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Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012

City workers urge Osaka to revoke tattoo poll reprisals


OSAKA — Three Osaka municipal workers who were punished for refusing to respond to a survey on whether they have tattoos have submitted petitions to Mayor Toru Hashimoto, urging him to revoke the disciplinary action.

The three workers and 150 supporters have enlisted the support of eight groups, and submitted the signatures of 3,205 people Tuesday. Hashimoto, the outspoken founder and deputy head of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) ordered the survey in May on the grounds that it would help determine whether city officials have a good work ethic.

Tattoos are commonly associated with yakuza, many of whom have body art covering virtually their entire body.

Nobuhiro Matsuo, secretary general of a group seeking the disciplinary measures' revocation, said after handing in the petition that the Osaka Municipal Government has "violated human rights."

Members of the group also called for an apology from Hashimoto for ordering the survey, and added they aim to collect 100,000 signatures by expanding their activities to other parts of the country. One of the six reprimanded employees is suing the city for damages.

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