Civil servants sue Osaka over political activity survey
OSAKA — Fifty-five former and current Osaka Municipal Government bureaucrats jointly sued the city Monday for ¥18.15 million, alleging that a questionnaire they were ordered to fill out on their political and labor union activities caused them mental distress.
In the lawsuit filed with the Osaka District Court, the workers claimed that the February survey, initiated by Mayor Toru Hashimoto, infringed on their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of thought and conscience by ordering them to reveal their private opinions.
Hashimoto said employees might be punished if they fill out the questionnaire properly, the plaintiffs said.
A female nursery teacher in her 50s who joined the suit said she felt invaded.
"Just taking a quick look at the questionnaire caused me psychological pain," she said at a press conference in Osaka. "I thought (the city government) was interfering with my way of life."
In April, members of the Osaka city workers' union filed a similar lawsuit over the same questionnaire against the city and lawyer Shuya Nomura, who was responsible for the survey as a special municipal adviser.
Nomura discarded the civil servants' responses without opening them in April as public criticism grew that the survey violated their right to freedom of thought and conscience.