretty professional about these things. (Completely different domain, but just look at Apple and Samsung being in court while Samsung still being a supplier for Apple.)

I mentioned in some other topics, but Japan has a pretty good protection systems like most European countries on paper. The difference lies in what a law can't easily catch. They can put an enormous amount of informal obstacles to a so-called "bad" employee, from subtle changes of seating to relegating to a humiliating position. Each of them is annoying by itself, but they're smart enough to make sure that none of them are significant enough for litigation. Then there can be a group bullying. Because every other employee is equally afraid of the company, they can collectively act like an orchestrated attack even when there's no explicit order. Japanese team work at its finest.

And that's exactly why there is power in a union, to quote Joe Hill; it has the potential to turn the situation around.

Again: union in the company you left of your own will (did you RTFA?) won't help you. Union in the company that won't hire you due to informal pressure won't help you either, because you aren't a member or working at the company.

This is specific to the US I think. In many other countries unions organize workers across a whole industrial sector, not just inside one company.

I don't know about Germany but in the US, we apparently have a do not hire list that goes across company lines for even positions like bank tellers? There was no visible public outrage against any company that refused to hire former Wells Fargo employees for example

America has some of the worst worker protection laws and regulations in the developed world: occupational health and safety; minimum wage; paid time off (vacation, illness, parental leave); lunch and other breaks; consecutive hours worked in a day; 'at-will' termination; and so on. It really is an extreme outlier.

On the other hand, at least when it comes to software developers, americans seem to be extremely well paid compared to the rest of us and they pay far less in tax.

I'd make that trade any day, but then again that's just one industry and I'm just one person.

>I'd make that trade any day

It's not a trade, it's just a temporary result of a market imbalance. When that stops to be case, programmers will get the same bad treatment like everybody else.

So I'd make rather live in a country with more sane and fair laws for all, and not extrapolate too much from what a specific field or two (even if it happens to be mine) might temporarily command.

> It's not a trade, it's just a temporary result of a market imbalance.

That temporary result has been going on for a few decades now. And it's only getting better for the engineers, because more and more tech companies need more and more employees and for the most part, CS degrees still remain difficult to get (relative to some other degrees).

So I agree it's temporary, however it will probably last until after my retirement short of another .com bubble.

It depends on how old you are but I'd be careful assuming that things will last that long unless you're in your 50s now. There's a huge IT community which was employed to do commodity tasks (helpdesk, networking, PC management, etc.) or working on enterprise software which is increasingly outsourced, competing with cloud offerings, etc. anywhere companies see it as a high cost, low strategic value area – which is not an uncommon attitude even where that's not true.

Software developers at the top end are better positioned than many for that but even if your job isn't directly exposed that's going to contribute to pressure against wage increases and respect, especially since senior management is going to keep seeing comparatively high labor costs.

I'm a frontend engineer for the one of the big 4 tech companies, so I'm not really concerned. I'm in my 30's now, and don't expect to be coding for the rest of my life, but is the field going to become so constricted that 30 years from now wages will stagnate? I doubt it, at least not in the grand scheme of things.

At the end of the day, I'm not going to plan my life around my job suddenly becoming less valuable.

> That temporary result has been going on for a few decades now.

That really was not the case before the Netscape IPO or for about 5-6 years after the dot-com bust.

People were still making great money, just not the ones that lost their jobs.

It's been some time since I ran the numbers but when you isolate federal taxes and compare them the difference is stark. But when you combine all of our income taxes and compare the percentage the difference is much, much less significant. Federal, social security, state, state disability, etc. It does depend on the state though. If you add in health insurance costs since those are covered by the government in other countries the difference shrinks even more.

When you combine it all and compare the amount of benefits and safety nets provided to other countries it kind of feels like you're being screwed. I guess getting paid more is nicer but raising children here and realizing that they may not make nearly as much money while having such small or irrelevant safety nets is a sobering experience.

Well they have to pay for all that military equipment somehow.

So my total tax rate in the US is just shy of 50%. Software developers are actually in the "sweet spot" for paying a ton in taxes: they make enough money to qualify for the high tax rates, but not enough money to make it worth exploiting the loopholes that rich folks use to avoid paying taxes.

What's your effective income tax rate (both state and federal)? Assuming your an average paid software engineer in SV, you have a marginal income tax rate of 28% (33% over $198k). Which means your effective tax rate is actually a lot lower than that. Assuming you are in California your marginal income tax rate is between 37% and 43%.

So I call bullshit. Marginal income tax rates are always higher than effective income tax rates. The only way you are paying a 50% tax rate is if you pretend ALL of your income is taxed at the 43% I mentioned AND you count FICA as a tax.

There are certain deductions that go away as your income goes up which is effectively an increase in tax rate as well. Student loan deductions for instance are 2500 I believe, but start going down after you break 80k. Then there's things like the social security payments which stop at 127,200 in 2017 so every dollar after that has a lower tax rate. It's very complicated but the last time I did taxes I paid north of 40% effective

> It's very complicated but the last time I did taxes I paid north of 40% effective

It's not that complicated. In order for you to have a 40% effective tax rate (including Federal, State, Local and FICA), assuming you ONLY took the standard deduction and you file single, you'd need an income of just over $450,000/year.


That assumes you have 1 exception, no deductions for retirement (which would actually reduce your effective rate) and only taking the standard deduction (you can't get lower!)

In fact, if you want to tax EVERY POSSIBLE tax into account (sales, property, fuel, etc), you'd need to make $300,000/year to achieve a 40% effective tax rate across all taxes.

So either you make a mountain of money, you have a terrible accountant, or you are lying.

Unpopular opinion, I know but I think we should try to get rid of as many credits and deductions as possible.

Every time someone take about simplifying the tax code, I bring it up. It will hurt me as well (I'm poor) but it is ok.

If you're in the tax bracket to pay 40%, I'd say I want to raise your taxes you pay but I also want to raise the taxes your overlords pay.

I want higher taxes so we can offer the same services to the wealthy that we offer to the poor. It is the right thing to do. We don't have too many wealthy people in this country. We should be able to include everyone. Can't afford to include people who make too much money? Too bad. The program can't exist.

I would want to create a consensus towards "no income checks". The government should not have any program that qualifies people based on income or assets. Be it Medicare, social security, or Medicaid, food stamps, college tuition, rent subsidies, school lunch or whatever. You should not be able to exclude anyone because they make too much money or have too much money.

Of course, economists will say this is stupid and inefficient and irrational but I say economists are not even people. Nobody is rational in the real world.

I'm not sure how unpopular that is unless you are one of the vested interests behind some of these deductions. The cost of enforcing these regulations seems to grow exponentially as the number of regulations grow. Many proponents of UBI, such as myself, want there to be zero means testing as it would save a significant amount of cost vs all of the current regulation behind things like welfare, unemployment, Medicare, etc.

If you're in a marriage with two high earners (lets say > $500k household gross) then most of your income is being taxed at the highest (or close to highest) marginal rate. You also don't qualify for a bunch of deductions (student loan tax breaks are only for people under a certain income, you can only deduct medical expenses over 10% of household gross, etc). You also don't always get to claim the full amount of your deduction from local/state taxes thanks to the way AMT is calculated.

If you earn much more than that, generally companies find other ways to pay you (equity, deferred compensation, etc.) that have more administrative overhead, but less of a tax hit.

And yes, FICA is definitely a tax. A regressive one since the rate goes down the higher your income is, but it's still a tax.

> If you're in a marriage with two high earners (lets say > $500k household gross

Well yes, if you are in the top 1% of wage earners in the US your effective tax rate is going to be pretty high. In fact, you'll pay around $200,000 in taxes on that, give or take (if you live in a high-tax state like California). But that's literally affecting 1% of the population, and they're probably doing ok.

> If you earn much more than that, generally companies find other ways to pay you

Most companies give equity in the form of RSU's rather than options, so income taxes hit immediately upon vesting.

> And yes, FICA is definitely a tax.

Yes they are a payroll tax, but just "adding" them into your income taxes is extremely misleading. Income tax is just that. FICA is a payroll tax.

> If you're in a marriage with two high earners (lets say > $500k household gross) then most of your income is being taxed at the highest (or close to highest) marginal rate.


The highest marginal rate kicks in, for married-filing-jointly, at just over $470K; the next highest at over $416K. You have to making close to $1M in taxable income for a married couple to be paying the top marginal rate on most of their income, and over $800K to paying at least the second-highest marginal rate on most of your income.

At $500K, you're just barely paying at least the third highest marginal rate on half your income.

> Software developers are actually in the "sweet spot" for paying a ton in taxes

That is as it should be. Is there something wrong? The only problem is that people above you are able to weasel out of their taxes, but the fact that you're in the top bracket means you're rich, you made it. Congratulations! Enjoy the high quality meats! Consider lobbying your Senator to close the loopholes.

Someone earning £80k ($100k) per year in the UK will pay about 30%[0] tax this is inclusive of income tax, local property tax and National Insurance ( mandatory insurance which covers healthcare, basic sickness and retirement benefits ).

If you are paying 50% tax, then you are being ripped off by your country because you are not gaining anything in exchange for paying all that money AND giving up all those protections.

We have those protections in the UK and they are similar across all of the EU. The highest rate of tax in the UK is 45% and you only pay that on anything you earn over something like £150k ($200k) per year. You have to pay ~2% to national insurance as well, but this is much much cheaper than private healthcare in the US. Local tax is pegged to the value of the house you live in and is typically between £0.8 and £1.5k ($1k-$2k) per year.

[0] http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/tax-calculator/

Don't forget to include VAT at around 20% on everything you buy. That's the genius of VAT compared to US sales tax: even smart people don't see it.

Close-to-50% total taxation is unfortunately pretty common in the West welfare states and yes, you're not getting your taxes worth.

You're right, but keep in mind that VAT is really only paid on things you buy for private consumtion, e.g. not on rent, medical insurance, pension plans, mortgages, not on your office etc. In the income brackets we talk about, at most 20% of income is taxed with VAT making the effective VAT tax rate 20%x20% or about 4%.

> and yes, you're not getting your taxes worth.

Thats debatable :) The US has a live expentancy as low as Cuba, very high crime rates, very high violent crime rates, low trust in society, massive homelessness, bad schools (but good top universities), bad care for the mentally ill, horrendous working conditions, ...

As far as quality of live per GDP per capita goes, the US is among the least efficient of all industrialized countries. Just think about the fact that Cuba manages to archieve the same live expectancy as the US with 1/6 of the GDP per capita of the US!

Total tax rate of 50%? This sounds extremely high. Are you sure you are not confusing between marginal and total tax rate? If you prepare you taxes with any software package, it usually tells your effective tax rate, does it really say 50% or near that? I checked back and they year I paid the most taxes I had effective rate of 24%, usually it's even less. I know software devs who make way more than me, but I don't see how even that would take them to 50%.

Well obviously the best position to be in is to be making your money primarily through capital gains.

Which country are you in? (The taxes vary depending on the U.S. state.)

Occupational health and safety? Have any examples? OSHA seems to shut stuff down in a hurry in the US.

And I've worked in both the US and Canada and I'd say there isn't much difference beyond the paid time off for parental leave.

> ...we apparently have a do not hire list that goes across company lines for even positions like bank tellers? There was no visible public outrage against any company that refused to hire former Wells Fargo employees for example

For bank tellers, I believe this is tracked via the federal agency FINRA, through AWC submittals. For the Wells Fargo employees, you likely are thinking of the brokers who were ordered by Wells Fargo management to fraudulently open accounts. Allegedly, many of these brokers then found out later after they were terminated from Wells Fargo that the bank marked their termination on a U5 form in a manner that all but ejects them from the financial services industry, forever [1]. In both of these cases, they are via mandatory regulatory notifications, and not like the Japanese cases discussed here where it sounds more informal.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/04/business/dealbook/wells-f...

Planet Money did a podcast on this very thing


Finance is different get caught doing naughty things and you can be banned for life in the same way a Dr can be struck off

The most famous financial criminal of the 1980s United States, Michael Milkin, is now a wealthy philanthropist living large in Los Angeles. The disincentive for large-scale financial crime in the United States is just not there.

I think he was before the finance industry put this in place

... Unless you're C-level, in which case you merely lose your bonus at worst.

FINRA is an industry group

Thanks for the correction, it is a self-regulatory measure by the US financial services industry.

this article is not about employees who got fired but (mostly) those who left.

For real? What would be the point of that? Seems so foolish of the germans...

I'd guess the point of it is to actually give the laws requiring that you not fire employees for illegal reasons teeth.

No one wants to work for an employer who wants them gone, and vice versa.

> Union can't force a company to rehire you when you're "untouchable"

Maybe not, but there most certainly are penalties for such behaviour, see: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/may/09/blacklisted...


Important to note that this "blacklist" was "clandestine " and "a closely guarded secret", i.e. the people doing it knew that it was entirely illegal.

In countries where unions can cover your legal costs in work-related conflicts with employers/ex-employers this at least counteracts the power assymetry. Which might mean that you can still put your experience on your resumé without worrying about Konami going after you.

It is obviously not a flawless protection, especially not in terms of backroom business and that sort of quiet slander. But it does have the potential to counter some of these aggressive methods.

Strong unions could put an end to the untouchable concept completely.

Strong unions comes with their own issues. Many unions turn into unlabelled mafia.

Not so sure. The relations between mafia and unions seems to me unique to the US, or at least not so widespread.

Unions can indeed have issues (on one end corrupt leadership that just pads their bank accounts or screws those that they're supposed to represent, on the other end over-privileging of a certain field), but turning into "unlabelled mafia" is not a core trait.

Certainly it's possible, and yet I don't think there is much other way for employees to achieve any sort of political power over their employers. It's also probably worth mentioning, since we're talking about Japan, the extent to which the worlds of Japanese business and Japanese organized crime are intertwined.

...or into a labelled one (Sicilian Mafia).

Many countries have laws mandating that a company has to provide a positive or neutral letter of reference for all leaving employees. Apparently not the case in Japan though.

Which is really stupid by the way...

This happens in Germany but it just means that if someone has a simple neutral letter of reference, the person herself is a terrible worker.

You are making the scale from 0 to 10 into another scale of 5 to ten. Employers are not stupid and in fact they have developed their own codes to express whatever they want to express to other employers they have good relationships with.

The same happens in China where it is offensive to say: NO! So , instead of telling it, they wait and tell you Yes(!!)

There is an indirect code to translate the time and emphasis employed by the a yes into a no everybody agrees with.

Really? Then what's the point? If a reference isn't honest then why trust them at all.

What if you didn't do anything bad, but your boss just disliked you? A bad reference would make sure you never get another job in that industry

> Union can't force a company to rehire you when you're "untouchable".

In Italy we had the popular article 18 of the workers' statute that stated that if someone got fired without a dismissal for cause the company was obliged to rehire the worker.

> Union can't force a company to rehire you when you're "untouchable".

Unions forced the typical work week down to 40 hours from 60-90. Certainly they could make a company stop harassing a few ex-employees.

I think the reduction from 60-90 to 40 happened over the span of many rehirings.

I think you're giving unions too much credit for microscale protections.

What interest group besides unions had any interest in establishing a forty-hour work week?

I don't know an accurate answer to your question, but lets presume unions did it all.

I the GPs point is that having the power to change culture over the course of decades does not guarantee the ability to fix a single problem for a single individual.

Well, if the unions managed to secure reforms such that that person's problem would not occur then they'd solve it. It certainly seems more likely to help more people than doing everything piecemeal and on an individual basis.

A strong enough union can force all kinds of things, for better or worse. Whatever a company may gain by harassing a few ex-employees is nothing compared to the damage done by your entire workforce walking off the job.

If you have been bullied out of, or illegally fired from, a workplace, I don't imagine you'd actually want your old job back. What you would want is enough money to cover your living expenses for long enough to get a job you do want.

If you slander your previous employer, then you deserve it if your career comes to an end.

A successful lawsuit against a previous employer wouldn't be likely to make you untouchable. However, I could see how an unsuccessful one would.

Unions are just another source of abuse for workers. Their leaders often make much more than those they represent. You have to pay the dues, even when you know the union is going to waste the money on this type of largess, as well as on politicians you don't agree with and who you know aren't going to help you anyway. Got talent? It doesn't matter. In union jobs, it's the politically connected and those who have been in the union the longest that will get the job.

Unions are organizations like any other. You can structure it on merit or on politics, and you can't blanket all unions as acting the same way. Most have awful charters meant to just enfranchise the established old guard at the expense of new blood, but they don't have to do it that way.

It is also a bit funny to demonize unions in a conversation about a company that uses its own largess to ruin the lives of former employees.

Perhaps you could point me to some unions that operate in this egalitarian way. I haven't seen them.

As a thought experiment, just how would a union decide to protect or not protect a worker in a certain situation? By adherence to union rules? These are often inflexible, counterproductive, and morale destroying. Have you ever worked in a shop where you were not allowed to plug or unplug an appliance because thats a job for the electricians union? I have. It took several weeks to install a copier because of the unions involved. The movers couldn't unplug the thing, so they left when they saw it was plugged in. That company is no longer in business. What happened to the workers?

Perhaps the workers could be protected by always siding with the worker, even when the worker is not good at what they do or is abusive? Sounds like some police unions.

I have to agree with you on the the humor of that. It's the original "But her emails".

"and you can't blanket all unions as acting the same way."

Every single Union I've seen forces you to give up YOUR RIGHTS. I've read the paperwork.

I see the pro-union people are out in force. I suggest you go read UPS, FedEx, and Kroger's Union stuff. What I say is true because I've been to court over it. You sign up, YOU LOSE THE RIGHT TO REPRESENT YOURSELF IN ALL LEGAL MATTERS. It's explicitly written like that.

Unions did wonders to drag the workforce out of slavery-like conditions. You are confusing the real thing with the modern, corrupted and nepotist, organizations.

Sounds like unions were yesterday's solution. Now that we have the benefit of hindsight, it seems like we should be able to do better.

It's bordering delusional to me to argue that unions are obsolete with all the "sharing-economy" dystopia and more being spouted about. Especially in the case of the US that never really had a continuously strong labor movement, which is clearly reflected in its laws and regulations.

Exactly - especially when so many "sharing economy" style jobs exploit defining workers as independent self-employed contractors instead of employees, a critical distinction to avoid paying for benefits that employees are often legally entitled to.

This is why Uber spend so much money fighting cases about the classification of their drivers work status in virtually every country they operate in. Most western countries have laws designed to prevent companies exploiting employees by reclassifying them as contractors, especially for low paying or low skilled jobs. The recent Uber employment case in the U.K. Is a great example, and is precisely the kind of problem unions were historically good at dealing with.


Indeed. Another example, that may hit closer to home for the readers of this site, would be the idea of the "inherent" need for unpaid overtime which must not be labeled systematic, but is just coincidentally repeating.

"But IT has unique demands requiring it!". That the same trick is used from literal sweatshops and up must therefor also be a coincidence.

Is it possible to make a company that doesn't pay a "living wage" to its employees without being accused of abuse and exploitation?

Serious question, what if I made a small side business just for fun where I paid school children peanuts to run errands for me? Soon, those kids grow up and are still working for me and are now angry with me that I am paying them peanuts when their livelihoods and families depend on me. Yet I don't have enough to give a "living wage" with benefits - I just wanted a fun little side business for the school kids - not support everyone's entire family...

Can you come up with another example that doesn't sound like Child Exploitation? We should stick to one form of abuse at a time.

Sure - I have a farm that I run. A high schooler asks if I'll hire him so he can make an extra buck. I say sure - I'll pay 10 cents per egg that he gathers.

Soon he drops out of high school and demands to be paid a living wage with health benefits since I am now his source of income. The other egg gatherers unionize with him and threaten to strike if I don't. I fire them all and scrap the business instead because I can't afford to pay them all a living wage with benefits without making my eggs way more expensive than the competition.

Do you have an example that doesn't involve children at all? I am not touching one with them because of the other needless complications they introduce.

What do you have in mind?

I'm currently part of a consulting firm. It essentially manages and provides labor to paying customers. It provides benefits to the maximum extent allowed by law. That is, we are often frustrated by the law when we want to provide better benefits. One example is retirement savings. We would provide more, but the law prevents us.

If an employee is doing good work, the customer paying for it will let us know. If an employee isn't, the customer will let us know. Most of the time, we'll find a better fit for that employee. Rarely, we'll let them go. When an employee wants to move on, they can find another position within what we offer or they can find new business and bring that in. They'll get a share of that.

To be honest, this sounds like a (more) authoritarian version of a union, where it's led by a dictator/owner rather than an admittedly flawed democracy, and capable of the same flaws unions are vulnerable to.

For workers, what makes this ambivalent dictatorship arrangement categorically better than a union hall?

I think any honest examination of the question is going to conclude that employers and their employees often have opposing interests and the lack of collective bargaining makes it much easier for employers to have their way in a relationship that is wildly imbalanced in the first place (I mean, really, compare the stakes of one worker's job for the employee and employer). We are in a profession where we are far more insulated from the ill effects of this than others; I think a lot of people posting here forget that.

I'm not sure how this solves the same problem as unions do.

If the courts function like police in Japan, then there is no hope. If police arrests you it's 99% sure they will get a conviction. It's a matter of saving face for them to convict everyone they arrest. You are judged by the cop, then rubber stamp sentenced by the judge.

I live in Japan and this comment rings very true about the police and the way they operate.

Arguably, the flip side is that you're not prosecuted unless they're near certain they can nail you.

Being certain they can nail you is not at all the same as being certain that you're guilty. For example, they can nail you by getting a confession out of you, regardless of whether you did it:

> Finally, there is the prevalence of confessions. Ever notice how so many of Nick's clients have already confessed to crimes by the time he takes on their case? Known as "the king of evidence" by the Japanese system, confessions obtained in custody by prosecutors and police are the basis of the majority of convictions. Few rules govern what goes on in a Japanese interrogation room. Suspects are held for long periods before being charged or brought to trial, and the law offers them little protection. Critics argue that the system is open to abuse, and that false confessions are often extracted through coercion.

> Take the case of Toshikazu Sugaya. He matched the profile and blood type of a child murderer, but the police lacked any evidence. "They barged in and told me to sit down," recalls Sugaya. "Then they kept saying, 'You killed that kid, didn't you?' I said 'No, no,' but they didn't believe me." After a 13 hour interrogation without food, water, or a lawyer, Sugaya confessed. Armed with this confession, the prosecution successfully convicted him and he was sentenced to life in prison. It would be nearly 18 years before modern DNA evidence would completely exonerate him.


That's right, Phoenix Wright is probably a form of social criticism disguised as a game.

I think that is of very little consolation for two reasons:

1. People don't get murdered, instead they die of "heart attacks," or they "accidentally fell down a stairwell" and the perp goes free.

2. They can keep you detained without representation for quite some time, in the meantime you are worn down physically and psychologically till you just want to make it "go away" so you sign a "confession" letter.

They can keep you two weeks (as opposed to two days in the US) without filing charges. As long as you don't confess, they won't actually bring charges unless they have compelling evidence.

I think it's 48 hours in Japan too.

It's 23 days according to[1] which in an unheated (or conversely uncooled) cell along with "confess even if you didn't do it, it will make it easier" spiel can be hard to withstand.


My bad, I misremembered, the base is actually 3 days (72 hours, that's the number I actually knew, but I mixed up with something else), and can be prolonged for 10 days by prosecution if a judge allows it, and can be prolonged for 10 more days after that, again validated by a judge. After that, the detainee needs to be either charged or released. Supposedly, the extensions are for cases where there is risk of destruction of evidence or disappearance. Wikipedia cites some (old, 1987) numbers that 85% of arrested detainees were kept for longer than 72 hours and more than a third were held without charge for longer than ten days.

Interestingly enough (having now done some minimal research), for terrorism cases, you can be detained up to 28 (!) days without a charge in the UK. https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/sites/default/files/...

So they can only try to torture a confession out of you for 20 days? That's all right, then.

Call me skeptical regarding being held without charge in Japan. I know of a certain infamous French national that was held for months without charge there. [1]. The loophole I guess was adding a second charge when the first 'grace period' expired.


> held without charge

> adding a second charge


No its not.

Which are traits you find just as is in a dictature. Do you have evidences supporting this claim?

If a woman says you touched her in the train, the police can detain you as long as 10 days even if you did not do anything, and they will try as hell to make you admit you did it, and in any case your life is ruined since you will lose your job in the process. Hardly a good system to protect innocents from being convicted.

... and yet very few are actually convicted here, compared with almost any other developed country[1].

True, there's a lot of discretion in the Japanese prosecutorial system. Ditto USA. A big difference is that in Japan this discretion is mostly wielded judiciously.

Crime rate is also extremely low in Japan. I don't have evidence that the legal system is the reason, but I believe it's a significant contributing factor.

So where are all these righteously aggrieved innocents you worry about? They don't seem to show up in the stats.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarcera... tldr: {jp:47, uk:163, us:693}

"Japan's police see no evil"

"Only 6.3% of the unnatural deaths in Aichi [prefecture] are investigated by a medical examiner, a minuscule rate even by nationwide standards in Japan, where an autopsy is performed in 11.2% of cases."


You picked a particular bad timing to make your comment. It's all over the press in japan now: http://biz-journal.jp/2017/06/post_19335.html

There are numerous cases of false allegations, and recently one guy who was being chased by the police despite claiming his innocence (and all his close friend and co-workers said that was not the kind of guy to do this) just fell to his death while trying to escape this situation.

> Crime rate is also extremely low in Japan. I don't have evidence that the legal system is the reason, but I believe it's a significant contributing factor.

My money is on the high degree of integration of the Japanese society. They are homogenous and everyone is well kept in place by their social network. That's why they don't become criminals as much, compared to US where crime correlates with disenfranchisement. The more a population feels the game is stacked against it, the more it will do crime, but an integrated society feels much more fair.

A judge can keep you jailed in the US indefinitely for contempt of the court. See the Martin Armstrong case.

Exceptions, exceptions. We're talking routine procedure in Japan --which I love btw., but you gotta face the reality of how the justice system works.

In which case the routine in the US is to over charge them, hold them without bail (by ensuring bail is too high for them to be able to pay), and scare them into taking a plea deal. And isn't a plea deal a kind of confession?

Yeah, I'm sorry mate, you're absolutely right. There is no problem in Japan as it regards civil rights. It's my mistake. Obviously these problems only exist in the US so, while we are specifically talking about judicial issues in Japan, it's beside the point because there are no issues here.

My point was that both systems are similar in coercing a plea deal, but do so through different means. They are also similar it outcomes when you count in plea deals and not just court cases that got to trail. This was to point out that the systems like have a common flaw creating a common problem. This was said in response to other comments, not as a top level comment.

So, did you really interpret me as saying Japan didn't have a problem? Is there somewhere where I could clarify my stance (a bit too late to edit the post now, but for future reference)?

You seem to be confusing Japan with the United States.

I'd suggest you read up about how the legal system works in Japan before you blurt out a facile quip: Confessions[1] and other unpleasantness[2].



Dubious sources, to say the least. This dumb conversation pops up every single time the Japanese criminal justice system comes up, and no one has a decent source--say for example, something in Japanese. First of all, the conviction rate in the US is 85+% last time I checked. Secondly, Japanese suspects confess. The theory is that they're coerced, but that requires one to accept a lot of speculation about the psychological impact of prolonged interrogations. Finally, the police in Japan are essentially invisible, so you need to be suspicious to even be on their radar. If you attract that kind of attention, you don't belong here, and they're going to let you know. It may not be what you want to hear, but that's just how it works here. It's the same everywhere else. In America, you can drive a BMW with New York plates from New Orleans to Los Angeles, and if you get pulled over, good luck to you.

The conviction rates are available in English and Japanese provided by the Ministry of Justice.

Wikipedia in Japanese - Criminal Trial Judgements (判決確定数 - number of judicial decisions, 有罪 - guilty, 無罪 - not guilty)


At the bottom of the table it links all the data to


Looks pretty unofficial but that is Japan Ministry of Justice website and is linked by the more official looking one


Ministry of Justice White Papers in English


Judgement rates 2005-2014 in English


I'm not challenging the conviction rate. I'm challenging the accusations of coercion.

You're not challenging them with anything more than personal opinion. Which is fair enough, you're entitled to your opinion, although there are other people living in Japan in this thread who disagree with it.

However, as you're insisting that Japanese-only sources are necessary to consider the claim to be reliable, perhaps you can provide the necessary Japanese sources which contradict it?

The burden of proof is on the accusers. I'm only asking for a single credible source from inside Japan, and in Japanese. Some anecdotes from other commenters is obviously inadequate. I've seen this trope about Japanese police strong-arming people into confessions in all the usual sources for misinformation about Japan on the internet--hence my skepticism. What if the Japanese criminal justice system is just really well run? That is an equally credible conclusion until proven wrong.

>The burden of proof is on the accusers.

This isn't a court of law, and you're not the defendant. There is no "burden of proof."

>I'm only asking for a single credible source from inside Japan, and in Japanese.

Sources from inside Japan and in Japanese have already been posted here. If you find those inadequate, what Japanese language news sources would you recommend? Perhaps you could search those and tell us what they have to report, if anything, on the matter.

>. What if the Japanese criminal justice system is just really well run? That is an equally credible conclusion until proven wrong.

In any other context, with any other country, the police being able to detain and interrogate suspects for weeks and a judicial system with a 99% conviction rate would be assumed to be evidence of unchecked state power. And, of course, "well run" and "systemically corrupt" are not diametrically opposed.

I understand from past comments that you're passionate about fighting against what you perceive as false cultural stereotypes about Japan, which is fine, but in this particular case the assumption being made is that Japan is no different than any other state in the ways that power and opportunity can breed corruption. It can't be "equally credible" to assume that Japan is somehow an exception to human nature.

You may as well ascribe Japan Rail's punctuality to nefarious behavior, since clearly no good actor could achieve such a high standard.

"Japan's trains run on time, therefore, Japan's justice system can't possibly be corrupt."

Did you really just sneak back into this thread after a week just to drop a snarky one-liner?

Do you consider Amnesty International to be a decent source?


In a word: no. Japan has a different attitude toward civil rights than the west. Can anyone point to source from within Japan?

Japan has a different attitude toward civil rights than the west.

That's what this thread is about, isn't it?

No. There are serious and so far unfounded allegations of coercion of suspects and witnesses in this thread. That's not what I meant by "a different attitude toward civil rights".

It almost seems that you're trying to have it both ways. Routinely conducting three weeks (or whatever period) of ceaseless interrogation is as bad for civil rights as it is for actually finding the truth in an investigation. Either tell us that such practices are fine because cultural differences, or tell us convincingly that they don't actually happen. Pick one.

> First of all, the conviction rate in the US is 85+% last time I checked.

So Japan's acquittal rate is only 15 times lower than one of the most prison-happy countries in the world.

> Secondly, Japanese suspects confess. The theory is that they're coerced, but that requires one to accept a lot of speculation about the psychological impact of prolonged interrogations.

...Which speculation is that, exactly? Are you saying you don't believe that people will do almost anything to escape after being tormented for days or weeks? Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, please.

> you need to be suspicious to even be on their radar.

"The innocent have nothing to hide." Uh huh.

I get that you have a different culture but if someday in the future a false conviction happens to you I wonder if you'll feel the same.

Police abuse happens everywhere. I said that somewhere above. I'm not as easily convinced that Japan's high conviction rate is due to coercion. I'm more afraid of kangaroo courts in places like Indonesia or the Middle East or small-town America than I am of being squeezed for something I didn't do in Japan. I'm 100% confident that no one can coerce a false confession from me in 23 days without physical torture. 100 percent.

If they were inclined to, they could easily deprive you of enough water not to kill you but make you very cooperative. I'm not saying they would do it, I know very little about Japan and how it works there. I just know the tactic isn't unheard of for interrogations in the US and some other countries.

Of course not. But this is purely an emotional argument.

A hypothetical system that is in theory wide open to abuse, but where, in practice abuse rarely happens, should be compared favourably with another which has strong theoretic abuse controls, yet in practice is abused systematically. At least until such time as systematic violation is common in the former and the latter lives up to its ideals.

That's a great point, thanks. I think perhaps this triggers an instinctive fear of danger that you can't size up because it's (purportedly) hidden away. Even though one is ostensibly better than the other in a practical sense, the fear of being randomly victimized by those in power with no ability to right it both socially and legally, even after the fact, is pretty chilling.

If you assume for a moment that the allegations are true, that powerlessness is exemplified in this thread–you have someone from Japan basically saying that if you're even under suspicion you probably did something to deserve it. Coming from somewhere like the US that scares me more even if that fear is irrational in a practical sense.

God knows the US has problems, but it baffles me why people assume we're the only source of evil in the whole world.

Talk poppy syndrome?

I've spent time living both in the US and outside of it. Yes, the US has unique problems it's dealing with, but jeeze so does every other country. I'm always shocked when people paint the US as some sort of hellhole. I just assume these are people without first hand experience.

Tall poppy syndrome?

>> I've spent time living both in the US and outside of it

Me too. I invite you to spend one day reading and watching global stories and deliberately replacing the words "USA" (implicit or explicit) with "Australia" or any other country of your choice. You'll come to realise the extent of USA's cultural importance when you are reading so much about "Australia". You'll begin to wonder why we seem to care so much. Love or loathe USA, we are fixated on this one country. I believe this is all to the advantage of most Americans now, but that advantage is declining.

People care about the USA so much because it has massive amounts of pressure that it exerts on everyone else. Point in case: the Iraq War.

Those other countries tend not to bomb anyone else to give them the gift of democracy.

If a country sets itself up as a bastion of freedom they're going to be scrutinised when they fail to meet the standards they set for themselves.

Absolutely, and I have no problem with legitimate criticism of the US. What bugged me was Bitwize (and Nihonde) apparently refusing to believe that any country but the US could abuse crime suspects. We can't use America's sins to cover for other nations'.

The interrogation period is 23 days. The conviction rate after interrogation is 99.98%. It's not a made-up number: Only 15 people walked away free in 2015 after interrogation. Assuming that the police arrests the correct persons with 99.98% accuracy would be immensely harmful for democracy – Please lookup for testimonies if those 2 figures didn't already make you doubt about Japan's police system.

Do you have sources for that? http://hakusyo1.moj.go.jp/en/64/nfm/n_64_2_2_2_2_0.html#tabl... has some data about the number of cases that are prosecuted and that's way lower than 99.98%, but that's not limited to people interrogated.

But indeed, if you look at the data for cases that go to court, the conviction rate is high. http://hakusyo1.moj.go.jp/en/64/nfm/n_64_2_2_3_1_0.html

But that was my point in GP.

That's the conviction rate after going to trial. Prosecutors can and do drop charges if they don't think they have enough evidence to convict, and the police are also reluctant to record crimes they don't think they can solve.

Couple a strangely high conviction rate with a weirdly low crime rate, and you have reason to think something is off about the country's justice system.

I would assume that such figures studiously ignore criminal syndicates like the Yakuza.

With apologies to Terry Pratchett: Japan's philosophy is that if you're going to have crime, at least it should be organized crime.

My fiance did a high-school exchange in Japan and mentioned that people with tattoos weren't welcome at onsen because that usually means Yakuza in Japan, and businesses want to steer clear of all of that. If businesses are making rules like that, it's pretty clearly a non-trivial issue.

That's probably true, too. The other comment I posted had a link describing a sumo wrestler who was found with cuts and injuries reflecting a serious beating. The cause of death was "heart disease". That may or may not be related to previous cases I've heard of in the sumo world, which seems to have links to organized crime.

Yup. Same as wage theft or OSHA/fire code violations. Illegal but because of the power imbalance often nearly impossible to do anything about.

I would put on my resume that "I worked with Namiko". Anyone with two brain cells to rub together could infer that this is a rearrangement of Konami.

Moreover, you can say during an interview, and other private communication, that you worked at Konami, without having that appear on your public resume.

There are easy ways to comply with Konami's demands, only not really.

As I understand it these practices are not really even uncommon in Japanese companies.

You know what one of the absolute defenses against libel is?

The truth.

Konami treated Kojima like shit, Kojima left and took most of the talent with him. What Konami has left is a pretty cool engine and a hot IP, no creatives. MGS fans know it and don't respect Konami's next project even a little. Zombie-survival alternate universe, really?

In contrast I don't even know what Kojima's next thing is, it'll probably be pretty cool though. Kojima is good at over the top absurd and awesome.

Also, it's a fucking travesty that Fox Engine won't be used for anything important ever again, because for an open-world engine it runs like a dream. Too bad the online multiplayer is a non-stop cheatfest.

Kojima’s next thing is Death Stranding: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_Stranding

> In contrast I don't even know what Kojima's next thing is

Even after seeing both trailers, I also don't even know what Kojima's next thing is

Yes, this is exactly what I meant. I don't know what Kojima is driving at, but I'm willing to hear him out given his track record.

Kojima is a lot like Steve Jobs, in a way. He has a vision of what things could be, that often transcends the current genre categories. Or in other words he knows what we want even before we know what we want.

(hopefully less dying of treatable cancer because of fruitatarian beliefs though)

Although unlike Jobs he definitely does also have a track record of getting stuck in development hell too.

It's much too early in that project to publicly say anything substantive about it, because everything is still subject to change. All they can do right now is generate hype, which those trailers have done an admirable job of.

Can Kojima rein in his perfectionism and get that released before he runs out of money?

The guy has released quite a few games, so probably.

He doesn't have Konami's coffers anymore though.

It's being published by Sony though, who have much larger coffers than Konami, and from what I've read, Kojima has a very open agreement with them.

Sure, but a veteran of MSX titles certainly has experience working on much smaller projects than a typical modern AAA project.


Maybe I'm misreading your usage of the word "absolute", but in my country of residence the truth is NOT a defense in libel/defamation cases. Of course, that is an absurd situation, but it is what it is.

In my country truth is a defense but far from absolute. Truth taken out of context can be as damaging as lies. For example, saying "Mx.X is involved in an armed robbery case" when he is, in fact, the victim of said robbery.

> Zombie-survival alternate universe, really?

But spirits of enemies killed in combat, levitating psychics, phisically impossible robots and horseriders literally made of fire are okay with you?

Zombies are not OK with the guy who was the main creative force behind the entire series so you can try and argue the rest of the series is just as ridiculous but if Kojima says they have no place in it then they have no place in it.

This isn't a series like Assassins Creed, Final Fantasy or even Star Wars where countless people have had their hands on the lore this is a single creatives vison.

I mean, MGS5 effectively had zombies...

I get the point though. I'm also bummed out by the exodus. I love MGS and I want to see what he can do on that engine given enough time. MGS5 was great but felt like Konami told him to cut it short and GTFO.

To echo my point above, Fox Engine runs like a dream and looks fantastic. It's one of my few go-to examples of a one-off/scratch-built custom engine working out really well for a game, along with Witcher 3/RED Engine 3 (which also looks/runs great but is definitely slower).

It's a real shame that Konami is probably going to euthanize it after a few quickie moneygrabs from the handful of interns they have left from Kojima's team.

A lot of open-world engines have pretty severe stutter problems (examples: Fallout 4, GTA:V, etc), and Fox Engine's performance is fantastic. With MGSV I get 60 fps locked with 1440p and 1.4x DSR at max settings on a GTX 1080. And it actually does look really good too - a chopper extraction with a sunrise over the desert will startle me every now and then with how great it looks.

I have a few complaints but they're fairly minor.

* Some weird bayer-mask alpha blending effects (example of a similar problem in Witcher 3: http://i.imgur.com/8neiqOg.jpg ), which are solved by running at 1.4x DSR, which is easily doable with this engine

* 60 fps locked physics - c'mon, really?

* Clipping planes cause bullets to abruptly stop working at 250m range, which MGSV tries to hide with map design by breaking line-of-sight, but it's noticeable in some desert/plains areas with longer sightlines

* Online play has rampant cheating. Gotta design in security from Day 1 if you're going to do it... and FOB combat was obviously hacked in by a couple interns way after the fact as a money-grab.

Worth noting that the Fox engine somehow manages to pull of great performance on very terrible configurations too.

Yup. I could actually boot it on a Atom/Baytrail-M Celeron N2808 with integrated graphics although I was just using the menus and performance was still pretty rough even at minimum settings.

It's certainly not up to the graphical quality of Witcher 3, but it's not bad either, and performance is very good for the quality (especially given that open-world engines are tougher to do well).

With FreeSync or Gsync or Mobile GSync it would be very playable on an APU or a low-end discrete laptop graphics chip. Can't wait for consoles to start driving FreeSync adoption in the HDTV market as well.

That's not true. If you read the article Kojima even said he wanted to make a zombie style MGS game and pitched a zombie game based on nano bots before the development of MGSV.

Yes. That's creative. Zombie survival games have been old since 2010.

Well, Kojima's right that it doesn't really fit the universe. It's also just unimaginative to produce Zombie Game #3267 in TYOOL 2017, it's a played-out trope at this point and has been for 5+ years.

It would maybe have been fun as an alternate mode in MGSV (nonstop arena/free-roam mode plus zombies) but I don't think there's a whole game worth of content there.

Konami is blatantly salami-slicing their content. Ground Zeroes was $30 for a product the length of a demo (literally less than three hours of content). MGSV was rushed if not outright unfinished (you can clearly tell money fell apart and they pushed it out the door, 1/3 of the game is tacked-on bullshit "same mission as before but harder difficulty") and they wanted $60 for it anyway. If Survive is another full $60 title then Konami's total ask will have been $150 for content that adds up to maybe one $60 game in total.

Basically it's the same thing Bioware did with Mass Effect 3 DLC - except Konami is charging $30 a pop instead of $5 a pop.

Oh yeah and Konami tried to add in ludicrously-priced microtransactions too with the FOB system (it's like another $20 to get your online base fully set up so you can produce resources at full speed). Fortunately FOB online combat is terrible so you're not missing anything if you don't do it. It's like EVE Online had a baby with Destiny where the prize is grinding for S-rank soldiers for your FOB.

I know when I'm being milked. I waited for a Steam Sale and bought MGSV for $30 maybe a year or so ago. I didn't buy Ground Zeroes either until it went on a Steam Sale recently (I want to say it was $5).

I'm satisfied with what I got at those prices. I would pay another $5 for a zombie-survival-mode DLC, maybe $10 if it was nice and polished, not gonna pay $30 or $40 let alone $60.

(I would also pay another $5 for them to get rid of the numbered "special mode" missions and just allow me to toggle Extreme/Subsistence/Total Stealth modes on any mission in the game or while free-roaming, there's your easy money for the day, Konami)

That was my thought as well when they described the game in the article as "a realistic espionage game". I don't think they played the game at all.

> You know what one of the absolute defenses against libel is?

Will truth prevent Konami from using mobster methods to intimidate employees and other companies ? I really doubt it.

That seems very counterproductive to me, who will want to go work in Konami once this behavior is known? This will probably severely hamper their ability to recruit, especially recruit experienced people.

Am I missing something? Perhaps it's more common in Japan's video game industry to work in the same place for life?

Actually the video game industry is one of the more labor liquid industries in Japan. Teams leave, producers with track records go solo, key guys get poached, etc.

Definitely more liquid than manufacturing, finance, insurance, IT consulting, publishing, aerospace, shosha, semiconductors, etc.

Do you have examples of key guys getting poached in the Japanese market? From my experience here most people tend to stay a long time or move on their own will (not as often as US IMO though)

The Tactics Orge team from Quest getting poached by Square back around 1995.

It seems like Konami wants out of the video game business altogether, or at least mostly out, preferring focus on licensing their properties to gambling machines and their other interests, because they believe recent changes to gambling laws will make the latter a more profitable market than the former. If the stories about the way Konami employees were treated recently (not even including Kojima) are to be believed, then it seems Konami decided that they couldn't care less about their existing talent, much less their reputation with potential new hires.

Although, it does seem weird that they burned their bridges with the gaming community so very, very hard, and a great deal of the value in their IP with them.

It's already known, and every better creative and engineer already left them. They just went with the leader Kojima to his new company.

The old habits of life long work with the same company stopped around 2000. It got much better.

It's Japan. There isn't real competition for talent - one is hired out of school, depending on the school he attended, and that's pretty much it. "Abandoning" a company is seen as suspiciously disloyal.

In exchange for that, most companies reward employees with jobs for life, seniority-based career progression, housing and health perks, vacation trips and so on.

IT and gaming are more dynamic than others but the mainstream attitude is still the zaibatsu one.

The environment you're describing is 20, perhaps even 30 years out of date. It definitely used to be the case but much less so now, and only in the largest and most traditional companies - certainly not "most" and the last percentage I heard was around 10%. And only from the top universities (Keio, Tokyo U, Waseda etc)

I personally know people who have been headhunted for their talent/experience (in finance though) so it is a thing. Not as much as in the west, true, but it does happen.

Its a thing, but its in no way the norm. The college students I taught at a mid-tier university pretty much all expected to find work before graduation and expected that would be the only time they would need to job hunt. I had a couple students that seriously considered extending their education into graduate school just because they hadn't had much luck in finding a job by the end of their junior year. Switching companies isn't the death sentence for your career like it once was, but it is not the norm outside of a few select industries that are hurting for talent. You'll almost certainly be taking a pay cut in pretty much every other industry.

> The college students I taught at a mid-tier university pretty much all expected to find work before graduation

They can expect whatever they like but I'll bet at least a portion of them will end up disappointed. Things are not what they were.

Select industries maybe - my point was that job-hopping, headhunted or not, is not the universal poison it once was, and as a GP purported it to be. It's still more taboo than in the west, yes. But it's not career suicide and the taboo weakens year by year, as it should. Kicking and screaming and all that...

It's much more common in all Japanese industries to work in the same place for life.

> Perhaps it's more common in Japan's video game industry to work in the same place for life?

Yes: http://www.kalzumeus.com/2014/11/07/doing-business-in-japan/

That's crazy. Ok, "you can't put on your resume you worked here or we will take you to court."

The judge will only want to know one thing: is it true whether or not that person worked for Konami.

Is there no paper trail to substantiate that? Contracts?

Did they have no signed contracts, and get paid in cash?

My guess is that there's an overly broad NDA involved, and some enterprising Konami lawyer figured out it can apply to divulging that you were employed there at all.

You can bypass the NDA by doing: ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → Ⓑ Ⓐ Start

Interesting if you can dodge this. "Worked on a tactical espionage action game for major consoles"?

I wish the ex employees of Konami luck. This blacklist behavior will only help in further developing the independent game scene in Japan. We've seen great games in the past from Japan such as Cave Story, La Mulana, Downwell, and also Kickstarter-ish campaigns for spiritual sequels to classic genres. Kojima's name itself carries a ton of industry weight and I'm sure he and his team won't find trouble finding funds and talent for their endeavors as hinted by teasers of his new IP.

It's unfortunate that a slew of IPs will go down with Konami, but they haven't been looking great in awhile and this is just a conclusion of the signs in the past. Silent Hill, Metal Gear, Suikoden, ZoE, even those weird late 90s PS1 games like Broken Helix will always be remembered by me.

> Ex-Kons are not allowed to put their Konami experience on their public resumes.

I had a start up that tried to do this a year or so later, after I left the company on bad term mind you. The lead basically tried to bully me. I just up and left on the same day that he tried that.

I read this and look around where I'm at, palm trees and beach. Oh right I'm in California.

I tried several emails to explain to the lawyer. He made bunch of bs excuses.

So I immediately googled for a cease and desist letter and send it to the buddy.

He basically asked me if I know who he is.

I don't care if your Donald Trump. If Trump couldn't pass the muslim ban good luck with you trying to ~~force~~ coerce me to remove this experience from my linkedin.

After that I never hear from the lawyer again or his company again.

You did the right thing by leaving the experience on your resume! It's your experience, not theirs.

Also by standing up to these bullies in the tech industry who think having lots of brains and very little compassion for others is somehow a divine quality. Trump-like ego-maniacs everywhere I turn in this industry it makes me so sick. Kojima did good by going out on his own and not letting the empty threats of a has-been corporation like Konami shake him from his vision as a legendary creator.

I think this will backfire and just make Death Stranding and Kohjima more popular. As a developer Konami is really struggling and I wouldn't be suprised that it closed down soon or got consolidated .

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the assumption that Konami shuttered all their console games to focus on pachinko machines because the profit margins are just too delicious to pass up.

It's interesting to compare them with Capcom, who almost seemed like a sister game company from the NES through PS1 days. Both had a diverse stable of consistently high quality games across a lot of genres. So it's crazy that Konami has practically become a pachinko business while Capcom is still seeing creative and commercial success pretty much on the same strategy they were 20 years ago - nurturing along the old successful franchises and occasionally introducing new IP and spinoffs. It's amazing how comfortable Street Fighter V feels after basically not playing fighting games since the mid 90's.

My take is that Konami seems to have lost a lot of their creative mojo during the industry's creative nadir in the early 00's, when sports and gritty FPS franchises reigned.

They're developing another game with the engine used for MGSV, but you could account that to just trying to recoup costs involved in making that engine. Otherwise I don't know of other console or pc game projects of theirs.

As far as I know there's another MGS spin off they are working on and they continue developing and releasing their annual Pro Evolution Soccer. With the latter my guess is they want a piece of the money-making pie that is Ultimate Team and works so well for EA Sports' FIFA series.

> Otherwise I don't know of other console or pc game projects of theirs.

They don't need to, Pachinko (their newer machines use fox engine it seems) exists.

The article says they focus on mobile after printing money with Dragon Collection franchise.

> As a developer Konami is really struggling

From the article:

"Konami is on track to post a record group operating profit of 40 billion yen for the year ending in March 2018."

Doesn't sound much like struggling to me. Apparently it's mostly on the back of mobile games though, not AAA console titles.

That's about $400 million profit for the fiscal year, using the naive 1 yen = 1 cent exchange rate.

that profit is on the back of pachinko money laundering business they are running right now.

I think he meant in terms of traditional video games. That income is from pachinko

Definitely. This tale has the Streisand effect written all over its future.

Is this a cultural thing? I know a lot of Japanese people and I get the feeling that some things that are completely outrageous in the Western world are not frowned upon in Japan. I can't imagine even the most shady company doing the stuff mentioned under "Persona non grata" in my country without causing a complete shitstorm.

Yes, very cultural. What's not being mentioned, because it's taken for granted is that the CEO to employee salary ratio in Japan is like 16 versus 300 for us. Loyalty to your company is very important, in return the company is pretty loyal to you.

That's really far less true than it used to be; Japanese companies want to have it both ways, where employees remain as loyal to them as before but they don't return the favor.

One other thing worth mentioning is that gaming companies work famously punishing hours, Japanese companies work famously punishing hours, so unsurprisingly Japanese gaming companies work really punishing hours... and Konami is infamous even by those standards!


It doesn't matter if it's legal or not. If someone is gonna apply to another game company and the company sees konami in the resume, they could call up konami and ask about them. Then, Konami will give a bad review. That alone is a risk employees do not want to take

Well, or you as employer could be fully aware that Konami gives fake bad reviews, and then you can get a whole bunch of awesome game developers for cheap!

You, as an ex-konami employee, could even let potential employers know about this ahead of time, and back it up with evidence.

> Konami will give a bad review.

In some countries this is illegal - the worst you can say about a person is "no comment."

Not sure if you are implying the US, but that is a common mistaken belief in the US. It's actually legal to give a negative review of a former employee, as long as it's 100% true. The problem is that the employee might try to sue for slander anyway (and win; that vindictive manager might have been the next one on the way out), so it's easier for employers to just have a blanket "no comment" or objective "eligible for re-hire: yes/no" policy.

Wow, I was a manager at a swimming pool and the "HR" told us when we get calls from prospective employers we can only tell them the dates of employments and the job position. We couldn't rave about how good the employees were but we were allowed to write letters of recommendation. I always thought it was in law (california) which is why they told us that.

No reason for wow, it is clearly because they want to avoid a possible lawsuit. Play it safe.

how would the former employee even know? i feel like i've been the target of a previous company i worked at but i have no proof.

People sometimes do a background check on themselves to see what the employer says if they're suspicous about it. Other than that, I'd imagine the chances are pretty slim that some other prospective employer would spill the beans.

Which would those be, out of curiosity? I know it's a widespread urban legend in the US that employers can't give negative references, but I've never heard of a country where it's actually true.

You can give them, but it's so worrisome to HR that they usually just outright forbid it. It isn't worth the legal hassle if someone tries to sue them over it, no matter how 'right' they are.

We're talking about an ex-employee here. It's not like giving negative feedback will really help the company. It can only hurt them.

Fortunately, lack of good information strongly implies negative information that is being withheld, so it's all fine.

Yeah, you don't want to hire a dud.

In my case, my manager was particularly fearful about losing me. When I told him that I was entertaining other gigs he plainly told me that "I will black mark you across the industry if you leave." I was young, naive and scared, so I took it seriously (luckily things have improved vastly since). I now know that I would not put him on my CV; instead the myriads of other employees who have interacted with me. This is why those laws are in-place: preventing hostage situations.

South Africa in my case.

Germany, for example.

Well, at least in reference letters, former employees can be criticised quite well. Mostly by omitting certain words. I believe most employers have practice in reading between the lines.

edit: I always thought this is just culturally. I have no idea, but I don't believe there are any laws that forbid telling the truth about former employees.

Yeah, there are formal reference letters in Germany. According to law, you can write anything truthful, but according to court descisions, you have to do it "benevolently" and without "creating obstacles" for the employee to find a new job. There are frequently lawsuits about this.

One way to say something negative is to omit certain words, as you said. If your praise is less than exuberant, it is also a warning sign. Some years ago, employers used to mark that someone is in a union by ending their signature with a hook to the left. If you wrote someone is sociable, that was code for being alcoholic.

The funny thing is, the law states explicitly that the letter of reference must be unambiguous, and must not contain any hidden meaning.

I think this whole system is ridiculous and ripe for reform, but I don't think this will happen.

I wonder why Germany hasn't been taken to court over this yet

Data protection laws set quite tight boundaries on chatting between former and prospective employers, without the employee's consent. Further, I think the general consensus is that such chats are thought to be subject to the same rules as formal references (since otherwise these rules would be entirely pointless).

Can you give an example of what you're talking about here by omitting certain words?

A good formal reference uses way-over-the-top wording, a bad formal reference basically just says "ok". This is due to German law not allowing for "the employee sucks", nor allows it to use "code-speak" (it was often used in the past, but a bunch of lawsuits pretty much removed it and most HR people don't even try to push for it any more).

Good: "Mr. X's technical competence is excellent. He solved difficult technical challenges quickly and correctly. His performance at our company exceeded our expectations."

Bad: "Mr. X handled assigned tasks adequately."

A long reference almost always means it is good. If it's longer than two pages, it's almost certainly excellent.

In Germany, employees can request a "simple" reference, which basically just certifies employment and does not contain any judgement. What I described above is a "qualified" reference; usually it is seen as a bad sign to produce just a "simple" reference and not a "qualified" reference.

Not if as a policy Konami will always give bad reviews. Then pretty much everyone will ignore this, and lean on other background checks.

Working at a company is a fact, and can be stated as such. There seems to be no legal basis to stop their name being put on the resume.

This is why you should take care of your stars well, even if they make weird requests. Konami will probably win the battle, but lose the war for the customer's hearts. In the end just everybody involved loses. If Konami instead supported Kojima, maybe even invest in his company, both could have made loads of money together.

they only make 2 video games now. the metal gear knockoff and PES. and even though pachinko machines are the butt of people's jokes about konami, they actually don't make as much for konami due to declining revenue (degenerate gamblers)...

And their massive lineup of rhythm games.

Funny gamers are blacklisting Konami, for putting out an unfinished game like MGS5, firing Kojima and trying to ruin his legacy with Metal Gear Survivor....

I can never forgive them for what they did to Kojima. That man is a treasure and helped create some of my most formative games. I'd say I won't buy any more of their games but they don't seem interested in making any.

It's awful his IP (Not just MGS but ZOE, Snatcher and Policenauts) will be locked up in a company with zero respect for it.

But the man is so prolific and Kojima Productions is clearly serious business, it'll probably mean his next projects have the potential to be his best yet.

What do you mean by blacklisting? MGS5 was the best selling game in the series.

Wait for the sales figures of the next Metal Gear and PES games. They're likely going to be absolutely awful.

MGS5 was worked by Kojima and even with all the trouble with Konami, people wanted to show support for Kojima. Gamers did discuss about boycotting the game but since it would have been a disservice for both Kojima and gamers that boycott didn't materialise.

However when Konami for example removed "A Hideo Kojima Game" text from the MGS5 there was a protest by gamers to get it back there.

How do you boycott a product that isn't being made?

Hopefully this is included in Jim Sterling's next 'Fuck Konami News' segment, because fuck Konami.

This could just be my experience but one thing I have learned working in games is that Asian companies can be really authoritarian to their employees. I have experienced this with Japan, South Korea and China. Game companies are very secretive and authoritarian with their workers to begin with but culturally it seems more acceptable in teams I worked with in Asia.

A team I worked with in South Korea regularly slept at the office because the Korean lead was there slave driving the crunch. South Korea in itself is hard to even launch a game there because they demand percentages and you must have internal teams/representatives, similar with China. China team, the employees were always in a fear state of making the boss angry or doing the wrong thing. I noticed that it led to releases just to meet dates even if the work was incomplete just so the boss would not get mad. Working with them the devs told me they regularly ship when not complete just to satisfy dates and it led to many issues especially at hand off points because they knew it wasn't fully functioning.

I think overall companies in games think they can get away with this ownership/authoritarian type attitude anyways, but it might be easier in Asian cultures where there is a more authoritarian lean.

> In 2014, Konami workers who liked a Facebook post by an ex-Kon saying he started working for a different company were shuffled to different positions.

I know it's generally a bad idea to badmouth employers, past or present, on Facebook or other social media... but punishing employees for merely "liking" a post is more excessive than I've heard before. Maybe it's a cultural difference, but it seems very Big Brother of them nonetheless.

Are these actions legal in Japan?

I work for a Japanese company. Even if something is illegal in Japan it still happens. One particular thing is unpaid overtime. Most employees are hourly and they can be "forced" to work overtime for 50+ hours/week (all the time) without overtime pay. If they bring it up they will get "relocated" or just get harassed the entire time they're there until they quit. If they bring it to the government work agency (hello work) the company will deny the hours and say it was all voluntary. I have been told this personally by hello work. Also, I only have experience in one Japanese company so surely this does not occur at all companies.

I am sure there are companies like this. Yet, I also see a wind of change. I see Japanese who leave on time. Strangely enough, I also see foreigners who stay late. Above mentioned voluntarism, though, is very difficult to explain even by Japanese themselves. Many of them stay long and couldn't tell you why. It's not that simple. It is entire culture, ethos of group member (not necessary an employee), who works hard for the sake of a group.

Konami put out a lot of classics in the 90's that I enjoyed, but after Hideo Kojima's departure there is just no reason to support them as a company. I'm pretty sure they were the reason Project M was canceled, but we'll never really know. They won't be seeing any more of my money.

"In April this year, a Kojima Productions executive applied for the company to join ITS Kenpo, a health insurance society for companies in the gaming and internet service industry. Joining such insurance organizations is crucial to employee welfare, but the application was not even accepted. When the executive asked why, he was told by ITS Kenpo that all applications are screened by the board chairman before being reviewed by the board, and it could not show this application to the chairman."

I'm sorry, "could not show this application to the chairman"?

It's explained in the article. The chairman is also a chair in Konami. You literally cannot show him the application without ruining your career.

I can't wait for Konami to go bankrupt so that somebody will finally do something with the great stuff they made. How on earth is there not a modern 4-player Contra game?

Damn, and I thought I was a vengeful person.

Goes to show you once more how many people on positions of power have the emotional intelligence of a bully teenager but they can't be touched.

Well konami wanted to diversify out of the video game business (for example they run a large chain of sports gyms) so hey they're getting some help in that regard.

This reminds me of some of the drama surrounding Keiji Inafune (creator of Megaman) leaving Capcom. Not nearly the level of company push back / employment issues, but there was lots of blame slinging on both ends. Then the appearance that Capcom cancelled an in development Megaman game that Inafune reportedly wasn't very involved in just to spite him (which I'm still sad about).

So instead of an "up or out" culture they have an "up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right" culture?

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