While Mitsubishi companies seem to do well as OEMs, when it comes to items sold directly to consumers, it has taken a beating. First, its product quality is not considered to be on par with that of its cometitors, say Toyota, Honda, or Sony. Its competitors seem to be more consumer-oriented. Second, treatment of customers leaves much to be desired. One hears stories of blame being put on the customers instead instead of trying to resolve the problem. Stories about how it handled its customers who complained about sudden reverse acceleration and TV that exploded killing the dog are enlightening. The very unique Milwaukee Brewersa Miller Park roof collapse suggests its carelessness with products that can damage lives.
But the worst is denial that a problem exist. In an unprecedented raid on Mitsubishi Motors, the Japanese police found tens of thousands of complaints hidden in a locker room! Similarly, Mitsubishi Electric admitted to hiding tens of complaints about its defective TVs. I hope Mitsubishi will mend its ways and start treating its customers better.
I have heard story about Mitsubishi bullying its small competitors through various unethical means. A small American company with innovative new technology was almost destroyed by Mitsubishi but the strong-willed CEO of that company fought back. Equally obnoxious is its bribery scandals. It has been in past exposed for bribery in Japan. One can well imagine how MItsubishi operates in not-so-developed countries where bribery is a part of life. It just puts more pressure on its competing businesses who are ethical and don't want to bribe.
This is one issue Mitsubishi is hoping that by ignoring and delaying so that all the people who suffered are dead, will simply go away. Meanwhile it has developed strong economic ties to the countries where people suffered the most leaving less incentive for people to pursue this matter. However, Mitsubishi, in my view, is wrong. It has to come to terms with its past and it can be done only by examing its World War Two history where it caused misery in so many people's lives. For certain reasons it was not done before but has to be done if Mitsubishi is to survive as a normal, functional group of company.
Part of its infamous current job discriminatory practices to seem to based on its perception of how minorities and weaker sections of the society should be dealt with - just as it dealt with the American POWs and Chinese, Korean poor and helpless workers. Mitsubishi group is too important to be ignored and it is in everyone's best interest and the slave labor issues will examined fully in open and Mitsubishi contrite.
If one visits any of the Mitsubishi companies' website, one might be led to think that Mitsubishi is the most socially aware group on the face of the world. Reality paints a totally different picture, though. Mitsubishi Corporation, during World War 2, was directly (and indirectly) involved with deaths and torture of millions. Perhaps they were more cruel than the Japanese army. Legacy of that seems to continue into how they treat minorities and women at workplace. Rampant racial, gender, age discrimination are to be expected at Mitsubishi, even more so than other Japanese companies.
News and Analysis
Is Mitsubishi special? Mitsubishi group companies are among the most notorious. Boycott Mitsubishi campaign by Rainforest Action Network caught the world's eyes and forced Mitsubishi Motors and Mitsubishi Electric to come to compromise with RAN. Earlier EEOC and Mitsubishi Motors had a dispute regarding sexual harassment of hundreds of women employees.
However, looking behind the headlines, one has to analyse what issues are salient in case of Mitsubishi. Just stating that Mitsubishi is the most environmentally destructive group in the world does not convey much meaning unless size and industry norm comparisons are made. Is Mitsubishi more racist than, say Ford or Goldman Sachs? We shall find out.
Workplace Discrimination at Mitsubishi
Recent lawsuits brought against Mitsubishi Motors suggest that the pattern of employment discrimination is continuing at its plants despite some sort of settlement a few years ago. The title of most massive and pervasive sex harassment case in recent years rightfully belongs to MItsubishi Motors. But what about other countries, including its home country Japan? Do they hire racial minorities in significant positions and do women ever reach higher ranks in Mitsubishi companies? The answer should be obvious.
The broad category of Human Rights covers Mitsubishi's behavior towards minorities and women and, public stance notwithstanding, does not give cause for hope. It is known to harass and fight its own Japanese employees in Japan who wanted a more independent labor union than the existing subservient-to-management ones. Will it always remain a bully towards its own employees?
Boycott Mitsubishi, a campaign spearheaded by a San Francisco-based organization helped public realize the extent of environmental damage done to earth by Mitsubishi group of companies. Specifically it focused on rainforest destruction and deforestation problems caused by extensive logging activities of Mitsubishi. Other similar compaigns including Mitsubishi's proposed industrial salt works in Baja California and Asian Rare Earth projects were effected because of strong compaigns.
Other activities of Mitsubishi, that have not caught the attention of many, include Mitsubishi Motor's moving towards less fuel-efficient vehicles like SUVs to generate bigger profit margins. Its nuclear plant operations, in spite of Japanese government finding of security lapses, is not well known. Moreover, Kirin Brewery and Mitsubishi Chemical have been working on plany biotechnology methodologies for some time, albeit not to the threatening extent of Monsanto.
Mitsubishi Electric is still a big player in the memory chips areana and its disposal of toxic waste, as part of general rising awareness about this issue, could be an area worth watching.