Dentsu barred for month from bidding on industry ministry contracts due to labor violations

The economy ministry has taken punitive action against major ad agency Dentsu Inc. for its violation of labor law standards, telling the firm it cannot participate in the bidding process for its new projects for a month.

The order, issued by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Tuesday, comes on the heels of the high-profile overwork-linked suicide in December 2015 of Matsuri Takahashi, a 24-year-old first-year female employee at the company.

The ministry said the ad agency will be barred from joining the bidding process for the ministry’s publicity events and market research until Aug. 10.

In connection with the suicide case, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office last week brought a summary indictment against Dentsu on suspicion of violating the labor standards law over illegal overtime.

While Dentsu was indicted as a corporate entity, four individuals — all senior officials in the firm referred to prosecutors over the same case — escaped indictment.

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